Despite much forethought, my quest to make coffee in my room has been plagued by difficulties. So on my way out after breakfast I just caved and got a cup at Starbucks.
The adventure for the day was to meet Liuxia Zhi and Batbean and go to Tamshui. This is the spot on the far north end of the redline where the Tamshui River flows into the sea. It's become a popular tourist destination. From where I live, it's just under an hour on the MRT.
In terms of stories, there is not much to tell. We walked around a lot and looked at stuff. Then we ate some food and got back on the train. But here are some of the sights we saw along the way.
|Fish Ball Museum|
|Fish Identification Blocks|
|Contemplating Guanyin Mountain|
|With George Mackay's Beard|
The major local tourist attraction is Fort San Domingo. It reminded me a little of wandering around in Macau--the non-casino parts. Was that a million years ago? In terms of this blog, not too far back but in my life... a long time ago (posts here and here). Anyway, here are some sights around the fort:
|Fort San Domingo|
|Giles of Wade-Giles|
I think this brazen statue is making eyes at Liuxia Zhi, don't you? He better watch out. She is not to be messed with.
|Statue in the Corner at Fort San Domingo|
|Orange Flowering Tree|
...and this astonishing caterpillar. Dude, this thing was massive and bizarre! In addition to the eye-spots, it had a white rod thing on its tail which it waved lazily. "Look, this is my head! Just kidding!" Wish I could see the butterfly that will result.
|Caterpillar with Eyespots|
|Betel Nut Pig|
|Parrot and Shopkeepers|
|"Binlang" and Red Parrots|
We took the 2 km walk to Fisherman's Wharf, which the guidebook characterizes as "boring." The guidebook is correct, aside from above-mentioned pigs and parrots. There were a few nice views of the water though. Here are some local guys chilling in the shade and drinking beer.
|Local Guys by the Water, Tamshui|
|Plaza at Fisherman's Wharf|
|Row of Shops, Fisherman's Wharf|
|More shops, mostly closed|
Anyway, back down near the train station we discovered what everyone else was here for. All afternoon, a lot of the town felt empty. But that's because basically everyone was gleefully crowded together on a few tiny streets. People know what they like.
|Street in Tamshui|
(* "Hot and noisy" but with a highly positive connotation, meaning, the action and excitement.)
This morning I woke up before 5. This has happened to me before. Maybe it's the sudden stillness that wakes me. A moment later, the room started to shake. My hard double bed swayed like a hammock. I guess many people are used to this, but it was a relatively surprising experience for me. Chicago is so seismically stable. It's great living in a time when you can instantly verify what you think you experienced. The USGS says it was 6. It was a little scary but also kind of cool, that the earth just does that.