Day Trip to Xin (new) Beitou

February 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

Sunday was probably the most productive day we had all of last week, even though we only left the apartment after 12. We took the MRT to Xin (new) Beitou. It is only 20 minutes out of the Taipei Main Station, but it feels so detached from the city, because of the mountains, greenery and general peaceful environment.

We visited the Ketalagan Cultural Centre, which is dedicated to the Aboriginal culture that once flourished in the Beitou area. Although there is some English commentary, a lot of the information provided is only in Chinese. This is understandable, given that most tourists to Taipei are from mainland China anyway. Check out the outfits, all coloured with natural dyes. A made an interesting observation – the dyes they used were made of the same foods we try to never get on our clothes, viz. turmeric, pomegranate juice and others.

We then headed to the Beitou Hot Springs museum. On the way, I noticed these children. Shame, they were in a bit of a problem with their ball in the water. I photographed them instead of going to help 😉

The information in the Hot Springs museum which was in English was really interesting. It is so interesting to see how the hot springs are formed. Look at the cute slippers we were given to wear in the museum – red for her and blue for him 🙂

Finally, off to Geothermal Valley we went. This is where one can actually view the natural hot spring. It was amazing to see the actual source of the hot spring. We knew we were close when we smelt the rotten eggs. Because the hot springs contain natural sulphur, they smell like eggs or fireworks. It’s actually really funny, I was laughing all the time as we got closer. The  natural hot spring is so beautiful – look!

Can you see the holes in the sand? That is where the water comes up from.

There is also the Puji Temple to see in Beitou. It is one of the very few well-preserved Japanese temples in Taiwan. We strolled in the area twice, but just couldn’t find it. I don’t think the labelling is very good. We gave up after the second time and went to do what we do best – EAT!

Bye Bye Beitou Buddha…

Xin Nian Kwai Le

February 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s the year of the rabbit, whoopie!!! This weekend has been the most relaxing we’ve had in a while. With all the packing and moving, we really needed the rest. Taipei is so quiet during Chinese New Year. Most people travel to their families who live lower down on the island, or travel elsewhere. It is the ideal time for the Taiwanese to travel, because there is almost a week of holiday. Also, Taiwanese are allowed very few days of vacation, especially when they just start working. In fact, in the first year of working for a new company, they get 0 days of leave. It goes up by merely a few days every year.

In class on Thursday, we had to each write one card to one of our classmates, wishing them a “Happy New Year”. It felt like preschool all over again. I remember having to write cards to my parents for Mother’s Day and Father’s day, under the supervision of my teachers. I received a card from my Japanese classmate, so as you can see, the wishes are in both Japanese and Chinese.

 

The cool thing about Chinese New Year is that it comes a little after that of the Gregorian calendar, so if you haven’t been keeping up to your new year’s resolutions (like me), then there is a second chance. Yay! I will not eat so much of chocolate.. I will not eat so much of chocolate.. I will not eat so much of chocolate..

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