TAINAN’S TEMPLES AND DELICIOUS FOOD
From Lidao we took the 9am shuttle bus to Taitung where we waited for about an hour or so for our train to Kaohsiung, we bought boxed lunch at the station and it’s quite good. I love Taiwanese dishes, it seems you can never go wrong here, even the simplest food is heaven! Anyway we arrived in Kaohsiung and took another train, this time an MRT that actually goes to Tainan. We got off near NanTai Uni where Su is studying, we pick up his motorbike there but in the meantime one of his friends, Ping showed up and hang out with us for awhile, she went with us to Su’s place, halfway through though we ran out of gas, Su’s gas meter is broken and he forgot how much more he has, so we sent Ping to find a gas station, giving her an empty plastic bottle. you’re an idiot she said addressing to Su before she sped away.
Su lives on the 7th floor of a tall modern apartment with his mom and sister. His mom was home and she was the nicest mom ever, preparing snacks for us, she cleaned Su’s room for us and tried her best to talk to me but English is not very good, so sign language sufficed. Ping and Su then took me to this grand night market, very lively, zillions of motorbikes line the walkway, food is smelling good and bad(stinky tofu) flavors galore here, I tried almost everything they show me. Very crowded, there’s so many stalls I am amazed how they still make money with all the competitions, but then again, tons of people show up, especially the University kids.
After having our fill, we went back to Su’s and had a good night sleep. The next morning he has class at 8:30am so he dropped me at the train station where there is an info office. I took some brochures from them and they speak good English, was told either I take a free tour bus #88 or walk it. So I did(walk).Only about 15 minutes away I reached the Literature museum where I can avail of the internet for free, their computer screens are huge! I tried to get in touch with Michael, the lad I sat next to in the plane on my way to Taipei, tried to arrange meet up point for today. The museum is quite cool but not into Lit so I left after using the facilities. I decided to do the LP walking tour, while it is mostly straight forward directions, towards the end I got lost and confused(must be the heat) and ended up in some other temples that were not in the book!
Sore feet, super hungry and overheating from the scorching temperature(at least it’s not raining here!) I eventually found my way to Chikan tower where they have cafes and bars and eateries scattered about, I found a sushi place next to the tower entrance and started pointing to everything I see on the display window not caring how much I will pay, in the end not too bad and the salmon sushi were buttery good! To order food though was a complete challenge, none speak English and I resorted to a game of charade with them to their delight and confusion. Surprisingly enough only a few young Taiwanese can speak English with confidence, despite tons of imported English teachers they are still quite far behind compared to, say, the Philippines, Singapore or Hong Kong, Su is one of the few who manage to speak with ease, I told him to keep learning and practicing, it could be an asset for him in the future when he tries to find work full time.
Michael is unavailable until early eve and am here sat at 3pm at Chikan towers, Su is taking me to his family’s barbecue soire tonight so maybe tomorrow we meet Mike at a bar nearby. I decided to have a haircut, I broke my shaver in Indonesia so now need to buy a new one, in the meantime I found this small place tucked in a nook and the man shaved my head and moustache and beard, again charade was the name of the game, I almost died out laughing as I try to communicate how I wanted shaved! a little here, there not so much with the beard..eventually they got it and it was the best barber shop visit for me in a long while, they even washed my head and gave me a brief but relaxing massage all for 250 Taiwan $.
I met Su at the Chikan tower then we visited a few more temples nearby and then off to his place to freshen up, his mom washed a few of my clothes that were lying around, she must have noticed the stench and took it upon herself to clean them, bless her!!! I met most of Su’s immediate family on his father’s side, his grandma is 78 and yet looks like in her early 50s! Everyone is super nice but not speaking my language, his uncle drank beer with me and bragged he can drink more and keep up with me, I decided to stop the competition before it goes wild! Food were simple all grilled and I watched them prepare mushrooms, clams, squids,prawns,steak,tofu etc for grilling, and of course I picked up some tips.
The next morning Su has no class so we went to Anping, a nice part of town, and as it is Saturday, lots of tourists coming from tour buses, mostly Chinese mainlanders says Su. We had a great time visiting the sites around, so many of them I can’t remember the names anymore, we sample baked oysters, some preserved candies etc. We found a nice simple restaurant in the hutongs and served delicious oyster soup, I will copy it and cook it when I get back home! We were walking the whole day, very tired we got back to his apartment to find his mother washed more of my clothes! I better hide them before she wash all my wardrobe!She took out some fruits for us to snack on including my favorite, rose apple.
We ate at the night market nearby and I decided to do a rain check on hanging out with Mike, I am so spent I would rather sleep.
Back to Anping the next day, Su took me to this Tianjing wetland reserve thing, it was nice, we did a boat trip around the area and saw some birds, crabs and hordes of tourists as usual. We had lunch at Anping, he made me try tahue, a white stuff made of soya I think, quite good, similar to taho in the Philippines. We had a hearthy lunch of seafood delights, I treated Su for all his time and effort to show me around town.
The next morning I left with a heavy heart back to Taipei, his family is so nice I will never forget the Taiwanese hospitality, hope to see Su again after he finish his required military service for his country.