Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a saturday with erica!!!

After telling everyone they should visit me in Taiwan and having no one take me up on my offer of a free place to stay. Someone finally did and this time not someone related to me! I was expecting Erica to be here on the 12th so when she arrived on the night of the 11th I wasn't prepared at all. Good thing I had just cleaned my apartment in anticipation for her arrival. Erica and I both got the dates wrong, what we thought was Jan. 12th was in fact Jan. 11, 2012. Since she arrived in the middle of the week, I still had to work so Erica amused herself by walking around my neighborhood, avoiding dog shit and cars the whole time, and stuffing her face with huge amounts of food. On Saturday I took her to Neiwan because so far it has been the best place I've found for good market food. Finally got to ride the Neiwan line, which is one of the only three remaining branch lines in Taiwan, and it took around 50 minutes from Zhuzhong station to Neiwan. The views from the Neiwan line aren't picturesque so feel free to take a little nap. Erica and I spent our train ride amusing ourselves with the girl we dubbed "puffin." She had a crazy perm or something going on and she looked like a cute little puffin who carried its nest (her hair) on her head. Lol. Train tickets cost less than $30 NT for a one way ticket and if you purchase a round-trip ticket you get a $1 NT discount and will cost $59 NT.
neiwan line
I had spent the whole train ride preparing Erica for the crowds in Neiwan but when we got there it was super empty. I didn't know until later that that Saturday was the day of the presidential election in Taiwan. This probably explained the lack of people in Neiwan. I pretty much just introduced Erica to my favorites from my last visit to Neiwan which were mentioned here. I was saddened that the young mango stall, which I was most excited about, wasn't open. Another stall that I bought from had young mangos that were all sour and no sweet. Since then I've bought young mangos from other areas and all of them have turned out sour without a hint of sweetness. I wonder if their season is over and hence worst tasting. Young mangos are super expensive, $50-$100 NT for a very small bagful. Did have a chance to try pink guava which is what is usually shown on guava drinks and it was very sweet and refreshing.
pink guava
Crossed the suspension bridge again and this time had a closer look at the little kiddie carnival rides. Contrary to electric powered rides, the ones in this park were human powered...

A man literally just pushed the boat back and forth while the kids were on there screaming with glee. Sucks to be the man who has that job. Next to the bathroom at the parking lot, there is an archway that leads to the Hengshan Caifeng Exhibition Hall which is a miniature museum of sorts.

This mini museum doesn't contain really old stuff but rather items from our grandparents generation.

The sad thing is I recognize some of these tins and have even eaten some of them... The same thing for the display of old telephones. Does anyone recognize the old rotary dial telephones where you placed your finger in one of the number holes and spin the dial until it stopped and then repeat until you finished dialing the whole phone number?? Future generations are gonna think we were ancient! Rode the train back to to Zhuzhong and then caught the 1 bus line to downtown Hsinchu where I played the role of tour guide, showing Erica the East Gate, the City God Temple and its surrounding market. At the East Gate roundabout there is a women who sells popcorn and ice cream on the street and she always has a mini line for the popcorn. I've been on a popcorn phase and with Erica giving me courage I decided to wait in line for some. A bag of popcorn cost around $25 NT, can't be sure since it was awhile back. It seems as if Taiwanese people favor sweet popcorn over buttery since all the popcorn I've eaten here besides the microwavable kind have been sweet.

At the City God Temple market I introduced Erica to one of the well known foods of Hsinchu, rice noodle. 

Erica bought some rice noodles to go which came with a sauce and cost around $40 NT. The noodles were delicious and at such a good price. Stopped by Yes! Tea, another drink chain store, and tried something besides pearl milk tea. I chose the Oreo Milk Tea with pearls, basically milk tea with Oreo bits mixed in, I recommend trying it.

Discovered a hall in the City God Temple that I didn't see the first few times I went there. I actually recognize the statue on this altar. I guess the main hall is dedicated to Taoism while the side halls are dedicated to Buddhism.

After checking out the City God Temple, it was time for the Zhudong night market. Again I was saying how crowded the night market was but when we got there it was super empty. It had started raining lightly and a lot of the stall vendors were closing up shop because of it.

Was still able to get some food although it was slim pickings.

chicken samosa
We ordered the beef and chicken samosas, the chicken was better. Ran into one of my students whose parents owned a food stall. They insisted on giving me some food for free while I insisted on paying for it, I lost that battle.

fried popcorn pig
The pork was pretty good but there was still bone included which was off putting. Actually ran into several students while I was with Erica. None of them ran away from me like they said they would but actually acknowledged me first so that was pretty awesome. Grabbed a gravy steak on noodles with rice. Delicious as usual.

1 comment:

  1. never heard there is a museum in where I live.
    how did you find it??how amazing...