Peaceful morning at Nan Bin Park
We made a last minute decision to stay in hualien today. So, today, we decided to cycle to Qi Xing Tan. Hualien
has a very developed track for cyclists to cycle from Nan-bin park to Qi Xing Tan. I have heard that Qi Xing Tan is a very pretty and pristine place, so I cant wait to go there.
We set off from Nan-bin Park, where we had dinner on our first night in Hualien. Along the way, we past by the ports of hualien, and saw many lorries carrying stones. I thought to myself maybe my dad can set up a company here. Anyway, it was a pretty long journey, we stopped just short of the halfway point for a rest, then carried on. We were cycling towards a park when we past by a local family having a weekend break in one of a stone shelter.
Peaceful morning of the Pacific Ocean
They stopped us and we took a rest there. The locals were very friendly and they shared water and cheeries. No watermelon though, cos we stopped because they said they have watermelons. Anyway, they were very nice, they shared with us their lives. What was interesting is that they swam in the ocean to catch fish and stones and nice shells, and showed us some of the shells they caught. Not surprising, one of them is a chef who made puffer-fish dish. According to them, Japanese love puffer-fish, but they need some license of something to be able to be qualified to prepare puffer-fish. Here, anyone with the skills can just prepare puffer-fish. Our conversation soon turned to commercialisation in Hualien, because Hualien is a laid-back city where people from all over Taiwan would come for a holiday.
The "chalet" of the local family along our way
The developers come, built amusement parks, restaurants and hotels and that destroyed many of the natural surroundings of Hualien. True enough, I recall that the Ocean park was owned by a developement group called FarGlory. Anyway, to them, the ocean is like the swimming pool, they dont need any special equipment to just dive in and catch the fish. To them, it is their way of life. One of them said something about the treasures in the ocean. The ocean has much more to offer then we can imagine. I just cant help but to respect them. No one will dare to swim in the Ocean at the east side of Taiwan because of the steep variation in the ocean bed, but these people, they know how to handle the ocean and live their lives with the ocean. To them, throwing their children into the ocean is to that they know how to survive that ocean and face their future.
More Qi Xing Tan
To us, throwing ourselves into the ocean will mean danger and shall only be attempted if it gives us thrill. Heck, did I feel my mind opening up? I cant even answer for myself.
We lingered for a while, then carried on with our journey. Soon, we reached Qi Xing Tan. Our minsu owner and the locals we met recommended a place called Yuan Ye Mu Chang to taste the coffee there. According to them, the coffee there is the most famous as they used freshly squeezed goat milk. So, when we reached, we ordered one of each of ourselves. The coffee comes with a complimentary small piece of goatmilk cheesecake. At first taste, the coffee tastes weird, but as I continue to drink, the taste actually does not taste fully of coffee. Unlike the normal milk coffee, the milk actually tastes stronger than the coffee.
Stone with many patterns at the shore of Qi Xing Tan
I loved the cheesecake even more. But, it is not cheap. The coffee costs 180NTD, which is 9bucks here. That is not including the service charge.
After finally tasted the famous goatmilk coffee, we went off to take in what Qi Xing Tan has to offer us.
Qi Xing Tan is actually a crescent shaped bay, as the photo can show, with very clear bluish-green ocean water. Due to the depth of the waters here, there are many fishing boats. If you want to catch the freshest fish or try the freshest sashimi caught from the ocean, then you must come here in the evening. We were told that the boats come back to the shore at about 4pm. There, the fresh fish were sold at the Qi Xing Tan shore area. Too bad the fishing boats were still out in the waters when we reached.
The shore of Qi Xing Tan is full of stones.
And the stones are lovely, with different patterns on them. Thus, one of the favourite activities here is picking stones for ornamental value. I really dont understand why even the stones have to be soooo pretty. Anyway, they deserve a photo shot from me.
We had shaved ice, which kind of resembles ice-kacang in Singapore. It was just cooling because the weather is hot only hot, but we had just cycled for about 12km from Nan-bin park to Qi Xing Tan.
On our way back, we stopped by a winery, which I think is intended for tour groups. Anyway, we just went in to enjoy the air-con. As usual, everywhere we go, the first thing that anyone will say is "Aiyoh girl, why you soo burnt". We bought some stuffs and continued our journey back. We stopped by the local family "chalet" again, this time, more of the member were around.
They showed us puffer-fish which they just caught, and nearly showed us lobsters, because they thought we had never seen them before. True, we had never seen puffer-fish, but we had seen lobsters, so that saved them the trouble of getting lobsters for us to see. The journey back was much smoother, probably because we knew the way back. We head back to our minsu and then walked to the train station to check out the time of the train for our journey back to Taipei
the next day. It was a bad idea for me to wear my slippers, because, when we finally reached the train station, the slippers were only about 3mm thin and I was developing blood blisters. So, after we did our research, and applied for the youth travel card, we called a taxi and went back.
At our destination, we finally saw a road accident, but it was not fatal, not even serious. A car was turning into a small lane, when it knocked into a motorcycle. As I said, people drive with common sense, so probably that is why the motorcyclist wasnt even hurt when the car bumped into her. She just brushed herself and took her bike again and continued as if nothing happen. IF that were to happen in Singapore...hahah...my dear Singapore friends who drive, you decide for yourselves what we would have done.
Anyway, it was the last night here in Hualien, and we went out again to just have a walk around the city area. We went to a shop that sold sugar cane stuff, because we saw these products in the winery, and wanted to buy more for our family. The shop attendent were very funny.
Flock of birds
Because she recognised us from the winery (burnt skin again), she wanted us to take a photo with the boss after we had made our purchases. We had a good time just sampling the food products there and just buying things. The cashier is about our age, and she was soo amazed that huiling and me were travelling by ourselves alone for 10days in Taiwan. She was even more excited when we told her we were from Singapore, cos apparently Singapore appeals to her and she wanted to go to Singapore. We had a nice time talking to them, and I started to feel weird because tomorrow this time, I will not be in Hualien. Anyway, we did our purchases, packed our bag and just prepare for the second part of the trip in Taipei. One thing for sure, the youth travel card has recommendations of some good hostels that does not include 10cm big spiders. So, at least there is something which I can look forward to in Taipei