November 19, 2012

Taiwan 2012 (Day 4, 19 Nov)

Back in Taipei and I am loving our room at the Ambience Hotel! It’s chic and modern, all glass and white with Kartell furnishings…I like! And very reasonable rate too, about $146 nett for a twin room.
This morning’s breakfast at the minsu was better than expected, and they had nice coffee too. We were served toasted club sandwiches with fries, sausages and fruit.
After breakfast I took some pictures of a cabbage patch next door and our minsu from the front. 
We then checked out and spent the morning exploring other parts of Hualien…I was thwarted in my attempts to go whalewatching as we weren’t sure if it was going to rain today so we stuck to sightseeing from the comforts of a car.

We had a different driver today, the original one Rena had booked but he couldn’t make it yesterday. He suggested going to a ‘tulip garden’ and unfortunately, it was just a flower nursery. After Keukenhof, nothing can compare!
He did oblige our request to take pictures of ‘lalang’ fields, jaywalking to cross over to a plot of land. We thought we could re-create those bridal photoshoots and pose with the lalang!
He showed us a local lake next, and then we stopped for more lalang shots.
He then took us to a hilltop area, for an aerial view of Hualien. There is a 5 star hotel called Farglory at the peak and we admired the view from the property.
I saw a Great Mormon Butterfly pottering about the bougainvillea, how lovely.
We walked behind the hotel to catch a view of the Pacific Ocean and from there, we could see the Hualien Farglory Oceanpark, a theme park focusing on marine ecology.
We made one last pit stop at a minsu along the coast, just so we could get up close to the sea. The waves were strong and there were many pretty pebbles on the sand.
Lunch was next, we tried another local favourite….goose! It wasn’t so gamey once dipped in the accompanying sauce, and I had a plain bowl of tanghoon.
There were some other side dishes, and Germaine thought one of it was made from yam looking at the patterns on it. So I took a big bite only to realise it was fish roe and those patterns were the veins….eeeeew!
We tried some local xiao long bao, very different from the Din Tai Fung kind. Much bigger, less juicy…more like a bao.

We did pick up some freshly made mochi though, I bought 2 peanut ones…yummy!

We spent a couple of hours on the train making our way back to Taipei and after checking at Ambience, we were out again to explore Wufenpu, a wholesale clothes market.
The clothes were not to my taste and it being autumn, everything was long sleeve and thick. I only bought some shawls and accessories in the end.

From there it was a short ride to Rao He Night Market, where we had ourselves some deep fried crab and black pepper pork buns, for which there was a super long queue. The night market was mainly made up of food stalls so we concentrated on eating.
We stopped to try beef noodles, mee sua, chou doufu, tang yuan and mango ice and found a lady selling pink guavas, which we all bought some to bring home. 
There were a couple of pet shops selling puppies and kittens…I love these grey stripey ones.

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