Saturday, February 27, 2016

Day 14: Go-Walk Minsu, Jiufen...

~ 27th March 2014 ~
It took me a long time to figure out the name of the minsu we stayed in Jiufen. I would like to congratulate the logo designer for doing an excellent job. It's a simple yet complicated logo with the actual meaning highlighted in the few English alphabets, the picture of the rising sun to the appearance of the crescent, blending in with the Chinese characters which carries no meaning to my understanding. In the end, I managed to figure out the name of the place. It's Go-Walk. That's why we had a horrid walk from 7-11 right to the top. But I still do not like the young chap manning the counter, even if he's the owner or just a part-timer or whatever, he has no right to tell us that the walk to the minsu was barely a few minutes' walk. 
The next morning, we went to the reception building to have our breakfast. The breakfast was good though especially the sugar-coated deep-fried anchovies.... minus the groundnuts... and the omelette was really good, I asked for more. Yana, the Indonesian staff was a hospitable person. Please up her salary if she's still working there, thank you. Then, I had what I wanted! Toasted bread with butter and the omelette made it the perfect breakfast.
We walked back to our room to fool around because we were actually very lazy. The young chap should just be honest with us. Instead of saying that we got the best view, he should just come clean and say that our best view was staring at the rooftop of the temple. We only have a part of the blocked view. 

In the end, we packed our bags and decided to explore the place a bit. We dumped our treasures at the reception area. We believe that it would be safe there. You see, there's no point planning to steal the luggage which the owner dares to leave behind without looking back or thinking twice. It only mean that there's nothing inside that's worth stealing. Off we went seeking for an adventure.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day 13: From Hualien to Jiufen...

~ 26th March 2014 ~
Our guide dropped at Hualien's old train station quite early. We had more than an hour to sit around and do nothing. We were waiting for our train number to be shown on the board or called over the microphone but it was rather funny that we were still sitting at the front section of the train station while we see people walking straight into the belly of the station. Our train ride time was just merely 5 minutes away when we decided to drag our stuff and take a slow walk until we could hear our train number being called out so that we would know which platform to go to. Much to our horror, we were about to miss our train. The ticket checker had a table inside and she told us our platform and asked us to hurry as we had only 3 minutes before the train went away. Instead of a slow walk, we were doing Olympic-style sprint searching our platform. The moment we went in, the train closed its doors and 'toot toooot' away.
It was a slow train ride and took us about 3 hours to reach Jiufen. Along the way, there were only wastelands to see. Something which tourists might not notice. It was just barren land with a few trucks here and there and you would be wondering what they were up to. We hopped into a waiting yellow cab outside Jiufen's train station. We had no idea where we were heading towards neither did our taxi driver. He used his GPS guide and dropped us at the biggest 7-11 we've ever seen.
The taxi driver asked us to walk straight along the dark alley. We arrived around 9pm and all the shops at the Old Street had the metal door pulled down. Walk with me along the dark and narrow alley. It was another hour's walk with us dragging our tired feet, ignoring our rumbling stomach and the luggage and extra baggage made walking harder. There were turns and more turns, making us hate the minsu every minute of our walk. The person in charge even told us that it was just a short walk. I dislike lying tongue. An hour's walk was no short walk. 
After we reached the lobby of the so-called minsu, to our surprise, our room was another 10 minutes uphill walk. The young chap in-charge asked the Indonesian helper-cum-cleaner to take our luggage. I dislike such lazy person asking a lady to do a donkey's job so I asked her to just lead the way, I'll carry our own luggage. She's a nice lady and she told us that we would have nothing to eat unless we walked back down to where we started. Only 7-11 has food for us.

We dropped our luggage and Yana, the Indonesian helper, accompanied us down the lonely walk. Since 7-11 accepted credit card, we went on a buying frenzy, we wanted to try out all the instant noodles. Let me tell you one thing, not everything in Taiwan is delicious. The instant noodles has overpowering taste and we left the noodles untouched. What a waste of food.
Oh, the lazy and lying young chap told us that we got the best view in our room. Best view my foot. The view from the balcony was blocked by the temple's rooftop. And the air-conditioning system was not working. The temperature was stuck at 30-degrees. It's like sleeping back at home without electricity. I called him and asked him to do something about it and then the lying chap gave us a non-working WiFi so in the end we just play with our camera. We did not want to overuse our data and then top up again. It's not cheap to do so. Nothing is cheap in Taiwan.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 13: Hualien and Around...

~ 26th March 2014~
There were a few places that our guide-cum-driver took us to. There was this shop that was selling lime juice. The guide said many would buy a cup or two of icy cold lime juice on a hot day. It was so sour our face turned into dried pulp once we took a sip. It was not our type of drink.
Next, we were taken to this shop selling local biscuits of sort. We tasted one and it was really nice but none of us wanted to carry a plastic bag with a box of biscuits. So in the end we didn't buy anything.
Then, when our day trip has ended, our driver made a call to order the specialty of Taiwan. It's deep fried roti canai with a bull's eye in the middle. I did not know that when you have come to the centre of the piece of bread, you're not suppose to bite it but suck the egg yolk. In the end, my egg yolk exploded right in my face and I didn't even know what hit me. I have egg yolk dripping from my spectacles, the camera, my shirt and shoes. I would be laughing if it happened to someone else but when it happened on yourself, you would be so lost, the last thing you would do was to laugh at yourself. I still have no idea how I looked like. Our guide said that he has reminded us not to bite in the centre but none of us heard him. 
What's left of the exploded egg...

I could not understand fully conversed Chinese but my travel buddy is a Chinese from China. Well, since she has stayed almost half of her life in Australia, her Chinese language is half past six already. 

Achievements Unlocked~!

In less than two months after we came back from our 3 weeks trip in Australia, we packed our luggage as light as possible to fly to China.
Mi madre and I decided to travel very light. We got lazy dragging huge luggage across airports. So, we got ourselves one cabin bag each and threw in a few pieces of clothing and we were good to go. It was going to be winter so we had our boots and winter wear ready. We went to my travel buddy's house where her mom was waiting for us. It's my third time in Shenzhen so I don't need to recognize the Chinese words, I know how to go home.
I have always wanted to be away on my birthday and Chinese New Year. I'm not able to cancel my classes on my birthday because it will be difficult to explain to the parents. But now, I've booked a flight and I'm going no matter what. I was suppose to celebrate my birthday with Pinky but she couldn't make it on time. So, I went ahead with my plans and I got a huge red packet from her mom. It's my first time receiving a thousand yuan in one red packet.
I had my international driving license with me. It's really scary to drive in China but I did that too. Drove halfway from Shunde to Shaoguan. In total it was a 3 hours plus drive along the highway which looked like a night market has taken place. The highway was strewn with rubbish of sorts. Then I did another drive from home in Shenzhen all the way to Baishuizhai, north of Guangdong. The drive was smooth at first thus, it was suppose to be a 2.5 hours drive but in the end, we were caught in a stand-still for almost an hour. It was a good experience to see and know that being Chinese, you can do whatever you want on the road. Since the vehicles couldn't turn into the junction, they just parked their car in the middle of the road.