No Christmas tree?? No santa claus??

Trip Start Nov 24, 2010
Trip End Feb 08, 2011

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Flag of Taiwan  , Taiwan,
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

As you can guess by the title I'm going to talk about what I did on Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing day. If I can sum up what happened in three words it would be SUPER DUPER CRAZY!! - This will probably be one of the most unforgettable Christmas I will ever have (unless something happens in the future that beats its outrageousness).

Before I begin, I must mention that in Taiwan Christmas is not a public holiday, so if it falls on a weekday there will still be work, school and EXAMS/TESTS. I am so glad it falls on a Saturday this year, otherwise I will be sitting in my class sadly blogging about my completely uneventful Christmas. Anyway, on Christmas Eve we went for dinner at this place the teachers recommended - apparently their chicken dish is really good. The problem is a) we had to wait for our friend til 8.30 pm because he had to bus from south of Taipei county, and b) it was pouring like crazy. To top it off, we missed the bus stop so we had to walk for 15 mins to the place UNDER THE RAGING WIND RAIN. We finally made it to the restaurant to find out that they ran out of chicken :( but thankfully their other dishes were still delicious, and they only add up to $170 TWD for four dishes (so that's around $8 per person). Anyway, when we were gonna go home (the restaurant about to close when we came) the owner told us that there is no bus stop close by so they offered to drop us home!!! How cool is that? Taiwan people are definitely one of the nicest people I've ever met ^^

SO. D-Day, the awaited Christmas Day has finally arrived and IT WAS POURING. For the entire day. And by that time our umbrellas were half destroyed from last night's venture (one of my friends bought a $65 TWD umbrella and it snapped in half after one day :P). Our first stop is Jiufen (caught bus from Keelung), which is famous for the old street (Bought some Hakka mochi and special sweets for Brian). AND, while I was there I found out that the korean drama ON AIR was filmed in that exact location!!!!!!! (see and for scenes taken in Jiufen and Hualien and Shilin). I was so surprised and started taking pictures straightaway arghhh. For lunch we had homemade meat and fish balls with pork stuffing yummm.

After than we went to Jinguanshi to see the Gold Ecological Park. The town is famous for its old gold and copper mine, which in the old days used to be one of the biggest gold producers in Asia! Many explorers come to Taiwan (previously called Formosa) in search for gold but failed. In Jinguanshi they said the gold was first found in the sands by a local! Imagine finding gold when you take a stroll on the beach. We also saw a super massive gold bar (see pic) in the gold museum. I wonder why no one has attempted to steal it yet....

Unfortunately we didn't have time to go to the fifth tunnel (one of the gold mine tunnels that's been repaired and restored for tourist viewing) coz Thomas had to go back to Taipei to catch a train to Kaoshiung. We bused back to Keelung in our wet shoes and soaked socks and had dinner at a nice pasta restaurant accompanied by a Christmas toast ^^ Christmas has definitely been different this year!
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