another cliché
travel blog

a poorly kept travel journal

Day 10

We got up, had breakfast at the hotel, then drove around the lake, stopping at a temple and walking up about a kilometer of steps to a huge pagoda.

We scrapped the idea of renting bikes due tot he smog and haze, so instead we grabbed lunch, walked through the markets, then drove back to Hsinchu to drop off the car. After dropping the car, we went to a restaurant one of Wade’s coworkers recommended after scoffing ant Ding Tai Feng. Which, reasonable, since Ding Tai Feng is, as best we can tell, the IHOP of bao. We ordered two round there, so Wade’s coworker wasn’t wrong. Full from dinner, we headed back to the hotel (after a futile search for dessert that ended in shame at a 7-Eleven where Wade got shade from the clerk for purchasing about a half dozen packs of soy braised quail eggs).

Day 9

On Boxing Day, we woke up late, got breakfast across the street, then foot massages down the street. I was sorta worried about it beforehand, in talking with Wade, it sounded like happy endings are fairly common. Walking in, I wasn’t particularly reassured. All of the people working were short skirt-clad young women and all of the clientele middle aged men. However, I was there with Tiff and Amy, and we were in a big common room the whole time, so there wasn’t ever a question.

During the massage, the masseuse working on Amy asked where I was from. Clearly, it had been a topic of conversation for a bit of time. I told them American, but that my parents were Japanese and Swedish, garnering the usual reaction.

After that, we met up with Wade and drove to Sun Moon Lake. We checked into our hotel and walked around the little night market for dinner. After grabbing dinner, we went back tot he hotel for a game of Phase then sleep.

How I came to spend Christmas in a police station

Well, it certainly turned out to be an interesting one.

Wade left early to make the HSR to Miaoli, so we slept in till almost 10. Once we roused our corpses, we got dropped our bags at the HSR and tried to get breakfast at Coffee Sweet nearby, but failed due to Christmas. For being a non-Christian society, there’s an amazing amount of observance.

We trudged back to the station and found a little stall that sold Teppan pancakes, basically using scallion pancakes as tortillas and filling them with stuff. That turned out to be perfect. we then walked to the green line, took that to Indian station, then cabbed from there to Wulai to check out the waterfall and hot springs. We got maybe a block into town proper when Amy realized she had left her phone in the cab. Unfortunately, by that time the cab had already driven off, and I’ve gotten out of the habit of memorizing plate numbers. When we walked to the police station to file a report though, I realized that we had been dropped off right in front of the station, and that the station itself had cameras watching the entrance. It took several hours, but the police managed to identify the cab, get in contact with the driver, and ask her to return the phone.

Relieved, we got some food and walked to the waterfall. It was well after sundown by the time we got back to town, so we opted to cab it back to Taipei main station.

From there, we headed back to Hsinchu to meet up with Wade. For dinner, we headed to Ding Tai Feng. Bao for days. We got all kinds of stuff including Xiaogang long bao with truffles, but the real star was the wontons in chili oil. From there, we just walked around a bit, then headed to bed.

Christmas Eve

woke up and got on the road with a goal of making it to Jioufen. The traffic up the east coast was horrible, but it more than made up for it by how beautiful it was. we ended up dropping jioufen and heading straight to Taipei because of time, though.

Once we arrived, we dropped our stuff at the Airbnb, a sweet little loft in the XXX district, and took a shower to wash the road off. Then, we took a cab to Christmasland to check out the spectacle. It was right outside the Mega City mall (evidently Christmas and capitalism have a long history) so we popped inside for some ramen. Tasty tasty ramen. Then we took a cab back home and passed out.

Just before I got in bed, my mom texted to wish me a happy birthday, just after midnight. It was super sweet.

Day 6

Today, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel, helped Amy with her chopstick skills, then drove out to Taroko National Park. It looked exactly like I’d imagined the land in those old Chinese paintings looked. Oh. My.

Afterward, we came back to the hotel, showered off, and then grabbed dinner at ()[]. If you’re ever in Hualien, go. Wade called it one of the best meals he’s ever had, and I can say for certain it was amazing! Amy struggled a little bit with her chopsticks, but she powered through! After, we palled around the night market and did a little shopping. One place, appropriately called -196°C made ice cream using liquid nitrogen and countertop mixers! The vanilla and honey was super tasty and creamy (though Smitten still wins out in my book).

Day 5

Hiked a bit (incredible!) and then drove from Yuli to Hualien. Checked out the night market and found a cute bakery: creamer and strawberry filled croissants, peach tarts, passion fruit something, and a sugar doughnut. Then bed.

Day 4

Woke up, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, and got on the road to Yuli, up the east coast.

We made it to a guest house and checked out a tea plantation.

For Dinner, we walked around and found dumplings. The stall next to us was Jesus themed.

Day 3

We woke up, got breakfast at the hotel, and then drove around the southern tip of the island. We started by heading out to the lighthouse, then just toured around.

Walked across a suspension bridge to a little nature walk to the beach. Pretty nice!

After, we grabbed beef noodle soup, but not the beef noodle soup, dumplings, and headed back to the hotel. aAound sunset we walked down to the beach, hung out there for a bit. When we got back, we filled the jacuzzi/bsth/o-furo on the patio of our room and hung out. everyone else was in bed by 8:30.

Day 2

We got up and got breakfast at the hotel, then walked over to the pier 2 art district. along the way, we walked through a park where old women were doing the flappy arm thing Ali Wong talks about and got some boba.

The art district turned out to be a bunch of really cute boutiques, so we had some fun shopping around.

At one, we headed over to the Rose House at the former British consulate for afternoon tea. Not bad!

After tea, we picked up our bags and rental car and drove to Kenting. When we arrived, we found a pretty posh hotel, grabbed some dinner, and then passed out.

Bad count: 0

Day 1

Got off the plane, breezed through CBP, met up with Wade. It’s adorable seeing the two of the, together. They’ve been apart for about 24 hours, and both of them were practically glowing seeing each other.

Grabbed a couple steamed pork buns and a (surprisingly good) cappuccino at the airport, and then got on the train to the high speed rail, headed to…..somewhere. On the platform, we discussed how amazing high speed rail is. If Elon gets his way, it would be entirely realistic for me to go down to LA for brunch with Claire or Anand. Ugh, NIMBYs.

We got off the train, stashed our bags in lockers at the station, and then walked around the Lotus Pond, checking out the pagodas and tiger dragon man sculptures. After, we checked into our hotel, dropped our bags, showered (finally!) and got ready to head out.

The night market scene here is similar to Thailand, except clean, and (stinky tofu aside) not malodorous, so really only like Thailand in the barest sense.

bao count:12