Monday 1 July 2013

Taiwan: Taipei (part 1)

Oh wow. I thought I'd never finish writing about Taiwan. So yes, finally, the last stop of the trip - Taipei.

Tamsui district (淡水區) was quite a disappointment for me. There wasn't really much to see/do. However, it turned out to be one of the most memorable days because we rented electric scooters and rode along the water until Fisherman's Wharf (渔人码头). We were so eye catching in our bright pink and yellow scooters, complete with matching helmets and colourful dresses that everyone stared when we zoomed past, some even took photos of us. We didn't go up the bridge at Fisherman's Wharf because it was going to rain, so we hurried back to the central. The scooter ride was extremely fun though I fell and scraped my knee. My poor knees! They are forever getting scraped or bruised, even now they are both bruised from I-don't-know-what. I love you, knees! Will show you more love and care from now on. *pats* The nice uncle who gave us lots of advice about riding the scooter was so worried that he sent the owner of the scooter rental shop off to buy some ointments for me. He waved us off after giving us a lunch place recommendation, d'aww. Ok fine, Tamsui district isn't all that bad. There are rows of shops selling local products and street food but I've had enough of those. And the Fisherman's Wharf is beautifully lit up at night from the photos that I've seen. You can get to Tamsui district easily by subway.

Jiufen old street (九份) is another must-go place in Taipei. You have to hop on a train to Ruifang (瑞芳) which takes about 45 minutes then change to a bus to Jiufen from the bus stop right outside the train station. There will probably be a lot of people crowded there. I don't know what bus we took because as soon as the bus came, the bus driver shouted 'Jiufen! Jiufen!' so we just followed the crowd and got on. Jiufen old street also has lots of souvenirs, local goods and street snacks on sale. I don't see why this is called an 'old street' but I do like the wooden architecture and narrow walkways. The view from Jiufen was pretty lovely though since it's located up a mountain/hill (I can't tell). Oh and the whole area has free WiFi, not that it was particularly important to me but fyi. We took a bus down to the Gold Ecological Park but it was quite boring. You can touch a piece of gold block there, if you're keen. We waited quite a while for the bus down to Huang Jing Pu Bu (Gold Waterfall/黄金瀑布) and while waiting, we were preyed upon by a dozen taxi drivers who tried their best to convince us that we would be better off taking a cab down. The waterfall was quite a sight! It wasn't very big but quite spectacular - being golden/copper and everything. The gold was carried down the river by the current and the villages traced the river upstream and viola! It led to the start of the gold mining craze. We had an hour to kill before the last bus back to Jiufen so we walked further down and reached an expressway beside the sea. This scene felt so music video-ish (S.H.E.'s 沿海公路的出口 comes to mind) so we took lots of photos here - yes, RIGHT BESIDE THE EXPRESSWAY. Dangerous much. Luck was with us because we spotted a mini bus heading straight for Ruifang! Anddd it drove down the expressway so we got to enjoy the view.

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