Sunday, December 12, 2010

Elephant Mountain, Taipei.

So last weekend I finally decided that I should go and look for Elephant Mountain.  The reason I chose Elephant Mountain above all the others was because after doing a lot of research online I found out this was the one that over looks Taipei 101.  When I say overlooks I really should of said looked up too.

I decided to set off at the early hour of 2.30pm ha!  I wondered along and took the bus from Ximen Station to Taipei 101, then I followed my badly drawn directions from the map to where I should be.  Only stopping for a pit stop at OK mart, for water, and snacks.  Then when I went looking for the entrance steps to walk up the mountain I couldn't seem to find them.

There was some old guy heading in my direction after this who looked like he meant business so I decided to ask him where the way up was.  By this time I had found some steps but they didn't look like the ones I had seen online.  So I said to the old guy.....Elephant mountain, pointing up and making loads of trunk actions with my hands.  I even made elephant noises for added effect.  The guy duly nodded that this was the way up to the top of Elephant Mountain.

So up I went, this time I thought I had prepared like never before, I had my snacks, I had my water, and I had music, books, my cameras, and some old guys advice that this was the way!  I just knew I was onto a winner here.

When I started to walk up the mountain it was a complete killer....I was thinking it had better be worth it at the top for all this effort i'm putting into it dragging my lazy fat arse up here!  So i'm trundling up the steps with my ever impressive speed of slow!!!  The old guy was gaining and I didn't really want to be over taken by a old guy who looked about 60, so I stepped up from slow, to a little bit faster.  At the end of the steps I was going up it seemed like I had come to a dead end.  Either I was walking up the wrong steps or I had some serious climbing to do to get to the top.  I dropped my bag with the old guy, and then started to have a scrounge around seeing if I could find a way up through the trees and the mountain side.  

At the wrong part of Elephant Mountain.

As I was looking around I could see a bit further over that there was another stair way up the mountain, and it had a lot more people walking up it!!!  I thought this has to be the one I need!  So I said thanks to the old guy for keeping an eye on my things and pointing me the way to the top of the mountain, and then I headed back down all the steps I came down, to walk about 60 feet a long the road to the correct set of steps I needed.

Now I could tell this time they were the correct steps, they looked like the ones I had seen online and there was a lot more people going up this one so I knew I was onto a winner this time.  So I started dragging my fat arse up a load of steps again, thinking the same things over to myself again.  This better be worth it!  The view better be good!  This is a lot of steps! etc etc.  I guess they are normal thoughts when walking up a mountain really.

As you can imagine I had regular pit stops to take on some water on the way up.  I got rather excited when I was getting closer and closer because I thought I was going to miss the sun set due to my mistake in taking the wrong steps up the mountain.

Eventually I got to the top.  What I can say is, I am so glad I persisted in going to the top, all those steps were totally worth it.  The view was amazing and you could see the whole skyline of Taipei.  It took about 20-25 minutes to walk up all the steps but it is just amazing to really see from that high up, that Taipei 101 still looks absolutely huge.  All the other buildings looked tiny, and Taipei 101 was looking at me saying "ahhhh your on a mountain are you!  Well i've got news for you i'm still bigger than you are!" 

Showing Taipei 101 who is the daddy!!!

I felt small on the mountain when I looked at Taipei 101.  When I looked at the other buildings down below there were 3 huge rocks on the top of the mountain that you can climb up and sit on.  I decided I should climb on top to take my photos.  Was a good idea because the photos from up there were much better, I said there and ate my lunch, read some of my book and then took some photos.  

The view of Taipei from the top of Elephant Mountain.

THEN IT HAPPENED!!!!!  I needed to piss, I was going to lose my rock.  I had to piss however and when nature calls it calls.  So I started the climb down and I could see some American guy just waiting for my rock!!!!  I found a decent enough place to take a leak away from the main path, and when I got back low and behold the American guy and his missus were sat on my rock and they didn't look like they were ever going to leave, I was gutted I thought I would be sat there watching the sunset and now I was down on lower ground so to speak!!!  

I decided the best thing was just to loiter down below, around the rock I wanted and wait for them to leave.  So I waited there for a rock for a good 20 minutes, just waiting and waiting.  I was amazed this couple left about 15 minutes before the sun was about to set.  I couldn't believe my luck with that at all.  

So I climbed back up my rock and sat there to watch the sunset.  Then it began to rain, now I don't go up mountains often but it turns out my previous super planning was not so super after all.  It should just be common sense to anyone that it is colder that high above the ground and that when it rains, it rains a lot up there.  Anyway I manned out the rain on my rock and it was only a shower all be it a heavy one in my shorts and t-shirt getting weird looks from the locals.  I really did not want to lose the rock again.

Another view of the city from the top.

Then the rain stopped which I was glad about, all the locals had umbrellas with them and I can just imagine what they were thinking about the crazy foreign guy manning out the rain in his shorts and t-shirts.  The sun started to set and it was just OK it could of been better but it can't be helped which side of the city the sun goes down on, and it got really cloudy during the day so I couldn't really see it that clearly anyway, then I had to climb down and I had legs like jelly on the way home.

This is why I didn't leave when it was raining, best picture from the day!

I lost my bearings a little bit finding the Taipei city hall mrt station, and loads of girls showed me the right way to the station from work which was nice of them because it is so easy to not get lost but lose your bearings in this city.

When I got back home, the Philly Cheese Steak shop on the corner were still giving away free cheese steaks which was great so I got my food for free that night too when I arrived home.  They were giving away 1000 for free, and I was 967 so there was a happy ending to a good day.

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