Up in the Air

One of the things on my summer bucket list was to go camping/hiking/on some kind of outdoorsy adventure. I’d say the past two days have definitely fulfilled that goal.

Late Monday afternoon, we headed to the high speed railway station in Taichung and headed to Taipei. Fifty minutes after boarding, we had traveled from central to northern Taiwan and met up with our cousin, Angela, who would be our tour guide for the next few days. Papa parted ways to his apartment in the city to prepare for two days of meetings, while Ben and I would join Angela, her boyfriend and a group of businessmen from Shanghai on holiday.

Shilin Night Market: we stopped by the largest night market in Taipei before heading to Angela’s apartment for the night. We only walked around for an hour, which wasn’t nearly enough to discover the 539 souvenir, clothing, shoes, novelty and food shops. I bought a few things, but I’ve been told that we’re going back (at my request, of course).

KeelungTuesday morning, we piled into two cars headed northbound to visit Keelung, a city on the northeastern coast of the island. There, we drove up Jinshan Mountain and visited the Teresa Teng memorial. Teng, I was told, was a famous Chinese singer and was buried on the mountaintop near a well-visited temple. Even though it started to rain lightly, the view from the mountain was unbelievable.

Yehliu Geoparknext, we descended the mountain to head to the coastline, which felt more like a roller coaster than a car ride. If I were at all knowledgeable about geological matters, it may have been a lot more interesting. Nevertheless, I could at the very least enjoy the amazing view and the weather as it cleared up. We took a lot of pictures and I wasn’t that into it, but I think the others enjoyed themselves and that’s okay too.

Gold Ecological Park: we trekked up (and by that, I mean seated comfortably in the back of the car enjoying the scenic views) another mountainside in Jinguashi to visit an old gold mining town. At the top was a museum that included a walk through demonstration of how miners would find and extract gold and minerals from the mountain. At the end was a collection of jewelry made from the gold, as well as a 22kg gold brick on display. The story goes that visiting and touching the display, worth 10 billion USD, will bring wealth and fortune to the visitor. I rubbed it with both hands, just to be sure.

Sun Moon Lake: today has been dedicated to exploring the famous Sun Moon Lake back in central Taiwan. We checked into the Miracolo View Hotel on another  mountainside overlooking the largest body of water on the island. Again, out of luck and good timing, the rain cleared as we boarded a tour boat to cross the lake and visit the mountainside temples and scenic areas. At one point, we were definitely high enough and the clouds were low enough that we were engulfed in the misty coverage. We got back to the main pier in time for dinner and passed by a couple men fishing on the dock. I looked out for and didn’t see any fish out on the lake, and I don’t know if they ended up making any catches. In any case, I hope they found what they were looking for. 

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