Taiwanese welcome a brand new year with 1st beams of sunlight


TAIPEI, Taiwan — People across Taiwan celebrated New Year’s Day by catching the first beams of sunlight of 2015, both on the ground and in the air.

Up in the sky, 158 passengers took a special flight offered by China Airlines, the country’s biggest carrier, to head straight into the day’s first rays on an early trip to Okinawa, Japan.

Flight CI 2015, which took off from Taoyuan at 5:20 a.m., took a detour down the coast of Hualien County to Jiqi beach to greet the new day at about 6:18 a.m. before turning north to head for Japan.

Excited passengers said they felt very lucky to board the charter flight, with one passenger saying she hopes China Airlines can hold similar events each year.

Later in the morning, tens of thousands of spectators in the eastern county’s Qixingtan area watches as several F-16 fighter jets welcomed the new year with an air show above the Pacific Ocean.

Further north, visitors flocked to the easternmost edge of Taiwan proper at New Taipei’s Cape San Diego to greet the sunrise, while others climbed up Alishan in southern Taiwan to watch the sun climb above the sea of clouds at an altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level.

Some however were left disappointed as uncooperative weather spoiled their plans.

In Hualien’s Fenglin Township, many found themselves unable to ride into the sky by hot air balloons early in the morning due to poor weather.

Others flying low in the skies around Hualien and Taitung were also unable to catch the sunlight due to fog and light rain.