2014年2月13日 星期四

Keelung 基隆 and Uninterrupted Sunshine

Keelung River

During most of Chinese New Year we stayed in my brother-in-law's house.  He lives in Bai Fu 百福, a small community south of Keelung City 基隆市.

We drove to his house from Taitung City 台東市.  We crossed the mountains on the Southern Cross-Island Highway 南迴, and from Ping Tung County 屏東縣 we took Freeway 1 all the way up to Bai Fu.  The traffic going north was very light, but there were many traffic jams going south.  Traffic was at a standstill north of Kaohsiung 高雄, Taichung 台中, and Hsinchu 新竹, and I was very glad we were going the opposite direction.

One of many abandoned factories in Bai Fu

During our stay in Bai Fu, we left our car parked near my brother-in-law's house.  Neither my wife nor I had any desire to drive around that part of Taiwan.  Instead we took trains, taxis, or the MRT.  My brother-in-law's house is not far from the train station, and it was only a few train stops away from Nan Gang 南港, the nearest MRT stop.

We spent a lot of time walking around the Xin Yi Shopping District 信義商圈 in Taipei.  This is something we do every time we're there.  They opened up a new Krispy Kreme near the 101 building, and the lines in front of that place were unbelievably long.  All that waiting in line for donuts.  Why?

The "Little Yellow Duck"

We also had dinner at my wife's aunt's (aunt-in-law's?) apartment near the Jong Shiao 中蕭 Sogo.  My wife's aunt is a tailor, and it was a bit crowded in her little shop.  Altogether there were 12 of us trying to eat a large dinner in that little workshop.  My wife's uncle (uncle-in-law?) is a good cook, but it was hard to get comfortable.

On the day before we drove back to Taitung, we went to Keelung City, and it was astonishingly crowded.  Even the train to get there was packed, and there were so many people going to Keelung that the trains were all running behind schedule.  It is only four stops from Bai Fu to Keelung Station, but just going four stops away took us nearly one hour.

Downtown Keelung
   
And why was it so crowded, you ask?  It was so crowded because the "little yellow duck" - really a giant, inflatable duck - now resides at Keelung Port.  A lot of people felt an uncontrollable desire to be near this duck, and this is why I might as well have walked there.

While in Keelung, we visited the Yangming Oceanic Culture and Art Museum 陽明海洋文化藝術館, which was surprisingly interesting.    We also ate lunch in a coffee shop, walked through the terrifyingly crowded Temple Night Market 基隆廟口夜市, and had Western food at another restaurant before fighting our way back onto the train.  The crowds were thick everywhere except the museum, and by the time we finally got back to Bai Fu we were all exhausted, and in desperate need of showers.

The temple for which the  night market is named.

On the following day we drove back to Taitung, a trip that took us 7.5 hours.  The traffic from Bai Fu to Hualien City 花蓮市 was not bad, but the traffic from Hualien City to Taitung City was terrible.  We would have made much better time if I'd taken Highway 11 instead of Highway 9, but I had no way of knowing this at the time.

All in all it was a good trip, and a pleasant Chinese New Year.  I enjoyed Keelung and Taipei, and I am getting to know Keelung much better.  I spent a lot of time walking around Bai Fu, and aside from the high rainfall it seems like a nice place to live.

Keelung Night Market

Related Entries:

Happy Year of the Horse! 馬年快樂 (中)
Shuang Liou Forest Recreation Area 雙流森林遊樂區

Water Running Up 水往上流
Taiwan by the Numbers: People

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