Climbing Mountains

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Taiwan  ,
Monday, September 26, 2005

We were staying in separate dorms that night, both with people who had been living there for a few months and had very much made themselves at home. The bed was the most comfortable I had slept in so far and had no trouble sleeping. In fact when I was rudely awoken by very loud talking from a bunch of girls outside I assumed it was gone 10. I was amazed that it was only 7 and promptly went back to the land of nod, waiting for Dave to knock on the door and tell me to get up. It never came so I got up just after 9 and went to see if he was up. He was.

He was mopping shower gel off the floor and his bag as I entered the room. It would seem his Hong Kong shower gel had exploded everywhere during the night which I found hilarious.

We headed off to find the train station, the MRT subway, and were surprised at how close it actually was. Arrived at Graeme's hotel with time to spare and waited for Nick to arrive, he never came. We tried to phone him but never got a reply so headed off to Grandma Nitti's ourselves. Here we gorged ourselves with a full on English breakfast and it was gorgeous.

Still no word from Nick so we headed back to the main station and caught a bus into the mountains. It was a pretty long trip taking 40 minutes, winding its way up hill. On exiting the bus we were met with the lovely smell of sulphar. I say lovely but really mean nauseating. We were still only half way so needed to get a taxi the rest of the way. About 20 minutes drive uphill all the way.

When we stepped out the taxi it was about 10C cooler than in central Taipei. I was wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals. Perhaps not the best clothes when climbing mountains. Particularly when the cloud was descending, fast! The cloud got thicker as we got to the halfway point. Having been walking through the cloud layer for about 40 minutes I was soaked!

We had a rest and decided to press on. We reached a point where it turned into a steeper uphill section through the trees that looked ominously dark and decided to turn back before it was too late.

The views hadn't exactly been spectacular anyway, all we could see was endless thick white cloud. Coming down was trickier. Dave and Cindy ended up walking barefoot and I set a blistering pace to the bottom. Even though I was wearing sandals I was having no probs.

Safely back on the ground we got a drink before trying to get a bus back into town. By this time it was getting towards closing time and everyone was trying to do the same thing. It also wasn't the first stop so only a couple of people got on each 15 minutes. We tried to flag down a taxi but they were all taken so resorted to going back inside and ordering one. Back in the hostel we rested for an hour before heading out to meet up with Rick, a Taiwanese friend of Graeme's, who was treating us to dinner.

The place we were going was apparently very famous and there were loads of Japanese tourists outside. They even had a ticketing system so you knew when it was your turn! We decided not to wait and headed to a Shanghainese restaurant round the corner. We had a dim sum feast with a whole multitude of dumplings, steamed buns and some eel soup. I was stuffed and amazed the whole meal only came to 30 quid for the 5 of us!

The heavens had opened outside with the remnants of a typhoon and we took shelter in a small dessert place. It only sold 1 type of dessert and it was basically a bowl of ice with a couple of toppings of your choice. It was pretty foul and I didn't really want to eat too much ice as I'm sure it would have made me ill. It had some rubbery black balls in it and some square things that tasted of marzipan. I left almost all of it.

We said goodbye to Rick and headed back in a taxi to SuiDa Lu again where all the bars were. We went to the bar next to the one yesterday and had a couple before getting the last train home. We had been moved into a separate room this morning which was pretty good. We sat around chatting to the people living there. One guy had lived in Chunking Mansions for 3 months which I found unbelievable! He also had some horror stories about fighting pretty much every night.
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