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Thu, 09 Aug 2012
day 06 in taiwan (0 comments)
today we wanted to go to the north, to keelung. therefore we bought a ticket at the TRA (taiwan railway administration). when we got on the train and left for keelung, the first 20 minutes we drove underground. but then we arrived at the city, and wanted to go to the "buddha's hand cave". our guide book said it's only about 500 metres from the railway station, so we started to walk. but soon we got the feeling the guide was very wrong. so we asked some locals before we would be walking on in the heat any longer. they then said it's still pretty far, and it might be better to take a taxi. and so we did, waved a taxi, got on, drove for another five minutes, and finally arrived there. definitely not 500 metres. but before we got into "buddha's hand cave", we walked into the "fairy cave"[10-29], a dark and humid cave with little altars inside, some of which you only reach by crawling through narrow and low caves[26,29]. unfortunately inside it was not much cooler than outside.
taking stairs up[032] to the temple did not make it any better. so when we walked through "siandong park" and arrived at the "shengan temple" we were - once more - soaked in sweat. i guess it was our pitiful appearance that made the local people at the temple offer us tea and some ice cooled jelly (or whatever it was). thankfully we took the drinks, rested and cooled down a bit in the shadows. the woman gave me a paper fan, and her husband gave us a self-made painting - they were so very friendly. the temple[034-045] itself unfortunately was closed due to restoration works[042]. so we went downstairs again, finding a metallic shining bug. while we were taking pictures of it, we got bitten by some flying mosquito like insects several times. so we hurried to get inside the "buddha's hand cave". it was again a tunnel system inside the cave, but this time not narrow and low, but well lit and wide[048-049,054-056]. i almost did not notice the hand at first, because it was on the cave's ceiling, and i'd rather would have expected it on some wall instead. but once we found it, it really looked like a hand[050-053].
when we got out, a taxi driver was having his dinner at a small cook shop at the temple entrance. luckily the lady who was cooking there and also had a cute kitty[057] could speak a little english, so we had her ask the taxi driver if he could bring us to jungjeng park. after a short ride in a taxi with an A/C we got off again and stood in front of the entrance of jungjeng park[058-092]. inside there were two huge lions[067-070,074] guarding a huge guanyin statue[064,066,068-069,072,075]. inside[078-081] the statue there are stairs which you can climb for a little donation you can give at the entrance. but definitely the best thing they had there was a catomobile[086-091], which was playing kylie minogue's "can't get you out of my head" while you were riding it.
next stop was another temple in zhongzheng park[096-106] where they were dismantling decorations for the ghost festival (which we unfortunately missed). inside the temple there was also a small museum about the ghost festival. while we were inside it had started to rain on the outside. still we went on to the next temple, foguangshan temple[110-118].
after that we were very exhausted and tired because of the heat and walking around. so we decided to have something to eat and take a little rest. we found some awesome dumplings which we ate while hiding from the rain. after that we had a coffee at mcdonald's, where we enjoyed the cool air. feeling much better, we went to the night market in miaokou[133,140-156], which was right in front of a big temple[121-139], where they had amazing seafood[143-155] - nomnom...
after getting back to the hostel i wanted to go to a laundry to have my clothes cleaned, but this was harder than i thought. the guy at the reception said there is one, but it's pretty far and only reachable by metro. problem was, the last metro is at around 23:50 and it was already past 22:00 o'clock. luckily nina remembered the laundry she went to when she was in taiwan the first time in 2009. so we drove there by metro, have our clothes washed and dried, and missed the last metro, so we went back home. the streets were all empty, but some shops still had opened. it was a nice walk home, very quiet, with only a few people in the streets. back home we wanted to book a room in the taroko gorge area. but checking stuff online, it turned out the roads were still closed because of the last typhoon one week ago. we were lucky that we checked that night, because otherwise we would have gone all the way down the east coast to taroko for nothing. instead we decided to go to the "sun moon lake". damn typhoon... track: day 06

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