Sand, Water, Sun......

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
1
8
52
Trip End Sep 01, 2011


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Where I stayed
Astar Hotel, Taipei City

Flag of Taiwan  , Taiwan,
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another weekend on the North end of the Island proved to be another interesting one!
Due to the holiday, The Moon Festival, we were unable to get a Friday night train ticket to Taipei. So once again, we left at 7:30am Saturday morning....which meant another awesome breakfast of Spicy Green Onion Cake with Egg!

Shortly after arriving in Taipei, we dropped our bags off at the hotel and went on our way to hunt down a HUGE waterpark!! About nine stops on the MRT and a half hour bus ride later, we reached our sought after beach!! ...well, the closest thing to a real beach that we have come across thus far! The waterpark was HUGE!! It is called Formosa Fun Park...and the name was perfect. Water slides that wouldn't even be allowed in Canada due to the crazy twists (over 200meters of non-stop twisty tunnels)....tube rides that were unheard of! It was great! The sun was out, there was some sand near the "wave" pool....but mainly for beach volleyball. This park had a separate pool that had an obstacle course that you could try to get across without falling in the water....tons of food....a lazy river that had about three choices for turns and went through the entire park...took about half hour to go through!!! Did I say Fantastic already??...because that's exactly what it was!!!....oh...did I mention the palm trees and the view of the ocean??!!! Back to the "wave" pool...lol...the waves have nothing on West Ed! The Taiwan waves were rather small, more like ripples....and they came while some weird carnival music played...lol. There was a Chinese game show there on the same day that we were there, so if you happen to be watching a random game show in water, and see some wacky Canadians in the background...it was probably us! It was interesting to see the game show being taped and to see the contestants playing....looked like fun...just as crazy as you see on t.v.!! haha.

We were standing in line to get food when we saw the order in front of us.....hot dogs with lettuce, etc, on the buns...mmmm....I know how to say hotdog in Chinese, so we decided to order a couple. So...along with pointing at the other guys order, and saying two hot dogs in Chinese, we thought we had lucked out...I should've known that that was too easy to order!!! About 3 seconds later, they are calling us to grab our order....huh??....but....we....what??.....DOH! Our hotdogs were literally weiners on sticks!!! We looked at each other, looked at the girl, then looked back at the other guys hot dogs with buns....laughed, and grabbed our weiners on sticks and went to enjoy our lunch...lol. I'm still not sure how you order a hot dog with a bun and toppings on it!!! I'm guessing I need to order a hotdog sandwich....I'll try that next time...lol.

After a few hours of waterpark and sun, we decided to head back to the hotel to check in. Now, this is a first....usually it's the "other half" that loses things...lol....but I lost my Easy Card!! An easy card is a swipe card that you can use for the MRT, the city buses, to pay for items at some stores...it's exactly as it's name says...an "easy card"...you just preload it.....which is exactly what we had done that morning....added about $45cad onto our cards. So...we need our cards for the bus back....and I've lost mine...sigh....$40 gone! $40 could be a week worth of food for both of us! Oh well....lol.

So, we get on the bus to head back, and no sooner than 5 minutes after sitting down, we both fall asleep....with no idea when our stop will come, since we were taking a different bus back! I woke up to a bouncy jolt to find Jay waking up at the same time...we looked at each other, looked around...and wondered.....uh oh....did we miss our stop??? 30 seconds of worry, and confirmation was received! We didn't miss our stop...we were just arriving! Talk about lucky!...but that's not where our luck ended for the weekend.....there's more to come!

Surprisingly, we woke up in time for breakfast! Sleeping in rooms with no windows is tricky! haha. Breakfast was included in our room rate (about $50cad), but they failed to mention the part that you have to walk two blocks to where the cafe is!..haha....good thing we were up early and not 5 minutes before breakfast ended!

We spent the day in the Ximen district....a pedestrian shopping area that never ends! We were looking for a historical building (The Red House) as it often has performances, etc. Not sure how we couldn't find it....but it took us a couple hours before we finally stumbled across it! There was nothing happening...lol. However, in the Ximen district, they were having an Arts show, so there were many booths with artists displaying their work and many musicians playing live music.

We hit up a 3D movie to escape the heat of the day....in Taiwan, you have assigned seating for the theater, so we picked seats that looked to be in the middle....thinking that would be perfect! So, after purchasing our "sweet" popcorns (one of my favorite things here!!...) we went to find our seats....umm....the roof was so low that Jay could probably have touched it by reaching his hands up, and the screen was so small that the 3D effect wouldn't have much of an effect where we were sitting!...haha. We couldn't understand why everyone was sitting in the middle or back of the theatre! So, right before the show started, we moved out of our assigned seats and went to the second row....you didn't have to strain your neck or look up to see the screen (it was pretty small) so the seats were perfect! The show, Resident Evil IV (Jay's pick), wasn't as good as the seats...lol.

Ximen pedestrian district has many streets which are specific to certain items, for example, cinema street has all the cinemas, watch street, cell phone street, tattoo street, etc. It was really interesting and we ended up walking around until almost 11pm! Many street vendors came out with their carts of food in the evening....just as we were ordering food, I just paid, and was reaching for the spicy sauce to add to my dumplings when suddenly there was a lot of shouting and the guy sped away pushing the cart!!! But...what about my sauces???!!!! We turned around to see a cop coming on the scooter....all the street vendors take off in a matter of seconds to try to escape the cops.....we're guessing because they are illegal and don't have licences....but they were the best dumplings I've eaten! haha. This occurred several times throughout the evening. The police didn't catch anyone (even though they could've if they wanted to). It was like a childish game of cat and mouse...lol. Cops come, people shout, vendors dissappear, cops leave, vendors return....lol. Some of them would only go around the corner and wait for the cop to leave. Jay discovered green onion cake with bacon in it....and Sea Salt coffee. They put Sea Salt in the foam on the coffee! It's actually pretty tasty!

It was an early morning on Monday, making it to breakfast for the second time in a row! We had to make it to the train station, try to buy a train ticket to get back home by 1:00pm....it's a two and a half hour train ride. We arrived at the station at 9:41, booked a ticket for 9:55, ran to the right platform, and still had about 10 minutes to spare! I looked at my ticket, and it took me a minute, but I soon realized.....we just bought train tickets for a two and a half hour train ride....and we are "standing room only"!!!! Standing room only??? Oh...that's probably what that Chinese message on the ticket machine meant!...lol. So, we're still waiting for our train when a worker started announcing something. I couldn't understand, so I thought I'd show him my ticket.....he read the ticket, his eyes expanded to the size of golf balls, and he exclaimed...while pointing, I might add...."HUALIEN??!!" Go Go Go!!....I look to where he is pointing, and see a train that had stopped about a block down the other side of the platform!!!! I take off running.....forgetting to translate to my poor husband....luckily he got the drift and took off after me.....half way there, the whistle blows for the train to start going.....Jay just hopped on, about a millisecond before the train started moving!!!! Phew...talk about close! So here we are....just about missed our train, standing in the connection part between cars (where it specifically says, in English and Chinese, "Do not sit or stand in this section"), with about 5 other people, no air conditioning, taking pictures of ourselves, and wondering how we will manage with standing with our backpacks for two and a half hours....lol.

We moved into the washroom area of the cart....because it had air conditioning....played the "Say Hello to the Foreigner" game with a two year old for about 20 minutes....then finally the conductor came to check our tickets. I asked him if there were any seats available, and he advised us to look in car 3 or 4 as there were some empty ones. If we see an empy one, we can sit there! So...of course, when he told me this (in Chinese) there were about 3 other people without seats that heard...so the race was on!! Good thing I was in the lead! haha. We managed to find a couple seats, not together, but only two rows apart! We were just happy to have a seat!! I sat beside a wise old man (70 years old) who could speak some English. For the whole ride, we talked non-stop....between his English, and my Chinese, we managed to have some very interesting conversations...sharing info about our countries, our lives, and our cultures. Jay's partner couldn't speak English, so they had a short Chinese convo, then each of them took a short nap.

We arrived home just in time to grab our school books and get to class (10 minutes late)...Jay had a big test to write! Another weekend of adventure and fun!
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