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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day at Fulong Beach.

It was another Wednesday, and another day off.  I was meeting up with Anders again as we do every week now, so we had originally just decided to stay at my home, watch some movies in the karaoke room and just chill out around here.  We mainly decided this because the weather had not been nice lately in Taipei.  Then when Anders give me a call he told it is really bloody hot outside and we should go to the beach.  I have wanted to see a beach in Taiwan for ages so I said yeah thats cool and proceeded to get my lazy arse out of bed and get dressed.  

When he came around I was still trying to get my team on football manager their first win on the big screen.  Ever since I have started playing footy manager on the big screen they have shit their pants, but thats a different story altogether.  

Anders knocked on my door, and then we quickly re looked up which way we had to go to get to Fulong Beach.  We found the way, said all we had to do was go to Taipei Station, and take either the express train or the local train to Fulong, and the beach was pretty much right where you get off the train.  I had to make a quick detour to Wellcome to buy some more batteries for the camera and then we could head off.

When we left the building I decided to quickly take out the rubbish, and when we went downstairs to the rubbish disposal area.  (I would normally say wheelie bins, but it's nothing of the sort.) Anders saw some sub woofers and decided I should take them.  I thought it was a good idea, so we picked up the sub woofers and took them back to my apartment to check if they worked.  They did, so now I have 2 sub woofers with nothing for them to plug into.  I have never seen any man get so excited by electrical equipment as Anders does mind you.  Anyway the good thing is, I have 2 new sub woofers so when I do buy something to plug them into I will be able to create a mighty sound!

Then I picked up some dan bing with good old cheese and bacon.  Which is a complete classic combination thats labelled win-win!  Then we went and took the bus to Taipei Main Station.  Then when we walked all the way to the entrance for the train we found out we could not use our easy cards to get out at Fulong Station and needed a ticket.  This meant that we had to go back upstairs to buy a ticket because we couldn't work the machine as all the instructions were in Chinese.  We gave it a try but it was to no avail.  So off we went to the ticket office and when we tried to find out what time the next train was, the woman told us it would be 80 minutes.  We didn't know if she thought we asked how long it takes to get there, or what time it will come though, so we decided it would be best if we went downstairs and just waited it out like men.

We tried to speak to a guy working in the station on the platform what time the train would come and if we were on the correct side.  We were asking again because trains here come all the time so we were a little confused why we had to wait for 80 minutes, we just thought it doesn't make any sense at all.  We were also on the Keelung line and we didn't have a clue if the Keelung line is what we needed.  The Keelung trains kept coming past all the time, but there was no train to Fulong for 80 minutes.

While we were sat there we blabbered away like a couple of old ladies.  I think Anders started feeling the time to drag though because he kept asking me, what time is it now.  Especially when it got round to 2.30.  When the train arrived I got kind of excited about seeing the beach.  I didn't know whether it would be like the rest of the places in Taiwan I have seen which seem very commercialised or if it would be more natural and scenic.  

The time on the train was a bit funny actually, for a certain length of time it was like any other train journey, but then when Anders went for a piss the train stopped.  I don't remember which stop it was but loads of people got on.  I tried to save Anders seat with his bottle of water, but some old woman went in for the kill and decided she was having that seat bottle or not!  I had to whip my hand in there fast and take the bottle, or Anders would of had to drink his water from some old womans arse crack.  At the other side, there was a group of girls/ladies who seemed like they were not Taiwanese.  Me and Anders were trying to guess where they were from for ages by listening to them speaking and trying to hear the language.  "In the end I just asked them, are you speaking Chinese?"  "They said no, were speaking Indonesian."  Which then set of thoughts in my head, and me and Anders ended up discussing whether we think they are foreign brides or cheap labour.  Either way pretty shitty life for whichever one you are if you ask me.

Eventually we made my instant feeling was this place feels really traditional and scenic.  The air felt so fresh too, stepping out the station everything about that place felt fresh and natural.  It looked really small, but it was so nice there, we were hungry though.  I thought this being Taiwan we will be able to get some food on the beach.  Anders disagreed and thought it would be best if we bought something before we hit the beach just in case there was nothing there.  We ended up going to this sausage stand, and bought this sausage thing.  It was a normal sausage, with a rice sausage made to be its bun.  It was mega amazing, and I thought my god that is one of the best sausages I have ever had in Taiwan and what a great idea to have a sausage sandwich with the bun being sausage.  

When the lady was cooking our sausages, I seen that peanut brittle like stuff they have here.  I also seen the ice cream, and I knew it could only mean one thing.  She also made the pancake, peanut, ice cream stuff.  I asked Anders if he had tried before because it is really nice.  He said he had not tried it, so we got some of that too.  

Her food was amazing, that seems to be the thing with Taiwan, the food is either amazing or shit.  No matter if you buy the same kind of food from a different seller it all matters how they cook it.  This one at Fulong though was amazing, and I would recommend her stand to anyone else who goes there.  Her stand is straight opposite the street from the train station.

Her kids were out back eating their dinner when we turned up, and the young lad got utterly excited to see us there, so I tried to speak to him in Chinese and he found it so amazingly hilarious that he just laughed loads every time I spoke to him.  He even got to one point where he fell from his seat laughing and his sister was saying loads of stuff to him in Chinese that I didn't understand.  Then I think he thought I could speak Chinese really well, and he just ended up shouting something at me with his mouth full of his dinner.  He can be forgiven though because I think he only looked about 6 or something like that.

Then we spent a bit of time eating, Anders has some thing where he can't walk and eat.  Its ok though, since I have been standing and eating with him.  Instead of walking along munching my food like its going to run away from me I have really been able to appreciate the taste more.  It seems a lot more pleasant to stand and eat, instead of walk.

When we finished our food we went in search of how to get down to the beach.  We could see the beach was just down the road so we walked down it.  This seemed a pretty logical thing to do.  When we got to the end of the road, however it was a dead end.  We decided to have a quick look around, but it seemed there was no way through so we had to backtrack.  We seen a sign for 'beach park' and decided that must be the way through.  So we headed off that way.  We ended up walking through something that was either a gated community or a hotel complex.  At this point some little girl nearly ran me over on a push bike, I had to move out the way quite sharply.  

When we got down to the beach we realised we were kind of cut off from the main part of the beach by some kind of waterway that was leading to the sea.  Over to our other side though was what looked like an awesome temple from the distance, and also something that looked like it could of been something like a pier area.  We decided then that it would be better to walk over that way while there was still quite a bit of light left in the day, due to the fact both of our cameras can't really handle evening pictures anymore.  I still really like looking inside the temples as well, especially the ones that look awesome from the outside.  I was a bit concerned of it looking awesome though, because the one I seen when we were at the Maokong looked awesome too, but when I looked inside it was shit.  So I was hoping that this one was not like the one on top of the Maokong.  


Fulong Beach.
We walked up to it first, and from outside it looked really impressive.  Was a good size, and decorated really nicely.  We took some pictures from the outside and took some pictures of the beach.  I swear to god, there was no people on the beach at all.  We seemed to be the only people there, it was a little bit like a small ghost town with the last few remaining survivors heading to the beach to see if they can survive.  Anyway thats not how it really is, and I think people must not be so interested in the beach when it is only slightly warm to them.  As well it was only Wednesday afternoon.  At the same time it felt great to have most of the beach and surrounding area to your self.  Especially with living in Taipei where there are people everywhere you go.  No matter what time of day there are people everywhere so to be somewhere only 1 hour away from Taipei City and to have that much space, fresh air, and beach to your self felt absolutely amazing.

Outside the Temple
We then went in search of the pier, or whatever it was the road led to.  We just ended up walking about the part of the beach where it seemed that they had all the fishing boats.  I swear to god honestly the smell of fish man, it totally stinks.  I know fish does stink.  Everyone knows that!  When your there though, where the fishing boats you still can't help saying, bloody hell fish stink don't they.  That is my only remaining memory of that part of the beach.  The complete stink of the beach.  Anders did mention he thought some of the people in the boats were mafia.  I was not so sure though, I mean what the hell would mafia be doing in a fishing boat, surely they should be out cutting off ears and doing Mafia things.



The fishing boat area.


Looking for a pier.
We then realised there was nothing else to see there.  So we headed back towards the temple, and I decided I wanted to have a look inside.  I am glad I did look inside because it was decorated very impressively.  I love the detail that goes into temples here, compared to churches back home.  I mean we have stained glass windows which still look dull and shitty, but here they seem to have different kind of patterns in the roofs, and all different Buddhas.  They also seem to have hand crafted a lot of the temple too.  The designs of them are marvelous and I never get tired of looking in them, because I find them fascinating. I am not keen on religion but the temples man, there great buildings and I love them.  

I spent a good while inside the temple, taking pictures and looking around.  This temple had 2 floors and you could access both of them.  The floor upstairs didn't let you go all the way outside though which was disappointing.  They only let you head out a certain amount and then they had it fenced off.  Maybe it was not safe, or maybe they just wanted to keep it intact from mongs like me ruining it.  All the same it was such a nice temple, I just wish we had more time to go to the one on the mountain side.





Pictures from inside the temple.
When we came out of the temple, we decided to try and walk across to the main beach through the water that cut us off from the other side.  The problem was we didn't know how deep it was.  We could only see so far ahead with our eyes, and I didn't want to fall into the water because I had my camera, phone, and wallet on me.  That would of been a disaster if we were walking along and then all of a sudden we were in the sea getting taken away in the current.  We went so far and then it started getting deeper and the current was intense.  So we walked back to where we had came from, I felt like some kind of middle age explorer what I have read about in books.  I know it is a different extreme but we can all imagine what it would of been like being an explorer.  

I then came up with the idea that I really wanted to know how deep it was, so I told Anders I was going over in my boxer shorts.  So I got my kit off, down to my boxers and then started to walk across the water, it only went up to my belly but the current was so strong.  It was amazing how fast the water was flying out into the sea, I had to forcibly keep pushing my legs towards the water coming towards me to make sure I stayed standing up, and the sane kept sinking beneath me.  I thought we could make it across with our stuff but Anders was willing to get his boxers dirty ha!



Me and Anders making our way through the water.
We then walked further up, and walked through a much shallower but rockier part of the water.  Anders was wondering if it was every bodies piss or whatever but that we will never know.  We got through but it was so rocky, I kept walking while saying, ah ah ah. 

As we were getting closer to the beach we could see these weird shape boxes getting bigger and bigger as we got closer and closer.  One of the big boxes had a bloody American flag stuck in it.  We did not like that I must say.  All that way and an American flag, surely Americans like to plonk down a maccy dee's and a Starbucks these days not flags.  When we got close enough we could see what the big rectangle blocks were, it turns out they were building big sand sculptors.  I have always wondered how they manage to keep the sand up in those things but now I know, they have it supported underneath.

Man fishing and a random boat.
Fulong Beach and the weird blocks on the beach.

We didn't stay long on the beach, just had a quick look around, and then we headed back towards the station.  I was a little hungry so I got another one of them awesome sausages.  I thought I might as well seeing as I might not be back here for a while.  The woman kept trying to sell us other things.  I normally hate it when people do that but I can tolerate it more in small towns like that where they must not get much business compared to big cities.

When we were heading to our train station, their was some little old woman, really struggling to get down the stairs with a lady to help her.  I decided to give them a hand and help her down the stairs, I think any normal person would help.  They seemed ok, they were Americans and just wanted to know which way to go, I can understand why she wanted to know which way to go, because the old woman looked exhausted bless her.

With a stroke of luck to, the train that arrived to take us back home was the express train meaning we would get back to Taipei City much quicker than we would on the local train.  When we got back to the station we had some confusion again because when we went to buzz through the ticket sensor it went mental.  Then we had to go over to the booth, and see what the problem was.  The guy wrote down some number we had to pay again and I thought he wrote we had to pay another 300NT dollars.  I thought i'm not having that we have already paid.  

Turns out the problem was that we took the local train there, and the express back and had to make up the difference of 16NT dollars.  Which is something like 30 pence.

Then when I got back to xiemen there were loads of girls dressed up like zombies walking around making it feel a little bit cool and creepy at the same time, so I got a few pictures of that, headed to subway bought a sub of the day and went home after having an exciting day, and a full belly.

Zombies in Xiemen.
No doubt there will be another new adventure next Wednesday.

On a quick side note, I always seem to think you could make loads of money in places like Fulong Beach here in Taiwan.  At the same time, I think thats part of the attraction that there beauty is left mainly to nature and it hasn't really been tampered with that much outside of the cities.