Taiwan trip – Day 8

Day 8 of Please Let Me Go Back Alive (aka. Taiwan trip 2017)

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The last day of my travels in Taiwan, I decided to finally bring the cat out of the bag (if that’s the correct way to use that phrase). I decided to go to…(drumrolls) Jioufen!

It’s supposedly the background setting of Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away (though Hayao Miyazaki has denied it), and it is also the reason that I wanted to come to Taiwan in the first place.

I mean, weird to leave it to the last day, but I’m go glad I did, because if I’d gone there on the first day or even in the middle of my trip, it would’ve made all the other stops seem very boring.

But before we get into that, let’s go over my day in detail.

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I wish I could flip the photo for you but it says “Gold Museum, New Taipei City Government”. Yes, I went to the gold museum  at Jinguashi first thing in the morning (noon?) because it’s nearby Jioufen and I wanted to touch the gold there. Literally. You’ll see what I mean.

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This is the Mine Worker’s Lunchbox, food that apparently the mine workers actually ate while they were working there. Pretty good, if you ask me. At least better than some of the food I used to get in high school. You can order the full set lunchbox, where they give it to you in the lunchbox and you can take it home, or you can order the one in the wooden box, where you throw out the box later but it’s wrapped in a handkerchief that you can take home. Since I was running out of money I decided to get the cheapest one, where you can just eat it and then scram.

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There was a ‘No Pokemon GO’ sign, which made me wonder about the story behind the sign 😛 Who got hurt? Why? What Pokemon were they trying to catch? I’ll never know..

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Ah yes. The infamous gold. That yellow brick-like thing you see there is solid gold, and those red numbers underneath are the price in TWD. I changed it to KRW and USD, and it’s about 100억 in Korean won, and about 8 million (If I counted the zeros right) in US dollars.

Yes, mom, I touched an 8 million-dollar worth of gold!

Of course you notice I didn’t put a picture of me touching the gold, because I looked at the pictures and I look horrible.

I shall attribute it to my face being full of greed and want for moneyyyyyyyy but ehhh I probably just smiled weirdly. (which is because of greed.)img_2966

See how pretty I look when I’m not being greedy? And yes, I wore Fusion Korean Traditional clothing. (must spread the mother culture)

Anyways, with Jinguashi behind me, and my heart pounding, I headed towards JIOUFEN

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I bought myself some peanut ice cream because I was hungry,

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Then bought myself not one but two ocarinas (because I always wanted to have one)

img_2984And then walked around.

Mind you, this is only about 3PM, and that is the only reason why there are so little people in this picture. The lights weren’t on yet, and I expect that everybody else would come later on. There is a famous teahouse, but I heard that (whisper whisper) you can get better pictures if you go to the not-so-famous teahouse across from the famous one, so I headed there and enjoyed a cup (or ten) of royal milk tea.

img_3018This is me, enjoying my tea in peace and quiet while also laughing at the horde of people gathering at the bottom of the not-so-famous teahouse to get a good picture of the famous teahouse (the teahouse owner blocked the entryway so that people couldn’t just barge in).

And this is the picture that I managed to get.

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Jioufen is so beautiful, and the lights woke something in me, something very asian, I must say, but there is something so nostalgic, so comfortable about those red lights that I find myself tearing up. I mean, I went through so much during these past 8 days, what with me not being able to speak a word of Chinese, traveling alone for the first time, barely getting enough sleep, but this view made it all so worth it.

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The lights are so beautiful, see?

I headed home afterwards, but I’ll upload a final post maybe tomorrow, regarding my general feelings about the entire trip.

Also, I only realise now that it may be a problem; you can save my pictures or whatever but if you make money from them without my permission I will summon all of my American-ness (even though I have none) and sue you thanks bye.

Taiwan trip – Day 7

Day 7 of Please Let Me Go Back Alive (aka. Taiwan trip 2017)

Today I woke up earli(er than yesterday) and got myself a train ticket to Ruifang to get to Shifen!

The exit signs at Ruifang station were in Korean, which made me wonder exactly how many Koreans came before they decided to change the signs to read in Korean too.

On the way to Shifen I went through some troubles like getting on the wrong train and then getting off at the wrong station. Not to mention the trains to Shifen (and back too, actually) are stuffed full of people like an overly stuffed Turkey during Thanksgiving (not that I know what that’s like).

Anyways when I finally got off, I stood in line for the Chicken Wing Fried Rice (basically they stuff fried rice inside the chicken wing). It was absolutely delicious, if not weird, but I almost inhaled it because I hadn’t had breakfast or lunch yet.

Then I went to do the famous lantern wishing thing. I got the four-colored one;

Yellow is for luck with money, white is health, red is ‘luck’ in general, and you get to pick one more color, so I picked pink (which is love).

The employee takes tons of pictures for you so even if you come alone (like me), you don’t have to worry about taking pictures. img_2837

This is me, letting my lantern fly off, like a mama bird watching the babee birb fly for the first time. It went off wayyyy into the air and it’s so symbolic for lots of things but I can’t bring myself to illustrate them because I’m too hungry right now.

Anyways, I was planning to get off at Houtong station and go to the cat village on the way back to Ruifang, but the train was so crowded that I literally could not push myself to the door and disembark from the train. So, sad for me, but I went straight back to Ruifang.

Then I returned to Taipei station to make my way towards Shilin night market for dinner and shopping.

These are just a few stalls that are in Shilin night market. I ate the famous cubed beef, and that strawberry candy in the picture. The stall with the bananas I took a picture of because it’s the same food they used to sell in front of my high school (ahh, memories.)

 

Anyways, with my arms full of souvenirs (and food) I returned to the hostel, and must rest up so I can go to…..(drumrolls) JIUFEN!

 

Jiufen is literally the reason I came to Taiwan, so I have no idea why I put it off to the last day.

Probably I felt like if I went there first, then the rest of my trip would feel boring.

Taiwan trip – Day 3

Day 3 of Please Let Me Go Back Alive (aka. Taiwan trip 2017)

This morning I hit the snooze button and I found it really difficult to wake up. I was hurting in a lot of places, like my legs and my feet, and most importantly my UTERUS.

I’d planned to go to Xinbeitou, the hot spring town, and maybe relax, loosen a few muscles and then come back and sleep for maybe 20 hours, but it seemed that it wasn’t meant to be.

But I didn’t have anything else planned, so I still got ready to go out and made my way to Xinbeitou.

The train from Beitou station to Xinbeitou station is themed after a hot spring!

Anyways when I got off, I headed towards the nearest tourist spot, which happened to be the Taiwan public library in Xinbeitou. It’s supposed to be the most environmental-friendly library, and it looks like it too. Unluckily for me, it was closed for today 😦

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So then afterwards I headed to the hot spring museum. It’s supposedly a hot spring that was changed into a museum later on, and if you go to the first floor they still have the baths there, which are now used for display.

img_2459It’s supposed to be decorated to look like Roman baths, but funnily enough, I could only see a wave pool at a water park…

Then I was hungry, so I went out to get lunch.

 

The latte that I drank there is the first non-bubble tea drink that I had since I got to Taiwan, I think.

Once my stomach was filled, I headed towards Thermal Valley. The river(?) stream(?) that runs through Xinbeitou is all hot spring water, so you can see steam rising from it as you walk by. It also smells like sulfur (which is what makes Xinbeitou hot spring special: sulfur) . Thermal Valley is famous for being 100+degrees, and therefore having steam rising from it all year round.

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After coming back from Thermal Valley, I decided to go to this famous ramen restaurant. My original plan (before my uterus ruined everything) was to go to Thermal Valley, go to a hot spring and soak myself in it, and then go eat the ramen for dinner and return, but I had to skip the hot spring and went straight to the ramen place.

And I keep saying ‘ramen place’ because I can’t read chinese and therefore have no idea what the name of the restaurant is. Also apparently the ramen there is famous because they make the noodles with hot spring water and it makes the noodles more chewy and delicious.

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To be honest the ramen didn’t taste wonderful. I know better ramen restaurants back home, but I guess the point was that I took the tourist route there 😛

The view after I got out from the restaurant was excellent. The hotel right next to the ramen place had the red lanterns on them, reminding me that I originally planned my Taiwan trip because I wanted to see the red lanterns in Jiufen.

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Anyways I headed back, but not before stopping by a Matcha cafe to get…

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THIS. So good and green tea-ey and sweet and bitter and yummmmmm.

Tomorrow I’m probably just going to rest in my bed, maybe go to the nearby shopping mall for an easy lunch and dinner, and eat lots and lots of snacks, because the second day is always the hardest for me.

 

I’m actually really hungry right now oh no.

 

Taiwan trip – Day 1

Day 1 of Please Let Me Go Back Alive (aka. Taiwan trip 2017)

For the first time in my 20 years of life, I’m going traveling abroad by myself!

I reckon that I first wanted to go on a solo trip since last year, when I went on a trip (not abroad but close enough) without supervision for the first time.

The freedom that came with choosing for myself what I wanted to eat, where I wanted to go, what I wanted to see, what I wanted to do was so invigorating that I literally climbed a mountain.

This time I’m going for 8 nights and 9 days, the longest trip I have ever taken, actually, and I made it a no-plan, no-stress trip. It basically means that depending on how I feel, I may do nothing but lie in the bed and sleep for the entire 9 days, or have the time of my life while also getting blisters on my feet.

I’m terrified in case I might get kidnapped/murdered/killed/etc but I’m also extremely excited.

Even as I write this in my hostel bed, I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow. I’ll have to have a think about it, but basically, this is my trip. It’s full of freedom, and full of excitement, and I’m looking forward to this adventure.

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Today’s picture is of a pepper cake, apparently one of the must-eats of Taiwan. I didn’t even plan to eat it, but actually just randomly came across one of the popular sellers. Lucky me.

 

The theme of this trip to Taiwan is actually “please let me go back alive” because I’m half-morbid and half-terrified.

Photos + exams…

I’m taking a photography class this semester, and I have a DSLR that I bought about 3 years ago, so I’m going to try and make use of it as much as possible. My theme also allows for me to brag one photo, so I’m going to make use of that as well. I actually don’t have a photo today, so I’m just going to reuse one that I took a long, long time ago.

I realise that my words don’t exactly sound coherent right now, but that’s because I’m really tired and I don’t have the energy or brainpower to sound right. Sorry, but I’m sure that you all are highly intelligent and capable of deciphering my tired ramblings.

I need to buy a new phone because my Galaxy S5 is crazy now; the screen flickers on and off in low light, plus I dropped the back cover case in the sea by accident and I lost my SD card somewhere too (which makes me really, really sad). My choices of new phones are: iPhone7, iPhone6s, and Galaxy Note 7.

I don’t really care that the iPhone7 doesn’t have a earphone jack, I actually like the airPods (slay me), and Note7 doesn’t explode anymore. Also, iPhone6s is the same price as Note7, and it’s apparently likely that iPhone7 is going to be similar as well. Right now I’m leaning towards iPhone7, but we’ll see. But if I do get iPhone 7, what color should I get??? That is the true dilemma.

Also I have my exams from the 17th to the 21st. Which also means that I’m going to be motivated to do anything except study, like maybe clean the house, play extra double time with my cat, clean the house again, make pudding, bake cookies, try ‘learning’ how to draw, write more stories, clean the house, write poems, you get the gist.

If any of you see me online please just internet slap me and tell me to go study.

Just in case anyone is interested, I’ll tell you my exam schedule, because I haven’t checked either.

So apparently on Monday the 17th I have Latin1 from 11AM, Post-Capitalism Management from 5PM, on Tuesday the 18th I have Psychology at Work, Psychology of Language: Theory and Practice, and on Wednesday at 1PM I have Psychology of Aging. I’m probably going to be dead by Thursday because I have part-time work on Monday and Wednesday as well.

Hooray..

P.S. the photo is from a cafe/restaurant that I went to with my friend. The food is amazing there and the atmosphere is great and the drinks are superb as well.

P.P.S you know what I’ll just post a picture of the food below

 

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P.P.P.S. I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to do this but the restaurant’s name is The April, and it’s in South Korea, near Hongdae station 😀