Thursday, April 26, 2012

DAY 3 TAIWAN TRIP 6/4/2012

Our itinerary for the day:-
1. Along the North Coast Road - Jinguashi
2. Juifen-Shifen waterfall
3. National Palace Museum

We had our breakfast at the hotel.  To visit these places, the best way is to book a taxi for the day to save time.  So we walked out to the Jiantan MRT Station and flagged down the taxi.   The price for day vary and we managed to get a Mr. Chong's taxi for the dat at $3,000.00 which was reasonable for the day till 5.00 pm.

Mr. Chong is an affable middle aged man and we took the North Coast Road.   This is one very long drive - almost 2 hours.   I suggest that you can skip this road and go direct to Jinguashi instead by another highway.  The main attraction along this road is the Yin-Yang Sea but then you will have more time to go to Shifen Waterful and the Pingxi, which sadly we had to miss due to lack of time.
Altenative, you can go by train - from Ruifong Station, take the Pingxi line for Shifen Waterfall and the rest of the stations along this train line, which infact was recommended by Sarah's friend.

As we were travelling along the road, Jeremy inquired about the betel nut ladies.

We were informed by Mr. Chong that if you see those blinking neon lights, then that stall is selling betel nuts. We could not see any bikini-dressed ladies as this road is not a highway.  Mr. Chong kindly bought us a packet for us to try.

 A packet of this cost around $100.00. Mr. Chong told us that he was an addict to this habit and had practically lost most of his teeth!

Jeremy sinking his teeth into one of betel nut. He said it is like biting grass.  Sarah could not stand the taste and smell and immediately spew it out.

A plastic cup is given along with the purchase and you then spit out the betel nut which oxidizes into the red colour.

The Yin-Yang sea- note the 2 different colours of the sea.  This is due to the minerals from the gold mine especially iron, that flow down from the hills.

The scenery along the coastline. We also passed by a cementery where it holds the memorial of Theresa Teng. As the taxidriver was not sure of the exact location we skipped this and went on our way. 

As the taxi was climbing up the hill, we turned a corner and this spectacular sight is right front of us.
The Jingushai Golden Waterfall. We felt so happy though it was raining!.

 The rushing stream -the rocks here are golden coloured due to the mineral contents.
One last look before we continued on our way to Jinguashi.

We finally arrived at Jinguashi- a former gold mine.
The mining quarters

  The wide expanse of greenery and fresh air was so invigorating despite the slight drizzle of rain.

The very steep and arduous stairs leading to the Japanese shrine

There is also a Japanese Shrine

The railway tracks used for the gold mine.

Stepping on history- the railway sleepers are really old.

The handle-less Teapot Mountain.

Getting a warm reprieve from the rain- hot bean curd in ginger syrup.

After this we went on to the museum to see the larget gold ingot. Sad to say I cannot the photo!!!

The village of Jinguashi was very prosperous in the 1950's but now it is a sleepy town after the gold rush.
From Jinguashi, it is a short distance to Juifen. This place has been made popular by a movie and now dozen and dozen of tourist flock to this place.  The place is quaint with old buildings and beautiful scenery otherwise it  mainly caters for street foodies!  Traffic is both ways and you can imagine the traffic jam with the tourist buses and taxis but then the people are so patient and they do give way - there is hardly any irritable honking !

    Some sort of coffee distillery. - of course selling Taiwan coffee.

Some of the eye-catching displays-
Buttery pastry sticks

Tasty balls with squids in the middle served with bonita flakes.
This is interesting- this whole block is peanut brittle- the vendor shave bits off the block and place them on the popia skin.  He then place 2 scoops of ice cream and wrap it up.  You bite into the nutty bits and then the ice cream- yummy.  One of the stall even add some coriander - strange combination.
This one was very good.
Another tasty food - grilled mushroom

Grilled Escargots- chewy

Big cauldron with simmering Chinese Tea eggs

They called it "chong yau go" which is cut into thin slices and then served with some oil and soya sauce. (like "woon chai go")

Looking down to an alley from the Taro Balls Dessert Shop.

You just follow the crowds- the shop with the most people, go and get your food from them.
This Taro Balls were made right in front of the shop.  The yellow one is sweet potato, black sesame and taro (yam) in red bean sweet soup- delicious.
This is taro and black sesame balls in hot ginger syrup.  Ginger is good to dispel the chills.
As I had said, the Taiwanese must be very patient people. Look at this tractor trying to inch its way (in reverse gear) from the narrow streets. We quickly moved out of the way before it blocked the street.

Mr. Chong told us that we may not have enough time to visit the Shifen Waterfall as it  could take around 2 hours to and from from here.  So we had no choice but  to give it a miss- next time it will definitely be on the itinerary.

He took us back to Taipei to see the NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM instead. By the time we reached there, it was nearly closing time and yet there are still large groups of tourists. You have to pay for the admission and no bags are allowed- be prepared to hand over your bag to the counter and they will give you a paper bag to carry your important items only.  The museum has a lot of artefacts from Mainland China.  These were taken from the Imperial Palace during Chiang Kei Shek's when he went over to Taiwan. Be prepared to spend some time here as the museum is so huge. But there are 2 must see - the Jade Cabbage and the "piece of meat".  The intricate craving is really a wonder- lookout for the small and larger grasshopper on the cabbage.  The "piece of meat" is dye and craved to resemble the layers of the pork belly! Really amazing.  Another must-see is the intricate craving within a small olive stone!

The main building of the National Palace Museum.We did not have enough time to view the whole building and its garden.  Be prepared to spend 2 hours at least.

The gateway to National Palace Museum.

We were having dinner with Sarah's friend who is studying here at the Jiantan MRT Station.
She is a petite lady and has already been in Taiwan for more then 2 years.   Pray that she will succeed in her university here. 

Appetiser- Century Egg served with cold taufoo and bonito flakes.

Aromatic Fried Pork Loin- they called it "spareribs". This is to be served with the bowl of plain noddles- "spareribs Noodles".

This is the "spareribs Noodles" very filling.
Another version of Beef Noodles
"Jia Cheng Mee"

Dumplings in Hot and spicy sauce.

After our dinner,  the young people wanted to go clubbing, so we split up from here.
May and I then went for some shopping at the undergound shopping at the Taipei Main MRT station before hitting back to the hotel.

Cute window display at Underground Eslite Bookstore - one of the largest bookstore in Taipei- but then mostly Chinese books.
Thus ended another wonderful day in Taiwan.

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