[Taiwan] ~ Hours of Firsts and Goodbye

I’ve been to many beaches but this was first when I am in no swimsuit. I’ve been to many bars but this was first I was tucked in a blanket -02.21-22.16

After braving the chill in YEHLIU GEOPARK, I again hopped on the tour bus on the way to another destination which is the kind of place I consider my sanctuary – the beach.  It was different from most kinds I have been in though because it was on its off-peak season the only people I was with was two kite-flyers and small group of friends who waded in the water for a few minutes then left. After beach is beer again on that spot behind the Red House. It was the usual beer night except another first that I was in a blanket as comfort from the cold.

A day of firsts then followed by my last in the country. But before that was xiao long bao someplace in the city.

But before the bay is walk around a market in Jinshan District

It was more out of curiosity than hunger that I chose a market as a stopover on my way to the beach. As the city initially gave an impression less busy as Taipei, it was a surprise when the market turned out crowded – mainly with locals – which is a good thing because it was a chance for me to feel pulse of the town.

My encounter with the market in Jinshan (also called Old District) was about an hour of walking with the crowd, occasionally taking snaps at food and people food-tripping.

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‘Sup, folks?

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Are those sausages or dumplings?

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Trade

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In action

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I didn’t know then whether these are sausages or tomatoes but when I posted, a friend clarified that these are cherry tomatoes

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Pre-trip read suggested these sweet buns are signature Taipei

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Meat on sticks

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Raw but yum

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In ‘barrels’

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20160221_145025Huge serving in this place. No wonder it’s one of the most visited

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TOFU squares

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Some pancakes?

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Some stalls even have performances like this when they show you how food is made

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Just look at how happy this man is at his work of art

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So what does it mean if a grey cat crosses one’s path?

(But is he/she not adorable?)

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Because I can be “babaw” (shallow) I feel happy when riding a bus

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First time literally chillin’ on the beach

It was around mid-afternoon when I reached my last destination in Northern Taipei. There was nothing much I knew about BAISHA BAY but by it being a beach, I could not let it pass without me seeing it for myself. It was a cold day that I knew I was not going to swim. The original plan is to just people-watch again while with a cold beer.It was a lovely surprise though when there was almost no people to watch and that it was not as obvious where I could get beer.

From the shed where I was dropped of, the first thing I noticed were two people flying a kite from the point where the bus dropped me off.

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Drop-off

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Playing with the wind

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In my opinion, beach itself was not special and it was even dirty in some parts of the shore. But I think what struck me about the place is its quietness but with hints that there are other times when it is not. Of course this remains an impression until I come back when it was another season.(I would have a similar experience visiting a beach in Okinawa but I am yet to write that story next time)

I realized this when after I walked farther towards the left while facing the sea, I learned that most of the establishments were closed. But with attention to detail, I sensed how there was  a time of year when this place is alive as evident in untouched surfboards, floaters, rubber boats – untouched but showing signs of wear from use.

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Tsk. What people sometimes do

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Some rough landscape in here, huh. 

(A post-trip read suggested though that this beach was formed from a volcanic activity. Now this makes more sense)

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Used, not in use

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Colored blocks

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Colored balls

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Colored sticks

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Rules (I really hope they’d add NO LITTERING)

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To remember what sand there was like

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Those kite flyers and new company

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Colorful but sleepy

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They are calling but it was too cold

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Because I take shameless selfies when I am someplace I am fond of

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Group of four (or eight)

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Playing with my camera

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Ride with no rider

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After killing time being lazy on the shore, my search for beer began. Almost all the establishments appeared closed from the outside that I had to peek through the shops. I luckily found one and got my fix of  a bottle. It was around 5PM when I took my cold butt off to catch my bus.

And I ended up missing it. There was a schedule in the brochure but I missed it by about a minute or two (I did not see the destination but I am pretty sure it was the bus I saw speeding away as I was approaching the shed).

I had no choice but to wait then. For about 15 minutes, I tried to be patient just sitting there on the shed but that is not one of my strengths that I ended up walking some more (along that major road of course to make sure bus would not go all ninja on me again).

There was nothing much to see and do so I came back to the shed. Again, there was more waiting. It was a blessing then when a little girl and her parent came to fly kite and I could see them from my seat.  I hated the waiting but at least there was a cute moment to see.

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To capture spot where I was impatiently waiting 😀

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And I was bored I was talking wacky selfies 😀

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Hey there, buddy! Are you as bored as  I am? 

(Spotted this one while walking along the road, killing time)

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While I was staring at that monitor with characters that eluded me, there was this girl

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I didn’t notice when I came down but tada, there are colorful kites on the side of the road

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And it was windy

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…from this side though, not so much###

Back to the city

Fortunately, the bus came before it got dark and I was back in Ximending early evening.

I again went to that area of bars and restaurants near my hostel and tried two different bars again. As it was another cold night, I was distracted while finishing my beer – such distraction / discomfort may have been too obvious that crew came to me offering a blanket. I was like “okay, cool. They do that here”. Another first for that day.

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This kind of underpass in Tamsui

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Back to back of Red House

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First stop was a bar called ALLEY CAT

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Because in the Philippines, we also have SAN MIG LIGHT

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Transferred to another bar because I wanted an outside seat

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But I realized I had to endure the cold. Thank goodness that electric fan was turned off

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Crew may have noticed that he gave me this blanket

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From this side, it looked like morning

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On my way home is this random street art (or probably part of the restaurant’s signage?)

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One for the road at my hostel

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A dilemma in most trips – what to do with coins?

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Hey there, Taiwanese cockroach

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Good goodbye, Taipei

On my last day, the game plan was to check out of my hostel, put my luggage in a locker, go to the Pingxi Festival and come back in time for my early morning flight back home. It was a tight schedule (and will have its unlovely consequences as I will later on write) but I went anyway.

As last hurrah in Taipei though, I went to one of the more famous places for xiao long bao. (This was coming from my first time in Taipei on a business trip when we had lunch at a random place which served this really good steamed bun. Since then, I thought that that may not even be one of the best places but it was already good so why not try the popular ones?)

I could not remember the name of the place (or even whether I tried to know) but it was that type of place frequented by both locals and visitors. Interestingly also, the kitchen is at the entrance which gave potential diners a glimpse first of how the buns are being prepared. I suppose that also is convenient for take-outs. It’s the second floor that is dedicated for dine-in.

So verdict on the food? It did not disappoint as it was like having soup in a bun – definitely a good way to say goodbye.

(And so forgive this ‘joke’) – xiao long bao. so long, goodbye.

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I could always use an English menu

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Soup inside those tiny buns. YUM

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Just the right amount of filling

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Kitchen slash take-out stall

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Whoa. One-legged man illusion

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Like a turtle

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Ooopps. When it obviously just does not fit

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How to get there and other practical details

By North Coast Shuttle Bus from Keelung, one may take the North Coast Shuttle bus NT200 all day unlimited rides from Tamsui and Keelung stations.

The bus stops on the following :

  • Keelung Station
  • Dawulun Tourism Factory
  • Green Bay
  • Guihou Fishing Harbor
  • Yehlui Geoparkyou may check out my Yehliu snaps and story here
  • Jiatouli Hot Springs
  • Shitoushan Park
  • Jinshan / Old Street
  • Juming Museum
  • Yun Garden
  • Shimen Arch / Wedding Plaza
  • Baishawan Beach / Baisha Bay
  • Sanzhi Visitor Center / Gallery
  • Qianshui Bay
  • Tamsui Station

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kristina Correa (or more known to almost all people in her life as Teng) is based on the city of Manila in the Philippines and whenever she can, cools off with routine and gets her doses of happy someplace else. She doesn’t mean to inform and help plan (as obvious with her laziness with details) but hopes her stories and photos can inspire you to create your own.

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