Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Fun

New Year's Eve started cold and rainy, so, after I got off work at 9:00pm, I fully expected to simply go home, eat, and go to bed. Some of the teachers and students were talking about a free concert and fireworks show at the nearby park, but the thought of braving the cold rain wasn't too appealing.

My friend Chyo called and asked if I wanted to go to a 吃到飽 (all-you-can-eat) steak house. Sitting inside a warm restaurant, eating myself silly, sounded much better than standing out in the cold rain. Turned out that you got only one portion of steak, but everything else was unlimited. I put my stomach capacity to the ultimate test that night. The restaurant was across the street from the park, so after eating we waddled over to the park at 11:50pm, just in time to catch the countdown and fireworks. Plus, it had stopped raining.

New Year's Day, 2009, was a blast! Click the photos below to enlarge.

Started with brunch at this traditional food stand near my apartmentLook who's ready to eat

The temple at 白雞山 Báijī shān 'White chicken mountain' Praying for more hairLoved this tree

Steps ascending Baiji-shan, behind the temple.On dutyTemple detail

Next stop, Old Street in San Xia (三峽老街), comprised of traditional food and craft shopsOf course, my favorite was the calligraphy shopZu Shi Temple (三峽祖師廟) at the entrance to Old Street

This video proves we were there, lol.
Old Street San Xia Taiwan top performers 三峽 老街 陀螺

After San Xia we headed to Beitou (北投) Yangmingshan (陽明山), where I took a dip in my first hot spring. There are many hot springs in Taiwan, and unfortunately I don't remember the name of this particular one. What I do remember, though, is that it was one of those gender segregated, birthday suit kind of places, which made the experience even more novel for me. So I got naked and joined the others. I was a bit uneasy at first, but then a saying about nudity, from my wife's grandma, came to mind which emboldened me: "If you see somethin' you ain't seen before--shoot it!"

The bad part was that the water was very sulfuric, so my skin smelled like rotten eggs for the next two days, despite showering. I know what you're thinking and, yes, I have a photo of me at the hot springs, and no, I'm not going to post it ;-).

After the hot springs we were, of course, hungry again, so we headed to the Miàokǒu Night Market in Jilong (基隆廟口夜市). I'm told this is one of the most popular tourist night markets in Taiwan. It was pretty popular that night. Night markets are not as novel to me as they were a few months ago, but that isn't to say I don't enjoy them any less (now there's a negative sentence construction for ya). On the contrary, now that I'm more familiar with the different foods, I look forward to visiting them even more. This one even had many conveniently placed trash recepticles, which seem to be lacking at the others.

All in all it was a fun, relaxing way to begin 2009.


Anonymous said...

not in 北投
in "陽明山"

Steve said...

Whoops, couldn't remember the place. Ok, I corrected it. 謝謝你.