Instead of going to Taipei I stayed at home and watched the typhoon this weekend. Typhoon Nesat was our first Typhoon of the year so it got a lot of attention. The Typhoon hit the south of the country harder so there was not much to see in Hualien. It was actually a nice down weekend. I worked on the novel I was working on and took some pictures. I then promptly accidentally deleted most of the pictures.
Money, Money, Money, Money
Money is not everything, but it solves a lot of problems. Naturally, the money god, Tu-Di-Gong, is very popular in Taiwan. The most popular is Zi Nan Temple in Nantou County. It was our last stop on our trip to Nantou.
Religious affiliation is much more flexible in Taiwan than in the USA and you often see Buddist and Taoist beliefs mixed together. I had been to a few temples before but this was the busiest I have been too. Like everywhere in Nantou there were plenty of places that would charge for parking. We parked in the large free parking lot south west of the temple.
Like most mountains in Taiwan, there was a shuttle, lots of shuttles. The trail up to Wangyou Forest (忘憂森林) is no different. After the Monster Villiage, it was a nice change to be out in nature. We heard “100 to the top” about a dozen times walking from the car to the road up the mountain. Instead up the mountain we went it was a nice steep walk that included switch backs and dodging the shuttles driving fast up and down the mountain.We had already avoided paying for parking by finding one of the few places you could pull a car off the side of the road.
Lots of entrepreneurs having the same idea to make money of a free thing. The entrepreneur I wanted to see, someone selling water bottles half way up the trail, was missing. At the end of the trail was a restaurant, a bathroom you have to pay to use, and someone selling water and ice tea.
A new animal farm complete with a restaurant opened up in Hualien. Hua-Dong Farm (華東牧場) is located near the Hualien fishing port and is a great place to see animals and eat. The place is actually hard to find. I rode past it the first time on my bike. You have to keep your eyes open for a small road/ driveway on the west side of Gang Kou road. After turning down the driveway you can park and walk to see the farm. …
Xitou Monster Village
Xitou Monster Village in Nantou is a family-friendly tourist trap. That is the best sentence I can sum it up with. The monster themed village gets over 200,000 visitors each month so they are doing something right. I am sure it also helps keep the hotel busy. Either way, it makes a great stop for an hour or two. Fortunately, it was just a short walk from the hotel we were staying in.
The best part of the village is the show, at night (7PM/ 1900). The best part of that show is the drumming. After that, it becomes a children show complete with mascots and that monster watch song. That catchy song gets stuck in your head just like Let it Go and won’t go away.
The Quest for Mu Ming
We were at Chishingtan Beach and wanted to find a place to eat. We asked at the Family Mart if there were any restaurants near us. She told us about a restaurant called Mu Ming. The clerk told us the restaurant did not have a menu “does not have a menu”. Well, that caught my attention. So off through the streets, we set off to find a restaurant with no menu.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
On my June visit to Taipei, I went to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Completed in 1980 as a memorial to the former leader of the Republic of China it is still a popular tourist destination. With the change in views of Chiang Kai-shek, feelings and the impressions of the hall have shifted. The open area is now known as Liberty Square and this year the government has announced the Hall will be changed to face “history, recognizing agony, and respecting human rights.”
Taipei June 2017
Once again I visited Taipei. This time I stayed near Ximan at a hotel called Cheers Hotel. It is located near Ximan’s market an area with lots of bars, restaurants, and movie theaters around it. The Red House used to be a market built in the Japanese days. Now it is a theater and has a large gay business community around it. I visited the remains of Nishi Honganji. Nishi Honganji used to be the largest Japanese-style Buddhist temple in Taiwan. Then I went to Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall but that is its own post. Later I went to play darts and got a drink. It turns out that I am still bad at darts. And by drink, I mean absinthe served in a skull shot glass.
It was not the best of weekends. Like many weekends in Hualien, it was raining and cloudy. As a rule of thumb it is nice and sunny when I am at work, and today it is raining when I am not. Undeterred we took a scooter up into the mountains to try Sun-Shine Mountain Tea Shop that I have wanted to visit for a long time. The first part of my interest is of course tea. The second part was what the view would be. So up the mountain, for a warm cup of tea we went.