Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 9: Kiss and Ride...

~ 22nd March 2014 ~
We were in Chiayi County and we had a wonderful time up in Alishan and down at Fenqihu. Along the journey to the High Speed Rail Station, from the van, we could see a few new housing estates but not that many people. It's live at the outskirt with no human congestion. Not a place that I would pick to live in. 
The train station was almost deserted, so unlike Taipei and Alishan which were sardine-packed with tourists. Taipei has been overly advertised as tourist destination, same as Alishan. One shouldn't just visit a heavily advertised place. Once the place has been bombarded by tourists, there's nothing special about that place anymore. I'm glad we're heading south-wards.
Our train has finally arrived, on the dot. Clean and noise-less. Speed is all it is about.
We have booked our tickets while we were in Taipei. Smart us calculated the time perfectly. Perfect timing, praise the Lord~! It was such a relief to be able to sit on a comfortable seat. We got a glimpse of the different counties in the outskirt in just a couple of hours. Looks like Taiwan still has ample of space to be built up and modernized. The whole country needs nicer buildings with more cheerful colours instead of dull colours. 
The sun accompanied us throughout the whole journey. Sunset on the way.
Tainan was the second last stop. When the train came to a halting stop at the station, we jumped out and quickly snapped a pic or two. Thank goodness we didn't spend more time outside as the train suddenly closed its doors and sped off into oblivion.... with us inside, of course. Tainan has a few attractions of its own for example you will be able to see how salt is processed.
Funny seeing this in Kaohsiung... "Kiss and Ride". Is there any wrong translation going on with that phrase? We've never seen this phrase before. Kiss goodbye by dropping your loved ones off or ride on with your loved ones aboard? Is that what it means? We're got ourselves lost in Kaohsiung's rail station. We were walking up and down, looking at all the booths with pamphlets to continue our journey. Yeah, we went to another county with only half a solid plan. Another half was like a prototype software which has not been run in full swing. We managed didn't we?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 9: Everlasting Suspension Bridge...

~ 22nd March 2014 ~
The river was dry. There was no plan to walk this suspension bridge. The van driver who fetched us from Fenqihu Town just stopped in front of a huge temple. There was a procession going on at that temple to 'welcome the evil spirit'. It was a procession that I've never seen before. Not being interested with temple events, we walked to the public toilet, to the right of the temple. The public toilet was terrible. Who made the toilet so disgusting? Tourists from mainland China~!! It was as horrible as the public toilets in the suburb of Beijing. You will gag and feel like your tongue just wants to jump out of your throat, pushed by your gall bladder jumping against gravity along your oesophagus~!!!
There were two suspension bridges at this Chiayi City, one should actually walked this bridge before going to Fenqihu and Alishan. We were came down from Alishan, dragged our feet in Fenqihu and we ended up at the lower suspension bridge. It's called the 'Everlasting' bridge. The story behind the bridge was about lovers and .... *I don't know the rest of the story*. There's another bridge hanging up in the air. Direct translation for the name of the bridge would be 'Long Sky'. This is the full name for those two bridges: 天長地久吊橋
We crossed the road to a quiet fruit stall. The lady was not very friendly and maybe because of that the fruits sold were sourish as well. One should always smile to customers. Maybe she dislikes tourists from mainland China, but she does not know that there are Chinese nor from China.
That's the bridge. I was wondering how come we did not just walk on the road instead of following the crowd to cross the bridge to nowhere. The 'Everlasting' bridge was not high up like the 'Long Sky' bridge. The travel buddy wanted to walk on the 'Long Sky' bridge but she must have forgotten that she is afraid of heights. We might be the one giving her a piggy-back ride along the bridge. So, sometimes, places of high altitude which has no purpose of visiting, I will cancel it off mentally and just refuse to go for the good of everyone.
There were suppose to be three waterfalls flowing into this river. Spring has just started and the amount of water to form a long waterfall from the top of the mountain to the valley has not formed yet. Thus, the dry riverbed. There was nothing to see at all except for a small stream.
Fancy putting your life on rusted metals? Once snap, you're gone. No wonder some people are so afraid of heights. No faith in those rusty metals keeping the bridge in tact. I have no faith in the screws, nuts and bolts of roller coasters. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 9: Fenqihu Town...

~ 22nd March 2014 ~
Finally, we found our way to Fenqihu. As I've mentioned earlier, we traveled from the wrong side and we never get the information that we wanted on whichever site. So, I'm going to tell all of you future tourists to Taiwan who are on your own, it's okay to travel from a different way. From Alishan, you can easily get a van arranged to pick you and send you halfway down to Fenqihu. I think my wolf on my head was staring at the old railway tracks. We did not manage to walk all the way to the end of the tracks to snap a photo or two with the train heads. It was drizzling on and off and I don't really want to get wet since the weather was already so cold and I only have one thick jacket that I was wearing.
When the van dropped us at the entrance of the town, he told us that another van would come and pick us up in another couple of hour's time. According to my printed information about Fenqihu, we would need roughly 5 hours and 30 minutes to complete the route. Pinky was laughing like a hyena with my information. The country's website stated that only 1.5 hours were needed to finish the walk around the marketplace. That's such a misleading information. 1.5 hours would have you walk a quarter way into the marketplace and you had to run out like a mad person before your one and only mode of transport leave you behind. If your transport rolled away without you, you can go rolling downhill to the high speed rail. Oh, the stall that met our eyes was the stall selling the best doughnuts~!! It's so good we bought a few and on the way out, we bought some more. But it was out of stock as they were so many customers placing their orders. I had to beg the seller to sell to me. I wonder why so many websites do not mention about those mouth-watering doughnuts or were they Chinese bagels???
Most websites talked about how famous Fenqihu is for its bamboo shoots. I detest bamboo shoots. It smells like ammonia. You don't know what's ammonia? It smells like fresh urine from my rabbits~!! Then, even Wikipedia mentioned about aiyu jelly. What it's made of, I don't remember. I don't remember much of what took place last year except for the photos which trigger my memory. 
The very reason we landed in Fenqihu was because my international travel buddy said it is a must-go place in her list. So, that's why we were there. She's talking about this place owned by an old uncle with long white beard, selling the railway Bento set. The old uncle is definitely having a gold mine in this little town. Other than owning this restaurant selling Bento sets like no one has ever seen a box with rice and some meat in it, the old uncle seemed to own a few more shops selling sweet and sour delicacies.
That's the souvenir railway Bento set which costs 800 yuan. It's equivalent to almost RM80 at that time. Now, it costs more with the sinking Malaysian Ringgit. I was thinking how crazy would I be to buy this wooden box for 800 dollars. I tried not to convert to RM so I wouldn't be able to spend unwisely. 800 was too much so we settled for something lesser.
For dine-in, you will need to confirm that you have found a table for yourself. So, when Pinky went to place order, mi mama and I went in search for a place to sit. I transformed into a ruffian when I saw an empty log-turned-into-table being cleared away. I literally jumped and made a dash to the table. You have to be a ruffian to survive such crowd. The moment I reached that empty log, another couple also made their way there. I was one second earlier and they were pleading to me to give them the table. I refused. I'm sorry. I chose not to be nice because we really needed that table to have our lunch. Pinky got the cheapest version of Bento served in a tin. It's 100NT and I find that reasonable as the serving was huge. The tin must be dropped into the bin to be recycled. Everything there was self-service. 
Pinky got me the Bento box to be carried home. Yeah, the box was back home but I don't understand why I bother with souvenirs. I seemed to leave them everywhere. It's like when you're in another country, you treasure what you really wanted to bring back home. The moment you reach home, that something you treasured so much became an irritating piece of trash. I gave the flimsy Bento box to the hubby for him to keep his treasures consisting of paper clips, staples and rubber bands. You can have your fair share of bamboo shoots from the Bento box. The bamboo shoots can be seen hiding underneath that piece of meat.
You see the number of people standing? They were waiting for people to leave. If not they can't order their food. The restaurant does not allow customers to order as sit-in customers without a confirmed table. We tried not to gobble down our food. At this age, we prefer to sit down and had a proper meal instead of walking with our food in hand. We sounded like we're getting very old but the truth was, with the three of us, the sum of our ages was more than a hundred years old.
The travel buddy was completely satisfied. She got to be in Fenqihu and tasted the famous Bento set rice. What makes that place famous? I guess it's the only place where you can have a proper meal. There's no other place selling decent food.
After having a whole box of rice, the travel buddy dived into eating mode again. She got herself a piece of taukua, hard bean curd, sliced and stuffed with pork floss. Penang's taukua selling at economy rice stall tasted a gazillion times better and cheaper. 
After we were done with our eating escapade, not that we're such big eaters, we went on to look around the marketplace. The crowd was getting too much to bear and it was really suffocating walking along the narrow corridors with shops on both sides selling everything that you can ever think of. The further we walked the more I felt like elbowing my way through. If one person stopped to look at the goods being sold, it would cause a massive human jam.
We came across this shop selling local delicacies, all those sweet that will make you run to your dentist sooner or later. We have this over here as well. Penang Island looks like a replica of Taiwan but we're better... hehehehe.... I'm bias because it's my home country. That's one huge chunk of groundnuts stick together with maltose. Don't know how is it called but I know at times I do like sinking my teeth into those sweetened groundnuts. But that's such a gigantic chunk. I can imagine my teeth getting stuck there.
Next time when I see them clogs, I would buy them... for the fun of it. Will buy them in Japan, soon... I wonder when we can say Hello to the Land of the Rising Sun...