Sunday, 30 October 2011


 stuffing my face again
Wufenpu is a womans paradise for shopping, its situated in a block across the road from Songshan station,there are entrances all over and once inside the aisles form a criss-cross pattern. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of stores mainly selling womens fashion, handbags, bags of every description, jeans, hoodies, jackets, dresses etc, you weave your way up and down the aisles some of which are numbered, its easy to get lost and trying to find a particular shop is like looking for a needle in a haystack. We spent about 3 hours inside there up and down across and then back across all good fun. My quest was to buy myself a leather jacket and some polo shirts, there were mens and childrens clothes shops dotted about some of the quality was good, id say most of the gear was low to mid range, i kept away from the low when choosing my jacket eventually i bought one for TWD2400 i bargained the assistant down TWD300 in the process so it cost me about £50, i was pretty pleased with my purchase id got about 30% off it was decent quality and will keep me warm if we keep on getting these freezing cold winters in the UK. So if you are in Taipei head for Wufenpu if you want to do a bit of shopping its where all the local market traders go and do theirs you will get a discount if you are prepared to bargain and if you want bulk theres plenty of people you can do a deal with. What i liked was we werent hassled to go inside the shops and once inside the assistants didnt bother you unless you went to them.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Yongan Fish Market

 Deep fried squid or octopus tentacles.
 Maybe the dog doesnt like fish?
 We bought some giant prawns and baby octopus absolutely delicious.
On saturday afternoon Selina took me to the Yongan Fish Market, a busy bustling little place where the days catch is on sale. There are numerous stalls selling the fresh fish and other stalls which sell the Taiwanese equivalent of Fish and Chips.  Small fish pieces of squid and octopus deep fried in a spicy batter with chunky Taiwanese chips washed down with a delicious fresh lemon juice.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Taroko Gorge

The Taroko Gorge is absolutely stunning and if you do visit Taiwan you must make this part of your trip, like the Sun Moon Lake these two places are my favourites in Taiwan so far. The half hour bus journey from Taroko to Tiansiang gives you a taste of whats to come, the highway meanders through the gorge through many tunnels some a 1000m long over bridges and through some pretty dodgy areas where rockslides are common, i can imagine in bad weather this road would be shut pretty quickly. You can see debris from falling rocks on the roadside, there are 7 or 8  points along the way where the Tour buses stop and everybody is out taking photos. We spent over an hour in Tiansiang taking pics from various vantage points, theres not much there apart from a 5 star hotel a post office and a restaurant where we had an excellent lunch before we walked back along the roadside through the gorge, the plan was to walk for a couple of hours then take the bus the rest of the way, theres only 4 buses all day up and down the gorge and as we found they were doing some work in several places closing down the road for 50 mins in every hour in the afternoon. We must have walked 7 or 8km before getting the bus stopping many times to take photos, i crossed the rope bridge which i didnt feel too comfortable about, it seemed to wobble about a bit and the railings were not very high, i turned around to see Selina shaking the ropes laughing. We got back to the hotel and checked in and rested our weary feet, we decided to have a little bike ride into the gorge the following morning before leaving, the hotel had a few bikes outside which you can borrow.

Hualien and Taroko

I spent the sunday and the monday just chilling out around Zhongli, Selina was working on the monday so around lunchtime  i nipped down to her breakfast shop to see her at work, i met the couple who ran the business they seemed very nice and friendly and i got a free lunch, i also met Selina's daughter Peggy for the first time in the evening when we went out for dinner at the local steakhouse.                                     On the tuesday morning we set out for Hualien, we had a booked a night in a homestay in Hualien on the tuesday night before heading up to Taroko on wednesday, after a long train journey nearly 5 hours we arrived mid afternoon, my first impression of Hualien was that it resembled a ghost town especially around the railway station, nobody was about hardly any traffic or scooters. Hualien seemed like a much more laid back city where the pace of life was alot slower, we found the homestay a basic little place near the river bank and had a wander around for an hour or two stopping off for a coffee and a muffin. After a night of being bitten alive by mosquitos even sleeping next to a mosquito zapper we set off early for Taroko catching the 730am bus which took an hour to get to Taroko, we dropped our bag at the hotel and checked in later, i think we were the only guests i couldnt see anybody else around. The hotel was on the main road about 500 yards from the Taroko entrance gate and a 10 minute walk from the visitor centre, it overlooked the Liwu River a pleasant place with pleasant helpful staff, the bus stop was right outside the hotel so an hour after arriving we caught the bus to Tiansiang about 20km up the gorge.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Back in Taiwan Oct 21-Nov 13

I left Hull at 1230pm catching the Hull trains service down to London Kings Cross, i was on my way again for a third time in a year, after 3 months of solid hard work to get the money together to pay for this trip, this was the first time id gone from Heathrow and also the first time i had flown direct. It cost me £642 compared to well over £900 to get decent flights from Humberside, i could have paid around £720 and had 20 hour stopovers in Being Shanghai and Guangzhou but i couldnt be arsed with that, transferring in China is not as simple as it is at Hong Kong or Bangkok if my experience at Xiamen airport is anything to go by in July and my rail ticket was £51 with the return leg first class so i was still under £700 doing it this way.  I got to Heathrow about 430pm, i was lucky i was able to check in around 5 which got rid of my case, had something to eat in the departure lounge and then waited, i was watching the news of Gaddaffis death on the tv which passed some of the time. My gate was next door to a Saudi Arabian flight going to Jeddah i spent the last hour watching them all praying before they boarded the plane what a performance that was, i was chatting to a family from Jersey who were on route to Sydney, they had a 5 hour stopover in Taipei before a 10 hour flight to Australia,  im glad i was getting of in Taiwan after 14 hours!! I was sat next to a young student from Taipei on the plane, a pleasant young lass who was quite chatty, she spent the whole flight cradling a black action man called "mini man", she said she had bought it from the States for $400 why i dont know each to their own i guess. Anyway we arrived in Taipei around 6pm just over 13 hours later, i quite liked China Airlines there seemed to be a bit more room than KLM and the flight itself was pretty good i guess im getting used to long haul flights so i know what to expect. Selina met me at the airport and we were back in Jhongli half an hour later, this trip is a longer one for 23 nights so ive got a few days now to relax.