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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Taiwan - DanShui

5Dec2008, Friday

China Airline, 2:20pm flight

KLIA to Tao Yuen airport, Taiwan

Arrival 7pm

To be frank, it was my first time taking a flight all ALONE by myself. For my past several bis trips, I had either friends or family members tagging me along. So the thought of having to bear for at least 1 hour before boarding the flight plus a 4 hours journey can really bored me to hell. And it was evidently that I hated this feeling of lonesome so much, really…. not having anyone to talk to is just…. SUCKS!! So obviously a BOOK would be a good companion at time like this. What luck….. coincidentally I received a Christmas magazine as souvenir recently. I literally flipped the pages over & over again that I reckon I had never read a magazine so thorough & detailed…..thks uncleBob for the ‘right’ gift !!

By the time I touched down & claimed my luggage, it was already closed to 8pm. The taxi journey to my colleague (Jen’s) home took another 45 mins at least. So once I settled down, I knew we were left with very little time to do anything for the night. Once I got down the taxi, the sight of very huge stainless steel doors greeted me with a side garage some more…..i was like ‘wow’…..totally different taste, unique set-up, unusual atmosphere…. That was my feeling of “a taiwanese house” !!

Our dinner was spared as I had a heavy flight meal. So Jen walked me out to a nearby ‘good spot’ to have a glimpse of the night view of Taipei city.

Practically, it was a train station but one that was built with a huge compound for the surrounded folks to hang-out, picnic, exercise, ‘phak tor’ & etc etc…..there was even a café sighted but due to the cold weather, it was closed that night. Btw, temperature was about 16 degree Celsius (according to Jen, it was the coldest temperature in the city of Taipei). It was just so nice to me……geee!!!

On our way to this place, the weird sight of a van hanging with some food for sale caught my attention.

After taking a closer look, I came to know that it was the “lin kok” which we only get to eat during the Mid Autumn festival.

We grabbed some to munch while chatting at the sightseeing spot & embracing ourselves in an effort to combat the chilling breeze!! Unfortunately, our chatting session couldn’t last very long as it started to drizzle shortly after. We quickly made our move & stopped over at a dessert shop for a bowl of warm tau foo fah !!!

With a totally different environment & bed, I thought it would be hard for me to sleep. In fact, we did continue our chat until quite late but Jen claimed that out of sudden she ‘heard’ me collapsing into deep sleep….LOL, guess must be god darn tiring lar!!

Actually it was my plan to do a 1 day transit at Taipei before departing to Japan on Sunday together with Jen, just so that I had a feel of Taipei with this full day exploration! So what did I achieved on that day, lets embark together ……

We started our day with a 45mins drive journey to a popular tourist spot Danshui:

Danshui [1] (淡水, or Tamsui, Danshuei) is a smaller city to the north of Taipei that was the center of shipping and commerce in northern Taiwan in the 19th century. The city is still popular with visitors from Taipei and boasts many historical attractions, and is a popular location for viewing the sunset. Due to its close proximity to Taipei City, Danshui has become a favorite destination for city dwellers to take a stroll and enjoy a coffee along the riverside.

Before arriving Danshui, we made a stopover at an apparently popular temple.

Coincidently, it was a custom for Jen to do a prayer seeking for a safety trip & safe return whenever she travels overseas. So visiting this place was like a stone that kills two birds……while Jen got to do her errands, I got the pleasure to appreciate the beautiful, fine & remarkable crafting of the temple.

See....ppl so holy & i 'main-main pulak'....LOL

Jen said i would get loads of $$$ after touching this huge coin box.....haha

We then proceeded to satisfy our growling stomachs. Back here before I even flew to Taipei, I was already highly recommended to testify a famous delicacy of Danshui called “Arcade” (pronounced as Ah Geh in Taiwan). And according to Jen, there was this so-called pioneer shop that offers the ‘best’ "arcade" in Danshui, despite having to travel a little further & despite many other versions of “arcade surrounding Danshui, Jen insisted to go just there....

Here u go…..the “Arcade

Now what’s in there you may asked???

A piece of taufu skin stuffed with glass noodle & wrapped with fish paste.

It could be eaten with chilli sauce or without. Needless to say, I had it with loads of chillies….yummy!! This combination was simply awesome & delicious….i will certainly be back for more!!!

After our meal, Jen brought me to the back of the shop to view the making of "arcade".
Here are a few "opasang" doing the jobs (a japanese word that refers to middle age women which apparently widely used in Taiwan)

After our brunch, we headed back to the main attraction of Danshui. The place was indeed a very relaxing & soothing place to take a stroll yet one that offers a varieties of interesting stuffs....ranging from foods, souvenirs, shopping, entertainment to breathtaking view!! So there were people of all ages pouring into the place.

it was a good place for the young ones to 'phak thor' / courting

taiwanese sausage .....my favourite snack there

ai yi ping .... my favourite dessert

a somewhat different experience eating ice-cream in a cold place

century eggs seemed to be popular there....something like the 'pickled' version

entertainment for youngsters

the other side of the street was another shopping heaven

Initially i did not planned for much shopping in Taipei as my heart was all out for Japan but as i started to delve into the various shops, it was a welcoming shock to discover that pricing wise, it was very reasonable in Taipei (mostly few dollars like not more than RM10)..... not that i meant everything but only save for those items that attract & interest me!! So i ended up with quite a lot of little stuffs !!

Check it out:
pair of neck tie for my boys as they will be 'ring boys' for a cousin's wedding
cute hankys & melody bags
matching hello kitty tissue holder & cosmetic case
pair of gloves for the boys' cycling session
cheap & pretty earrings, keychains, fridge magnets
cute little handbags for all my nieces
i like the above the most....so cute, sweet yet cheap...haha

We consumed nearly half of our day in Danshui. We left around 1pm...ish and Jen droved me around the city just so that i can take a look at their landmark 101 Building but since we don't have much time, we gave this a pass for this time around!!

Our next stop was at a long under bridge markets which were devided into a few segments that sell different things. The first was a flower market. The colours & beauty of the flowers made me went 'awwww'........ and 'wuah'....... another very scenic, pleasing & delightful place to visit!! If only i can carry these flowers right to my door step, i would have another crazy round of shopping spree, i tell you !!!

....GORGEOUS .....

Then i came across a stall selling super little cutie pots ..... i was forced to stop there!! I wondered round & round this stall figuring if i should just grabbed them. Finally i risked myself.....yes, i bought 3 of them, just couldn't resist !!

a closer look.....see so pretty & cute !!!

here are my picks.....geeee, hello kitty!!

All along the long stretched market, there were foods & snacks too!! So they made up our lunch that afternoon!!

..... saw this cutely dressed up doggy in the market too .....

As we walked back to the carpark, we took a rest at a nearby park which seemed to be still very busy with people at 2-3pm.......a time when our parks here are in a burning state!! So i was having a big time indulgence with the cooling weather at such time & place......lol, so nice!!

We also did checked out the jade market but it was a super quick one as i'm not at all a jade person !!

Since 8 in the morning, we had been torturing our legs.....so by 5pm, we surrendered. Basically resting at home & started doing some re-packing & re-adjusting of the luggage to make way for our next trip to Japan!!

Our night time exploration was none other than the popular "Shi Lin" market.

Shilin (士林區) is a northern district of Taipei. The district is home to many museums, including the world famous National Palace Museum. In addition, one of Taipei's largest night markets is located in Shilin, as well as the ex-pat enclave of Tianmu.

It was a super huge night market which sells lots & lots of things!!! But unfortunately....or should i say lucky that we had too little time to shop....haha
Bcoz we had to accomplish an important task ....... TO EAT !!!

I only managed to grab these 2 cute bags at RM10 each .....!!!

too many varieties....so it was hard to decide what to choose, so we ended up eating at 3 different stalls just so that we get to try more !!!

black sesame glutinous rice balls

again....ai yi ping.....

My only regret was i didn't get to try their famous 'fried chicken breast' bcoz the queue was unbelievably LONG ..... gosh!! next time.....

Despite only a full Saturday in Taipei, i think i'm very much contended that i had such great companion to guide me around a few interesting places, savour many delicious foods & chanced upon many good buys!! So i can say my airfare to Japan was very worthy in view that this additional short trip was inclusive!!!

** Hope u had a good 'VIRTUAL' touring of Danshui **

p/s: sorry for d late updates....if i had kept anyone waited ya !!! (perasan to rot....)


LittleLamb said...

The last time I was in Taipei was probably 6-7 yrs ago :( And things that time also not cheap. I think now is much better...

Ai Yi Ping..i used to buy it at Pasar Malam. Not sure if they still have it..

I love yr loots as well as the food... I need to make travel trips soon.........


GG said...

Hi Jac!

I've stayed in Taipei in 2000 for 9 mths. But didn't see the whole of Taiwan as my first child was just a baby then. But I can recommend some other good places for you to see, if you are going there again.

Nice to see you in Breadtown! You look lovely, so do your sons. Handsome and cute.

Have a good year ahead. Happy new year.

slavemom said...

Taiwan is a food haven. U're so lucky to hv a great tourguide.
U edi bot quite a lot of stuff (pots oso u buy) when u're not supposed to. :D (in transit mah) Am waiting anxiously to c wat u bot from Jpn (apart from the bento accessories).

Rjoc said...

Glad that you liked the magazine Jacss and it stopped you from trying to jump out of the plane because of boredom. You will have to show us what items you mde from it!!

Plenty of loot from there, did you have enough space still in your bag for Japan??

huisia said...

wow, your foods...emm...look so yummy!! Taiwan really a food heaven!

khongfamily said...

Love this post...makes me wanna go there instead :). Didn't know the 'ai yi ping' is originated from Taipei. I used to buy at the food market in Cheras. And the CHEAP loots...really cannot resist to go there!

renet13 said...

wow..so impressive..I mean your write uo & the effort u put to load the photos. U shud hav been a good journalist lah!
Sure u have had a great time!

YozoraNiteSky said...

Merry Christmas Jac and thanks for the lovely virtual tour of Taiwan. Shiok lah to be able to travel and really enjoy what the world has to offer. Have a great season holiday and Happy New Year !

wen said...

been travelling a lot wor!

Annie Q said...

Wow!! Fully utilise the one day tour..eat and tour. Geng!! I still can remember when i was teenager that time i been to taiwan a few times, at that time, still so "lulu" don't know what is "shopping" hahahhaha only know how to eat, and buy candies and shoes. Taiwan is shopping and food heaven too! If got chance i want to go again. :)

Irene said...

walaoeh. so long man! hahahha! man, i wanna go visit Taiwan le... duno can bumped into those lengchai actor or not le... hahahhahaha! :)

zara's mama said...

Hey, I missed your post on your trip ler.. didn't realised until I saw your latest post.

Anyway.. what a wonderful trip you have. Really, with friends joining you, and then husband willing to care for the children to give you time off.

For me, it's only biz trip that I can do this. :( Sad..

Anyway, I remember Dan Sui.. I really liked it to. It was again a work trip many years ago to Taiwan, and I extended so I could explore Taiwan in a day.