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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Beitou, and Danshui.

So me and Stephen had intended to wake up early, and spend the day at Beitou in the morning, and then Danshui in the afternoon/evening.


We started the day with a very normal intake of Dan bing for breakfast.  (Dan bing is kind of like an egg pancake, and you get all kinds of different fillings in them.  My favourite is bacon and cheese.)


After our relatively early start, and our breakfast we then proceeded to take the MRT to Beitou for the hot springs.  When we arrived there the weather was scorching hot.  It does not matter however, the hot springs are great in whatever weather.  Even though the locals disagree, and think it is too hot for them.  


The hot springs in Beitou get their heat from the active volcano in Yangmingshan mountain, and when you enter the water in the hot springs you can smell the sulphur.  They have 3 different hot pools and 2 cold ones. The one highest up being the hottest, as the hot spring water runs down the mountain, you see it falling into the hot springs.  


We decided to start from the bottom and work our way up to the hottest one.  The one at the bottom was lukewarm I would say and very very pleasant indeed.  The one in the middle was a little bit hotter, and maybe too hot for some people.  The one at the top was very hot, and you made that ahhh sound when you got into the water.  Once you were inside however, you really felt comfortable for a while.


When we got in the first one, 2 guys started talking to us, asking the usual questions like where are you from?, what are you doing in Taiwan?, how long have you been here for?  One guy then told us the correct procedure for the hot springs was to go into the hot spring, then go into the cold water after it, and keep switching.  Eventually it got to the point where I was sat in the cold water, thinking how pleasant the climate and the weather is back home, yes it rains, and yes it is sometimes cold, but it is not consistently hot and sticky for the majority of the year, and when you go out you are not always drowning in your own sweat!


I kept telling people in the hot springs, "hey man this is my natural climate, I am not made for the temperature here!"


Then I went off to the toilet, and when I came back the gay guy who was talking to us was trying to chat up Steve.  He was completely leering at him, trying to gaze into his eyes.  I was in two minds weather to leave him with the gay boy, or help him out.  Which got me thinking, maybe he thought we were a gay couple.  We did go to the hot springs together, maybe he got the wrong idea and thought Steve was fair game ha!  In the end I did decide to rescue him and said he Steve get in the cold!  It didn't take me twice to tell him to move, and when he got in the cold, I told him "I see you have pulled!"  HA!


When we got into the very hot one, all the people in there were looking at us like we were crazy.  I was wondering what the hell they were staying at, their faces looked like we had got into the hot spring, took a shit and walked back out.  One old woman decided to come over and tell us what the problem was, maybe it was my mean face that made her do it! ha!  So over she came and proceeded to ask "do you want a baby?"  To which I told her, "maybe some point in the future yeah....."  Then she told me, "are you married?"  At this point I thought eh this is odd.  Then she told me the reason.....she blurted out, "this pool is for if you want to have a baby"  I thought gee wonderful, its baby time rock on.  I didn't stay in there for long anyway, one it was boiling hot, and two I was chaffed to bits and the heat didn't help.


View from Beitou MRT
The hot springs in Beitou are totally awesome, and it only costs 40NT dollars I think to go into the public one, which works out at around 80p.


After the hot springs we headed up to the Thermal Valley.  I knew it was not really so far from the hot springs, only problem was the road split and I had to make sure that I got the correct road.  Well if you didn't guess, I didn't get the correct road, I took the wrong one.  We wondered for about five or 10 minutes, and I told Steve, hey I think I have took the wrong road lets head back.


At this point some guy asked me where I was going, I couldn't remember the name of the Thermal Valley, I don't even know what I called it now, I don't remember but I did not tell him Thermal Valley, and he had his Iphone out and everything checking google map, for some random place that I had just made up.  Nevermind.  I told him I know where it is, blah blah, I have just taken the wrong road.  


When we found it and went inside, bloody hell it was awesome.  I have never seen anything like that back home, or any of the places I have been to in Europe.  The heat, and the steam coming from the water was immense.  Safe to say, they didn't need signs up saying hot water to stop me from going in there!  Even standing beside the water looking at it, the steam was burning my eyes and face, it was really that hot!  The smell, the smell was overpowering.  You could smell the sulphur coming from the water and the steam, and thats what was burning your eyes, and face and making you realise you could not stand there for long, we did however try to dry our towels and swim shorts and we tried to take a couple of pictures.  I found it hard to keep my eyes open because of the sulphur, and the immense hot steam!


Me and Steve at the Thermal Valley.


Thermal Valley.

From here we went back to the MRT and took it to Danshui.  When I have mentioned Danshui to Taiwanese collegues and friends they all ask me why I like it there, and they all say it is very boring.  I just think it is a pleasant part of Taiwan, and it is nice to be by the water watching the boats.  We also had a kind of informal appointment with Pallas's mam.  I told Pallas I was going to Danshui, and she told me that I should go to her mothers restaurant, so I said yeah why not.  So she asked me roughly what time would I get there for.


When we got off the MRT, they seemed to be some kind of parade going on through the street, and I didn't know what it was for but they have these things a lot in Taiwan, and when I see them I always take a wonder over and check them out, because they always interest me, even though I have seen a lot of them already.


There was all different kinds of people, performing different kind of acts walking through the street, some people had big weird looking theatre heads on while dancing, others looked a little mean, some were throwing people in the air and catching them, others were just driving floats with stuff sat on the back.  The people who really caught my eye though were people I have never seen on any of these parades before.  They were just walking down the street, and then when the parade stopped for whatever reason, their party piece was bashing them self in the head, with a big spiked club or a metal bar.  That was it, just bashing their self in the head until they bled.  It didn't seem like something I would advice other people to do, but I stood really close watching these maniacs do they stuff, like a small child looking at big jars of sweets!  I was thoroughly intrigued as to why anyone would want to bash their own head in with a spiked club.  It was beyond me!  (I later found out, they believe they have god inside them or something and cannot be harmed)









We watched the parade for a little while, and then we  headed towards the water front in Danshui.  It was pretty full because of the parade I guess.  We went looking for Pallas's mams restaurant, but we couldn't find it at all.  When we asked people in the street they had never heard of the place.  We were looking, and looking and looking, to the point where Steve decided he had to eat!  I said he should try the fishballs there because they are famous.  We went to the place were Jen took me too, but I didn't realise that the set meal come with meat, I thought they were just noodles, so I ended up forcing the noodles down me, didn't want them to go to waste.  Then Steve decided he was still hungry, and he bought a big BBQ squid on a stick, which looked pretty rank to me but I hate sea food so my opinion is a bit biased there.  Steve said it was awesome however.

Steve's food
I was still determined to find Pallas's mams restaurant, because I said I would go. Then some woman who we had asked where it was came and found us in the street and told us that she had found it, and she will show us where it is.  When we found it, I felt a bit stupid, I am pretty certain we must have walked past it about 3 or 4 times!  Then we sat and spoke with Pallas's mam, who proceeded to tell me my Chinese was still shit, compared to her students she gets on the rotary exchange, I tried to explain that our situations are quite different, to which I don't think she gave a shit, and proceeded to tell me I need to get better blah blah blah.  


I ordered some food, I actually don't remember exactly what I had now but it was nice.  It was one of their Curries.  Then Pallas's mam brought us out loads of fruit too, we stayed and chatted for a while but eventually we had to make haste.  They didn't let us pay for what we ate, which was really nice of Palls's mam.


We then headed to take the boat to the wharf.  I like it at the wharf, it is very pleasant there.  I like to watch the sun set there, it is very beautiful.  That sounds a big like I am batting for the other team the way I say that, but it just really chilled out and mellow there.  The sun going down really sets the mood.


Waiting for the boat
The boat ride on the way to the wharf was really rocky and choppy, I loved it.  Last time I went on the boat here it was nothing like that at all.  Was great, a lot of people seemed scared.  I guess it is their unnatural fear of water which makes them scared here.  I like it when the boat is like that though, it feels like a proper journey.



View from the boat.
We managed to make a few friends on the boat, at least I thought so.  We spoke to a young girl travelling from Malaysia she told us that she was a belly dancer, and here with her tour group but decided to stay for an extra couple of days.  When we both added her to facebook it seems she only accepted Steve and not me, I guess I must of not made such a great impression on her, maybe my views on religion were taken the wrong way.  Anyway, she only accepted Steve, so we can safely say she is a cunt! 

Malaysian, belly dancer.
I also met a group of people from Singapore, who were here on there holiday.  They told me they liked it here, and that a lot of people come here from Singapore for the food.  They seemed quite nice, and said they'd add me to facebook too, but I guess they never got around to it. 

People on holiday from Singapore
We stayed on the wharf for a while, walked around the little harbour and bridge, and then we headed back.  When we got back into the boat, Steve and I got cut off from each other, he had to wait for the next boat, while I rocked on to the other side.  I sat at the ticket office and waited for them, chatting to the 2 guys who sold me my ticket.




Fishermans Wharf, Danshui.
So I manned it out and waited there for Steve.  Then when he arrived we headed back home, after a nice day out, even though I was proper chaffed to death.


Sorry it has taken me so long to update my blog, but I have been without internet for a long time now, and have been very busy.  Also I could not take pictures inside the hot spring.