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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Birthday day out - Jiufen

So another birthday rocked up, I now officially turned 27.  The years are rolling by and soon I will hit the big 30.  However I want to let you guys know what happened on my birthday.

After a mighty mighty lie in bed we eventually got up and headed towards Jiufen, to check out the view of Taipei from there, and to check out the old gold mines.

Me and my fellow gold miner.


We took the train from Taipei main station to Ruifan station.  Then from there we took a bus up the mountain, through Jiufen and straight on to the gold mine before it closed.  The view from the side of the gold mine was not as good as the side from Jiufen but, alas thats not the reason I was there.  The main reason was the big block of gold.  Like a big chunk of gold bullion from the movie 3 kings!!

Chinese character for gold.


On our way towards the main attraction of the gold mine you can check out other things they have there, like smaller gold in barrels lying around and Japanese style buildings that have not been renovated they are there in the original form.

Jen and Japanese Style Building.


When we got into the building with the big piece of gold bullion inside there was loads of people trying to get inside to see it.  We had to wait in line to work our way around which made it hard to really look at anything else because the line was moving around quite fast.

I managed to look at some other things like gold in its original form how it is found in the rocks, and it looks quite different to how you see it on your bling bling necklace.

Gold in original form


When we got to the big gold, it had a place in the box so you could put your hand inside and feel the gold.  I thought to myself i'm having some of this.  I managed to barge my way past all the other people to get my filthy hands on the gold.  I thought thats what it must of been like when they were really looking for gold.  The whole having to barge past people and fight for your piece of the pie!  Ha!

Check out the weight of the gold!
With my filthy hands on the gold!!


When we left there, me and Jen took some pictures in the little truck things pretending that we were going to collect some gold ourselves.  We had a lot of fun taking pictures with the gold and everything and just chilling and hanging out around there.

On the gold hunt!


We seen the bus outside, we ran and caught to make the short trip back round to the other side of the mountain to hang out in Jiufen.

There was loads and loads traffic on the road.  This was because the road around the mountain was so narrow and the busses would stop for ages to let people on and off.  So it took about 20 minutes to get back to Jiufen this would normally be a 5 minute journey on a normal road.

When we got off the bus, the view was absolutely amazing and I could see why this place was so popular.  You could see the northern coastline of Taiwan and other hills and mountains off in the distance.  This place was awesome, and I would love to go back when I get the time and attempt to walk up some of the hills.

View from Jiufen

Like a sign at the edge of the world.



We took a lot of snaps around here, then decided to go and have a look around the small street with all the tourist shops inside.  This was so small and crowded but it was fun to see.  The whole atmosphere of the place was of a tourist destination.  The alleys were all small and you could buy small gifts and nick knacks to take back wherever back was if you wanted to.

Entrance to shopping alleys at Jiufen.


I managed to get a picture of the woman who always dresses up selling sausages.  I have seen her in a lot of peoples photos so I wanted to get a photo of my own.  She posed for the shot too.  Jen told me she is always dressed up, every time she has been there she has been there she has been dressed up in some kind of costume.

Sausage woman.


When we were wondering around the streets I bought some pigs blood rice, its damn nice like black pudding but I didn't think the ones that I bought in Jiufen were so special.  However Jen thought they were really nice. For me they were just OK.

We wondered down the street looking in a lot of the shops and just generally walk around, it was such a great place just to walk around and spend time looking in the shops and soaking up the atmosphere.

Outside the mask house.


On the way up the hill, I saw this place with loads of masks on the wall and it looked really interesting but we just walked past to see what was at the top of the hill at first.  When we got to the top it was only a high school so on the way back down we stopped at the mask place.  It was 30NT dollars to get inside which was like 60pence each.  So I insisted on going inside.  It was my birthday after all.

The mask man.


When inside all these masks had been made by 1 guy.  He told me that he had made over 200 masks, and he makes them because he can see ghosts.  Then he decided the best way to show people what to do was to make these clay masks. he was telling me that some he seen had committed suicide, some spoke too much and bit their own tongue to kill their self.  Some had loads of cuts, some had 2 faces, etc etc.  He even had 2 that were very unique 1, was a head made from cock and balls, and other was a head made from boobs.  He told me he used to be a chef, but he went to a funeral and the ghosts came to him so he stopped being a chef and started making all these masks, it was kind of creepy but throughly interesting because he had a story about every one of the masks on his wall.

Masks of ghosts.



From here we went looking for the famous street in Jiufen where you can see all the way down the steps, its a very picturesque scene and my camera could not do it justice.  Their are loads of post cards in Taiwan with pictures that have been taken from that point of view and it was amazing seeing all the people going up and down the steps.  There were a lot of tea houses down there with great views of Taipei, and the northern coastline.

Famous Street






After this we decided to take some more photos of the scenery before we left.  Then we walked to the bus stop taking the scenic route, in fact every route there is a scenic route.  We stood and waited for the bus and managed to take the bus all the way back to Taipei City.  The bus went to Zhongxio Fuxing MRT.

My gold stash!


I was back home in time to watch Newcastle lose to Man City happy days.