Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day Trip to Tamsui, New Taipei, Part II (淡水, Picture heavy!)

Hey guys, running so behind on some posts here :( Sorry!

My sister came for a short visit earlier in the month and hubby and I took her to Tamsui again. It was her second time in Taipei actually. Two winters ago, she was still living and working in Japan and had been here on a group tour along with her colleagues and fellow teacher. However, her group tour had a super tight schedule full of "touristy" places, which didn't give her any time to explore the city on her own at all. So this was an attempt to chill out a little, taking time to leisurely stroll around, check out the shops, eat some snacks, play some games, etc. 

We started out with lunch at my favorite neighborhood's Fortune Garden. Then at the Taipei Main Station we met up with J., whom my sister used to tutor way back in high school. She's a Taiwanese native but went to high school and college in the US, in the same state and city where we did. Hearing of my sister's visit, she was ecstatic as they had lost touch for a while before finding each other on FB several months earlier.

The funny gold statue man was there again! ^.^

The best sugar cane juice I had was still in Tamsui, hands down. It was fragrant and sweet and totally addicting!

This time around, J. convinced us to take the quick 5-minutes ferry trip up to Lovers' Bridge instead of riding the bus from hell, think super crowded bus going really fast on a curvy and bumpy road, or the 1.5 mile walk from the end of the end of the Tamsui Old Street up to Fisherman's Wharf where Lovers' Bridge is. So we didn't think twice about the ferry ride ^.^ It was a tricky business though, because there were 2 separate lines for the ferry that were not clearly marked at all, one to go up the river to Fisherman's Wharf, and the other to cross the river to Bali Township. Thank goodness J. knew to ask, and we got into the right line ^.^

The ferry ride was super convenient, because we can just scan our Easy Card that we use for the subway and bus ^.^ The trip costs $50 one way, which is a about $1.75!!

The ferry ride was super awesome. The only complaint I have is that it was so, so, so loud, especially if you were in the back of the boat where the engine is. I had no idea boat engines can get so crazy loud! It was so loud we could not hear each other's shouts, standing side by side!

The ferry dock is in front of Lovers' Bridge, versus the bus stops are in the far back (upper left corner of picture). So we got to see the bridge from an entirely different angle.

Looking at Lovers' Bridge

Looking away from Lovers' Bridge.

The end of the board walk.

While leaving J. and my sister to catch up, hubby and I snuck off and ended up going all the way out to the end of the pier. 

One of the 2 watch towers at the end of the pier.

The other watch tower is on the other side, which we couldn't get to. Well, there was the option of swimming, but...

The two watch towers side by side.

Looking out to the giant crate cranes.

Here's a *real* crane! ^.^

Ah, I never get tired of looking at the sun setting behind the board walk.

After taking the ferry back, we snacked around for a bit. Here are some sauteed sea snails, which were good, but were too small to have any taste. The ones in Vietnam are better, because not only they are bigger and meatier, they are sauteed in coconut milk with herb and spices, which make them super fragrant and tasty. It's super easy to eat them, you just pick one up and suck it out from the opening of the shell ^.^b

And then hubby made one of his best discoveries yet. No, not the chopped guavas. The chopped white and pink guavas were yummy, but I'm talking about the spicy plum powder they used to sprinkle onto the chop guavas that gave them that salty, sour, and spicy flavor, together all of it brought out their sweetness. This plum powder reminded me very much of the Mexican chili salt candies that I love so much, and just thinking of it makes my mouth water! After we came home from this trip, my sister and I promptly went out to the supermarket and bought ourselves a jar. There wasn't any spicy kind, so we bought a separate jar of spicy chili powder too LOL!

Most of the games along the Tamsui Old Street are totally rip-offs. For example, there was one game of foam dart that costs NT$100 for 6 tries, each successful throw gains you only 1 point. Mean while, a stupid plastic blowup hammer requires 40 points! So let's do the math, yeah? If I were to make every single throw, I'd have to spend minimum NT$700 just to get that useless piece of junk. Mean while, that same amount of money can buy at least 2-3 stuffed animals! Umm...do they think I'm stupid?!?

However, there were also legitimately fun games, like this game of water balloon dart. It also costs NT$100, but for 12 throws. Each water balloon you pop is 1 point, and 10 points wins you a toy. But the toys were not important, because popping water balloons was infinitely more fun than just throwing darts at foams :P Between the 4 of us, we only popped enough water balloons for 2 toys, a plastic blowup hammer, ha, and a bottle of soapy bubbles thing, both of which we unloaded upon an unsuspecting victim who happened to walk by. Poor kid.

After the sun set, we continued to stroll down the street, making our way towards the Tamsui Station through the night market. This one is a very special bread shop. As you can see from this "assembly line," every single item sold in the store is available for sampling here, and the at the end of the line they even serve you a cup of tea! And it doesn't cost a single penny!

And this is the first time I've ever seen golden guava with red center. Wow! Apparently, among all the guavas, the white ones are the crunchiest, the pink ones are softer, and these gold ones are softest! They were delicious, thanks to the clever addition of that yummy spicy plum powder ^.^

Hubby spotted a cart selling candied plums and made a beeline over. It was nostalgic for him because he used to eat these when he was an international student in Beijing ^.^

The plums themselves were quite tart but their candied coating made it bearable. 

My favorites of all the snacks of the day, aside from the guavas of course, were these grilled quail eggs. They were just straight up quail eggs, cracked into these tiny little grill and then skewered onto a stick, drizzled with sauce. Delicious!!!

See my previous Day Trip to Tamsui post.


Citrine said...

I love those Tanghulu (although the one I liked/ate was glazed hawthorn berry, it's like a sour, crisper and smaller version of apple) and it reminds me of my years in elementary school. During PE, me and my classmates would just sneak around the fence of the playground and buy from the mobile vendor (who walks around with that giant holder with the food stuck on it like the bristle from a broomsticks. The price was pretty good as well (back then)...only 1 yuan (a little over a US dime) a piece.

I am not sure why they use plum though, I thought the whole point of that is the crisp of the fruit and the glaze.

Anyway, the guava is pretty as well...Now I miss tropical fruit (not the weather, since there is plenty of heat down here) back in Asia.

D. said...

Hey Citrine!

Hubby loves Tanghulu too! He used to snack on them a lot when he was in Beijing, which was why he made a beeline over when he saw these candied plums ^.^

Yeah, these plums were really crispy and tart, sort of like a really sour apple. But now that I think about it, what I just said sounds like what you just said LOL! Could they have been hawthorn berries after all? Not sure...

Yup. Hubby and I are loading up on wax apples and guavas, because we know we'd miss them when we leave :(


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