BONUS MATERIAL in this super long-winded post (fifth in the series of many!): Taiwan Celebrity-- Running Ron & Jogging Jacob and Tamsui Tam!
For lunch, Lewis brought us to Su-ao in Yilan county. What's a fishing port famous for? Seafood of course! He asked us several times whether we were OK with eateries that didn't look much, but we allayed his fears. Fishing boats aplenty at the place and temples, lots and lots of temples dedicated to Mazu. Made a quick stop at Suao Nantian Temple to take a look at the gold Mazu statue inside.
The place we ate at was just beside the wharf where the haul up the daily catch, so you can imagine how fresh it is. And the place looked very clean by my standards. At least it was dry and didn't stink. As SK was choosing the dishes, I looked at the peculiar leafy greens that the fish were resting on. The owner suddeny looked at me and asked me whether I wanted a plate of those vegetables. Told me they were very fresh, but difficult to digest-- rubber leaves. Cis! Ate like kings that afternoon-- two varieties of sashimi, stir fried calamari (thick and juicy!), vinegar-sugar fish fillet, stir-fried noodles, stir-fried perut ikan (super crispy!), stir-fried seaweed (a first for me, god texture) and a plate of vegetables. The portion was very large, the ingredients were fresh and just NTD200 per plate! And we had dessert too-- a waiter with huge arms! But no good pictures to share. :(. The couple next to us ordered about as much as us. Amazing. Before leaving, we went to the coast to take some pictures.
Headed back towards Taipei after that. For days, SK had been asking about Taipei's trademark food lu rou fan (braised meat rice is like the equivalent of Malaysia's nasi lemak), so Lewis dropped us at Formosa Chang to tapau a box. Basically white rice with fatty meat and egg. It seemed bathed in animal fats. Definitely had to be eaten hot, else it would congeal into a meat jelly. Not really for me. We did not go to Jiufen, so Lewis suggested that we go to Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf instead. Attractions-- sunset at Lover Bridge. Huhu. Upon arrival, we were presented with another cutesy example of Taiwanese English and Taiwan Celebrities: Running Ron & Jogging Jacob! Topless guys in silky nylon shorts running with a dog! Be still my beating heart! And there was also Taiwan Celebrity: Tamsui Tam.
The white cable bridge was crawling with students having their graduation trip. Like ants cimbing on a tree branch. Below, a lone busker was singing for the crowd and a girl which we suppose is his number one fan just sat there watching him for hours. Since the sun had not transformed to a salted egg yolk yet, we explored the wharf where we found more amorous couples and visitors. Straight couple hugging closely, lesbian couple yiyap on the bridge, a girl biting her boyfriend's pecs exclaiming that she wants to bite it off... the list goes on. Looked for the Lovers Bell that Lewis was talking about, but turns out that it was removed.
Later that night, we went to the Danshui Night Market for some food and look-see (couldn't really see much from the river front as it was very dark). Turned out to be our worst night market experience. We were given a must try list of ah-gei, iron eggs and fish balls. Boy, they were hard to find. The first item to be striked off was the fish balls. Basically they were Foochow fish balls. Not bad without the strong sesame oil taste that is common in our local version. The clear soup was good too. Missed the famous shop that is Ah Po Tie Dan. The eggs are supposed to be braised and dried for dunno how many times, ending up chewy and full of flavour. The last was ah-gei-- beancurd skin filled with glass noodles and sealed with fish paste, served in a thick, spicy gravy. The shop at Zhongzheng road had the most unfriendly staff I ever met in Taiwan. Seeing that we were drinking bubble tea, they warned us not to leave our rubbish on the table. And when we only ordered one ah-gei, they exclaimed in annoyance, "three persons only order one!?". And when we were done eating, we actually forgot to pay and this caused them to say, "even this most basic thing you forgot?!". SK just casually replied, "YES, WE FORGOT". I wouldn't have bothered to con them for NTD35 and stood outside loitering waiting for them to notice.
Went back to Taipei after that and checked back into Athena Ming Shu. Before turning in for the night, we went jalan-jalan at the gay area of Ximending. Near the Red House Theater, SK and KH noticed that a twink had dropped his keys, so we hollered after him. We didn't think much of it and continued taking photos, but the kid actually came and talked to us. He was a very cute Korean twink who couldn't really speak much English. I should have took a picture with him!!!! He was just leaving the gay area, perhaps couldn't cari makan in the Bear Zone. So we walked behind the old theater, and the gay shops started appearing. Expensive stuff. More to the back was open air bars and stuff, but we did not see anything interesting. Did not sit down for a drin either as we were quite wasted. Basically our fifth day there marked the end of our guided tour. Free and easy from then on!