~ 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.