Taipei Travel 2015 [Day 4] – Jiufen, Golden Waterfall, and Shifen

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From Yehliu Geopark, our group headed to Jiufen Old Street. It’s a small village up in the mountains where gold deposits were discovered during the Japanese occupation. Jiufen is referred to as an “old town” because many buildings remain unchanged up to now. After World War II, gold mining declined and the old town stands today mainly as a tourist spot that celebrates the history and culture of Taiwan.

I liked the fact that Jiufen is easily accessible from Taipei. You can reach it in 2 hours by public transport. Our group went to Jiufen through a private van and it was a short trip from Yehliu Geopark.

While I enjoyed Jiufen as a destination, the event that transpired between my family and our van driver was an unpleasant one. It was past lunchtime and it was raining very hard. The parking lot was located below a very steep flight of stairs. The steps were uneven and slippery. Thus, my husband and I decided to rush through the old street by ourselves to grab something to eat and to buy lunch for my then 2-year old son and nanny. We left my son and nanny in the car so that they won’t get wet and catch a cold.

Unfortunately, while we were away, the driver demanded that the nanny and our son leave the van because apparently, there’s an ordinance that does not allow people to stay in parked vehicles in the area. The driver did not tell us about it even as soon after as we stepped out of the van. He could have said something so that we can adjust our plan.

It was VERY VERY cold and the rain was strong. Our nanny doesn’t speak Taiwanese and can’t communicate in fluent English either. She tried to tell the driver to contact us so that we can be informed about it but according to her, the driver yelled at her. Terrified, the nanny brought my son outside and carried him in one hand while she used the other hand to open an umbrella. However, the rain was really strong and they still got wet. She tried to find a place for shelter and by then, my son started crying. The nanny noticed that my son, then non-verbal, was having tantrums because he was feeling very cold. He was shivering and his lips turned dark blue.

What the nanny did was she returned to the van to ask that they be allowed to go inside. Just as they reached the place, we were also back with food in our hands. Then we saw our nanny crying as she was trying to make my son feel warm. My son just finished crying and his eyes were swollen. He was in a daze while drinking milk. He was so hungry he asked the nanny for a bottle.

Just the thought of what happened and writing this for you is making me tear up. Again, while Jiufen is a nice tourist destination, I don’t think it will ever make up for what we experienced there. What happened actually tainted our excitement for the rest of the attractions that we visited on the same day.

This is not to say that you should not visit Jiufen. I actually gathered some photos to share with you and I hope you enjoy them notwithstanding my unpleasant story. At the end of the day, we learned our lesson and we are making sure that it doesn’t happen again in any of our travels.

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My First DIY Kiddie Party

imageI have always admired how my sister lovingly completes DIY/craft projects for my nephew’s birthday, or Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. Before I had my dear son, I told myself that I will be able to do that one day too. And with that I was thinking of DIY parties for my “future” kid/s.  Yet even if my son arrived 3 years ago, I have never really undertaken to prepare a party that is completely DIY. Well, until his third birthday at toddler school.

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Taipei Travel 2015 [Day 4] – Yehliu Geopark

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One of the things that I like about Taipei is that you don’t need to fly nor drive too far to experience its natural wonders. Unlike in the Philippines where it is so much effort to get to the best beaches especially considering that our transport system is, sadly, and it makes me cringe to say this, third world, it is the opposite for tourists in Taipei. Just an hour away from the city, you can see geological formations that, in my case, reinforced my faith and awe in the magnificent blessings of God. Frankly, it’s the same feeling I felt when I see beaches, or mountains, or even when I visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

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The air was fresh. It was drizzling, the roads were wet, and the wind was very cold. But our trip to Yehliu Geopark was special. My son, then two years old, smiled and giggled heartily as if saying that he loved the place. He frolicked on the wet paths and pulled our arms to signal that he wanted us to chase him around. He was mesmerized by the sea and the sounds that the waves created.

We didn’t mind the cold air nor the drizzle because my son was so game and the view was certainly fantastic. I definitely recommend a visit to Yehliu Geopark if you are visiting Taipei. It is good for the soul:)

I’m parking right here and will leave you with awesome photos below. Enjoy!

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Taipei Travel 2015 [Day 3] – Shilin Night Market

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We can’t let our first night in Taipei pass by without visiting Shilin Night Market. We already experienced Feng Chia (FengJia) in Taichung, and Ximending itself buzzes with street food carts and stalls so you might be wondering why we were raring to go to Shilin then. I don’t know exactly where the excitement came from as I have already read that there are better night markets out there. But it must be because Shilin is the largest and the most famous of all night markets in Taiwan. True enough, Shilin didn’t fail us with the variety of street foods we sampled!

Word of caution: food porn after the jump:) Some photos are mine and the rest are from my friend and travel companion, Romy. Enjoy!

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Taiwan Travel 2015 [Day 3] – Longshan Temple, Bopiliao Ancient Street, and Taipei 101

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We transferred from Taichung to Taipei on the 3rd day of our Taiwan trip via the High Speed Rail. Because it was lunchtime when we arrived at the Taipei Station, we decided to have our lunch at a hot pot restaurant there before going to Amba Hotel in Ximending. While it wasn’t really a tiring transfer, we decided to relax for a bit at the hotel before heading out to explore Taipei. What we initially planned as a quick rest turned out to be an oversleeping fest😀 It was almost 5pm when we reached our first destination!

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