27th January 14
The breakfast buffet dining hall on the 17th floor offered a great almost-360-degree view of what surrounded the hotel. Joining a tour meant waking up at early hours (boo) to cover more locations (yay) and catching sunrise light (yay bonus). Our first stop was Liberty Square to see the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. We were there for only about 30 minutes, didn’t even climb the steps of the Memorial Hall, then whisked off to watch a daily 9am soldier formation performance at the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine.
We visited Danshui where we bought shrunken black eggs that had been boiled for months, walked circles in the streets of the market, followed a couple of kindergarteners by the sea lookout, ate 500cm tall ice creams for NT20 that turned phallic-shaped once it started melting and you’ve (unintentionally) bitten off the top swirl. I swear I’ve never eaten an ice cream faster to avoid weird looks from strangers. We then made our way to Jiufen for another round of shopping, mostly food but I didn’t get anything except lunch which was a hearty bowl of beef brisket noodle soup and a bowl of something equivalent to the Snowflake here but with much more variety and cheaper.
The temperate dropped as we made our way to Miaoli amongst the hillsy area. The second hotel we stayed at was a resort. A proper, prop your feet up, take a bath with water from the hot springs straight from the tap, villa-style, tall European ceilings, Japanese beds, your-low-balcony-gives-you-a-view-of-the-strawberry-farm-but-is-ideal-for-thieves-to-climb-over, fancy but homey resort. At night, we (me and mama) soaked our feet in the swimming pool-esque hot spring while the boys and pa dunked their whole bodies in. Desmond drank hot tea and Darren flicked plastic cards everywhere.