I will think of a better name for this blog one of these days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chinese New Years (Road Trip Day 1)

I can't believe the new years break is already over. . .

Friend's company let him use company car over the break. So we took advantage of it and went to a bunch of places around Taiwan.

First stop was JiouFen (九份). But getting there ended being more fun than actually being there. On the way to JiouFen we got lost, ended up driving longer than anticipated. We pass by a clump of 3-4 seafood restaurants, it's way past lunchtime, stomachs begin to make noises, mouths start to salivate. We think, no worries, we're almost there. . . 10 more minutes and we can eat at JiouFen. 10 minutes later, there's no signs of civilization. Uh oh. . . we need to ask for directions.

Immediately my friend says "That seafood restaurant we passed, they probably know how to get there." My other obviously not-so-hungry friend says "We passed by a convenience store 3 minutes ago, we can ask them for directions. Why go all the way back to the seafood restaurant?" And then my other friend says something like "Yeah, I heard seafood restaurant workers are world renowned for their ability to give road directions." LOL, I'm not sure why we had to give an excuse, other than "we're hungry", to go back to that restaurant but it was pretty funny coming up with them.

So we get to the restaurant and have our fill of crabs, clams, sashimi, etc. The lady at the front tells us the directions. And off we go. . . Except, when we walk out of the restaurant, it immediately feels like a typhoon hit us. Wind blowing our umbrellas inside out, rain flying sideways. We head for the parking lot and it feels like a war movie. We have our umbrellas out, not over our heads but pointed straight in front of us, held very low with us crouching behind it like we're dodging bullets. Since we can't see anything in front we end up bumping in to parked cars and trees and almost tripping over stuff, all accompanied by screams and laughter. After what seemed like a mile long trek, we finally get inside the nice and dry car.

10 minute drive later, we end up at JiouFen. Nothing eventful, just a bunch of small really narrow streets and a bunch of old interesting looking stores selling random crap. Supposedly the view is really good, but since the weather was so bad, we couldn't see anything. Our clothes were drenched from the constant rain and it got really cold really fast. So it was a easy decision to leave after a little over an hour of walking around.

Next stop was perfect for our situation. . . hot spring at BeiTou (北投). Taiwan has lots and lots of hot springs. They are typically separated into public pools (one area for men, one area for women) and private rooms. In the public pools you are required to be completely naked. We were almost going to do that and split the guys and the girls up but luckily we found a place that had a private room that could accommodate the five of us. And surprisingly not too expensive, it was $200 NT per person for 40 minutes. . . but upstairs is a restaurant. If you order $400 NT worth of food per person, you get 40 minutes in hot spring for free. (That's only $12.50 USD!) So that's what we did, we were expecting mediocre food since it wasn't really a "real" restaurant but surprisingly the food was really good, real restaurant or not.

After we finish our food, we go downstairs to our private room and jump into the tubs. If you've never gone to hot spring before, it's just like taking a bath. Except the water smells funny and you smell worse coming out of it than you did going in. The minerals and everything in the water are supposed to be great for your body but I can't tell. The only thing I notice afterwards is the smell. It took me two showers to completely get rid of the smell. Anyways, we were supposed to be in there for 40 minutes . . . but it ended up being 2 hours! So the lady tells me her boss is going to yell at her for letting us stay for so long. I'm thinking, how is that our fault? We had no idea, there's no clock in the room, and nobody had a a watch on, and it's too steamy to take out the cell phones.

So I was like. . . "talk to the hand bitch!"

Just kidding, all i said was "oops, 不好意思"

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