Sunday, April 1, 2018

Taiwan Trip For The First Time (Part 2)

Continue from Part 1.

After the floating lantern was released into the air, we kept going a bit further to the train station. We took a train to the Cat Village: Hou-Tong. Our driver left and drove to the station to meet us. The driver was right... It was impossible to take good photos with the train if we went to this station directly. That was why he brought us the terminal station before (See Part 1). With many tourists in the train, it wasn't a fantastic experience. Just like the time people taking train to work in the morning. We wouldn't mind to skip this part of in our trip.

We arrived at Hou-Tong station. The first thing we saw was cat theme stuff. Our driver was already there waiting for us at the exit. But... where were the real cats?

Walking pass a black bridge with red lanterns, we arrived at the cat village. Lots of cats were walking around the village. Many people stopped at a cafe and played with cats.

To the other side of the train station, it became the real Hou-Tong: a mining town. We passed the old coal processing factory and a bridge then we saw the coal mine. With Taiwanese $120, you can take the tour in an antique coal mine train into the mine. Other than regular tour guide introduction, the very crazy thing was he let all of us including kids trying the antique mining machines. Those machines were left by Japanese in the old days.

Before dark, we arrived at Jiufen. Inside Jiufen's hill side, there was no hotel but something like B&B buildings. The owner had 2 buildings and he mixed us up with another group. Therefore, he brought us from buildings to show us rooms. We ended up staying beside the dinning room (shown below). The tidy room had two beds and a bathroom. The humid air made all cotton clothes and bed sheets felt not really dried.

Julfen was the place inspired "Spirited Away". We expected to meet a lot of Japanese and Korean in this town.

In the morning, we walked around the hill. The scene was totally different from the night time. Only a few people were there and air was flesh.

At night, this restaurant would be filled with people. Morning was the best time to see it clearly.

A museum showed up on the google map. This gold museum was very old and looked weird to us. The owner brought us to walk around it and explained every details about the tools and rocks with gold. The most amazing thing was the lamp the miners used. The lamp was powered by some yellow rocks with a piece of wet towel on top. We saw vapor came out of it. The vapor was the fuel of this lamp. Besides lighting, the main purpose of this lamp was testing the oxygen level of the gold mine.

Food. Food. Food. Jiufen had various small restaurants. Prices were a bit higher but reasonable. We thought the taste of most food was a little light, not salty at all.

The "stinky tofu" wasn't Hong Kong style... not "stinky" enough.

No a/c in any of the restaurant...

Stores and restaurants closed after 9:30pm~10pm. The town was totally dead and tourists were mostly gone. That was the best time to take photos.

Night scenes.

Our original plan was having dinner at the restaurant across this (photo above) for seeing the magic moment of Jiufen. BUT... the restaurant was fully booked before 4pm. We guessed the reason was tours from Japan booked most of the tables. Next time, we should book before lunch time.

In Part 3 of Taiwan trip, we went back to the modern city, Taipei.

Raymond & Jessie
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