Wednesday, December 23, 2009

22 Dec 2009 Day 11 Keelung Jiufen

( Jiufen tourist kitsch )

We intended to head north to Jiufen and Keelung but the super hard beds ( harder than the carpeted floor ) at Keymans Hotel did not give us a good night's rest causing us to wake up later than planned. Neither was Keyman's overcrowded and tiny breakfast area cause for celebration. Or perhaps we were spoilt silly by Hualien's minsu breakfast and refused normal morning sustenance.

We took a normal train from Taipei to Ruifang, a decision that caused us an extra half hour of travel. From Ruifang, we followed signs to the taxi area, saw 1031 opposite the road in front of the convenience store and ran for the bus (bound for Jinguashih ). Actually, it wasn't necessary because the hoards of tourists took so much time getting up the bus we even had time to saunter up. The bus ride costs us 21 NT each to Jiufen.

Almost everyone disembarked at Jiufen old street and headed to the alleys for eating and shopping. It was mayhem as the entire entrance to the alley was clogged by tourists from all over. We immediately regretted coming because most stalls were selling cheesy tourist souvenirs.

( Shaved peanut ice cream wrapped in wheat crepe -> )

Still, to make our trip worth, we ate from every available stalls : peanut ice cream, tako balls, fermented tofu, fish ball soup, taro ball soup , coffee / passion tea. We trekked through the alley and a little over the tourist thoroughfare to residential areas where the real residents lived and soaked in the sea view from the hill side.

At 2pm, we took the bus bound for Keelung , opposite 7-11, with our Easy Card. From here onwards, we became ignorant of the cost of transport as we brandished our EasyCard like a wand. The trip took us 45 minutes and we alighted at Keelung terminus.

( Taro balls from this shop is surprisingly good, plus it offers sea view for almost nothing )

3.30-5pm, we lazed around the harbour and kept aspiring fisherman company and went to Eslite , a tiny single floor shop. 5.30pm and being makan time , we head for Keelung Miaokou , located near Macdonalds ( under the "statue of liberty ).

( Keelung harbor and boarded pesdestrian walk with some art installation )

Our culinary orgy started from the end of the food street and we systematically worked our way to the front, though our bellies protested at the torture of too much food. Within 1 hour, we ate : glutinous rice, frispy fish, crispy prawn, oyster balls, "tempura", vegetarian blood cake, fruit stick with caramel, red tea, Chinese red bean pancake. There's more but I am too shy to reveal my capacity.

We walked back to Keelung TRA station, caught the 7.30pm normal train and reached Taipei in about 40 minutes.

That's how we spend our second day, punctuated by food and more food.

( Keeling temple eats or Miaokou offers so much we have a hard time deciding which one to eat ->)

( Keymans Hotel in Taipei. At Huaining Rd )

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