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In Taiwan I do the tourist thing from yellow rocks by the sea, to balls in a mountain village

You cannot see a country in a day.

One of my fellow travellers says being on a cruise ship is a bit like a ordering a tasting menu. We get to sample a small portion of each dish and can come back for more if we love it. I am not sure we get even that much.

But ... in Taiwan ... where I climbed the stairway in the picture above ... and many steps beyond... I feel I didn't get a smidgen of a portion of a taste.

This is one of the few times I will post on consecutive days, but I want to get Taiwan on record before we start eight days in Japan.

We docked in Keelong which meant, if we wanted to see Taipei, we would have to travel two hours there by bus, and then two hours back again. That would have been a big chunk out of a nine-hour day.

So Josie, Virginia, and six other buses of Poesia passengers and I opted for a drive up to the north end of the island on what can only be described as a tourist junket - fun if not especially enlightening.

The trip took us over lush green mountains and past golden temples ... and also by scores of grey and rundown tenements in the villages and towns along the way.

Our first stop was the Yehlie Geopark where erosion has carved stones into shapes in which the Taiwanese imagination sees something magical. This is a 'cute princess.'

And this is Queen Elizabeth II.

Honestly ... I don't see it myself. But the yellow rocks and the windswept dunes were beautiful. I found a quiet trail with no one on it and really enjoyed the tranquility.

Next up was Jiufen, a mountain village that, for pure tourist pleasure, puts Italian mountain villages to shame.

Our tour guide, Lela, was a bit scattered. She found out at the last minute that she had to give the tour in both English and German, and I think it threw her for a loop. But she said she came from Jiufen. And it was clear she was in her element here.

First up was lunch. It was slow ... but delicious ... with shrimp and fish and more fish and pork (for those who eat pork) and chicken. I cannot say we were treated to a particular Taiwanese style of cuisine that is different to Mandarin. But it was great. This is before we ate ....I forgot to take pictures as I was chowing down.

Then we walked up the 400 stairs to the main alley of the village. Let me say that climbing 400 steps up the side of a mountain is a tad exhausting. But it was so worth the effort. Jiufen is like nothing I have ever seen.

The main alleyway runs for longer than I had the time to walk. And it is lined from end to end with stands selling tchotchkes and clothes and souvenirs .. but mostly food that I have never eaten before and could not identify.

Much of it seemed to be sweet - but not in the way that chocolate is sweet, more in the way that bean curd with a bit of sugar is sweet.

There were so many balls - fish balls, chicken balls, balls of nuts. Lela recommended the taro balls. I did not buy them because they seems to be served in a fruit broth and I was unsure what I would do with them when I got back to the ship (and I was full from lunch.)

I had changed $20 US into Taiwanese currency, but the only thing I could think to buy was bubble tea.

Then it was the long walk down the mountain (my knees prefer up to down) before heading to another mountain village called Shufen.

It offered a chaotic mix of Poesia tourists and others who arrived here to set off sky lanterns - which I think are prohibited in many parts of Canada for environmental and fire-hazard reasons.

Josie, Virginia, a gal from Denmark and I got to write our wishes on the side of the lantern (mine involved a cure for multiple myeloma - for my sister). Then we took it to the centre of the railroad track where a man set it alight for us.

It sailed off into the afternoon sky - and I hope my wishes come true.

I still had the better part of $20 US in Taiwanese money in my pocket ... so I bought a tee shirt that said Taiwan. Josie said she was sure it was the first time in my life I had owned a tee shirt that said Taiwan on the outside.

We got back to the ship exhausted. And started thinking about Japan.



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3 comentários


Wendy Noble
Wendy Noble
16 de mar. de 2023

Another wonderful if compressed, adventure. I loved Taiwan, but unlike you I got to see Taipei but not a mountain village as I arrived the day after a typhoon and the mountain train was washed out. It is definitely worth returning to.

Curtir
Wendy Noble
Wendy Noble
16 de mar. de 2023
Respondendo a

I liked Taipei, and it was interesting being there at the tail end of a typhoon, but having been all over China I would have liked to visit the villages you went to.

Curtir
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