Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Life... As You Travel...

I have not traveled to that many places but whenever I leave Malaysia, I was excited to experience life in another country. As days go by, you realized that there's not much difference and the grass is definitely not greener on the other side.
I always thought that Taiwan, being a first world country, would have a better standard of living. Yeah, it was way much better than we became poorer by the day. The food cost too much and everything was calculated by the hundreds and thousands. I know, I've not been to Indonesia to get a jolt out of life with the hundred thousands of rupiah spend on necessities. The houses in Taiwan was so run down that was one cruel shock I received. It was like walking at the back lane of China. Sorry, I do prefer China a million times over compared to Taiwan. 
Life is not easy in Taiwan. The poor will always be with you. The older generation in Taiwan seemed to be very hardworking. They would do anything just to earn an honest income. That's seaweed you're looking at. She's drying the seaweed by the roadside. The capital for this roadside business is small but the amount of hardwork put in is just too much. But think again, are the roadside hawkers really poor? The answer might be a yes but it can also be a big NO. 
Life goes on wherever you are. If you're born there, you live there and move on with life. I have the privilege to experience life in other countries. I'm a tourist but not any regular tourists. 
Whenever I'm back in Penang, I am grateful that I can still get a bowl of wantan noodles for RM3. Two years back it was only RM2.70 and it was quite a big bowl, too. I wouldn't know what to get in Taiwan for 30NTD. Even a bun cost more than that so please stop saying that everything in Taiwan is cheap. You must have problem in converting and calculating if you think it's cheap. The cheapest things can still be found in Penang Island or Taiping.

Day 14: Leaving Jiufen...

~ 27th March 2014 ~
Finally, we had the chance to see Jiufen, with the houses of sorts built on the terraces of the the hill. We told our taxi driver that he will have to wait for an hour for us to walk in and out with our luggage. He asked for the minsu's phone number and he said he will make a phone call. He called while driving and asked that our luggage be sent out. When he hung up, we told him it was impossible to have our luggage sent out as the young chap told us that the minsu was short of hand and we had to do it ourselves. Our taxi driver said he would make sure our luggage were brought out. 
We waited for our luggage at a different entrance. We never knew the entrance existed but since the taxi driver was a local there, he knew better. Because of him, we got to enjoy the real scenery of Jiufen. Our taxi driver called up the minsu again to ask them to hurry with our luggage. Before long we saw the young lying chap with another young lady dragging our luggage, huffing and puffing away. The taxi driver thanked them both and all of us had a good laugh in the taxi. 
That's the third driver that I would have given the accolade with the words THE MOST AWESOME TAXI DRIVER IN TAIWAN! Off we went to our next destination. We skipped lunch.... again...!!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Day 14: Gold Ecology Park - Jiufen...

~ 27th March 2014 ~
We hailed a cab and have us dropped at the Gold Ecology Park. There were not many people there. It was quite a big place and we could not really decide where to go. You will need to pay for the underground gold mine experience if I'm not mistaken. We did not pay for that because we have been to the underground gold mine in Bendigo, Australia. 
We decided to go to the Four Joined Japanese-Style Residence. It was an old resident building left by the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation. It was a simple house but it must be a living luxury at that point of time compared to what the locals had.
Then we dragged our feet around and arrived at the Jinguanshi Crown Prince Chalet. No one was allowed to enter the chalet so we could only walk around. Nothing much to see.
We dragged our feet to the Gold Refining Building and Environment Building and we get ourselves lost. Whether the travel buddy could read in Chinese or not was totally useless. We dragged our feet on. We were really tired. I could still imagine how tired we were. 
We came across a group of mainland Chinese tourists at the public toilet. They were brushing their teeth and washing their feet. Oh, my! Whatever happened to their hotel rooms? No such facilities? Didn't take any of their photos just in case they went into rage and threw my camera down the hillslope. 
If you are planning to go to this place, just cross it out. It's one boring place and it's really difficult to get a cab to go back to wherever you want to go. We wanted to go back to our place at the Old Street. There were a few waiting cabs there but they have been booked by other tourists. The taxi drivers asked us to wait but warned us that not many empty cabs would make a trip here. We sat there and wait then I could wait no more.
I walked to one of the drivers and started begging him to take us out of this place. He could not as he did not know when his customers would walk out of the place. I managed to persuade him to leave his waiting post for a few minutes and he finally agreed. He called his other friends to check on their availability. Finally he found one for us and took us to the waiting spot. He even bought us drinks to quench our thirst. Thank you, uncle! He likes munching on betel leaves until his mouth was bloody red but he's one kind soul. Thank you again, uncle! This is the second taxi driver that I would give the Excellent Taxi Driver Award to. The first one would remain as the Taichung taxi driver.

Day 14: Jiufen - Old Street...

~ 27th March 2014 ~
After we abandoned our luggage and treasures at the lobby of the minsu, we went to explore the Old Street of Jiufen, walking all the way. I was in no mood to take photos. I just wanted to walk around and look here and there. We had such hearty breakfast that our stomach has no space for us to try out anything more. I planned to take photos when we came back later on. We didn't come back. Will talk about that later.
There were quite a lot of good stuff along the walk down to the main entrance heading towards the one and only 7-11. We tried the honey kumquat juice. It was really good. I wanted the big bottle of honey kumquat but none of us was willing to carry such a big bottle of cold drink. We told the lady that we would be back. I think she must have heard that same phrase once too often and knew it was a lie. Whenever I said I will be back, I will. But I was really sorry. We did not have the chance to go back at all. Really sorry.
Then, there's this stall selling all sorts of meatballs. I love meatballs. I wanted a bowl of meatballs but really can't eat anymore. Along the way back maybe.
These prawn crackers shot out of the machine with a loud bang. Saw this exact same thing in Queensbay during last year's Chinese New Year. We bought 3 packets of prawn crackers. Delicious. But I'm not sure whether they have it this year or where they are now. I hardly go out of the house even though Queensbay is just a stone throw away. 
The Old Street was getting crowded by the minute. Thus, we got to experience the Old Street at night when it was totally void of humans except us and the rats were partying away into the night. We get really uncomfortable in big crowds so we quickly walked away. I think I prefer Old Street at night :0)