Taiwan Trip - Day Two

The second day involved a lengthy bus ride all the way to Hualien. The entertainment we had were songs and chatter and mostly, sleep. Through out the whole trip around Taiwan, the weather was always raining or drizzling. The clouds hardly ever give way for the sun to pierce through or allow the blue sky to be seen. The background was plain and white as if the scenery was always in front of a white studio background.. Not good for any sort of landscape photography. Although the light is always diffused by the clouds giving way to no harsh light but it all seemed very dull. A challenge to make anything look interesting.

Our first stop for the day was up a hill and into Jiufen. Literally translated, it means "Nine portions". During the first years of the Qing Dynasty, the village here housed nine families, thus the village would request "nine portions" every time shipments arrived from town. Later Jiufen would become the name of the village. With the rain and up the hill, the weather became much colder, wrapping myself up with a hoodie to cover my head and a big black jacket that looked as if I could swim in. I hid my hands in the long sleeves as my hands were always busy with the camera, no time to placed them in the pockets of the jacket to keep them warm. Coming from a hot tropical country, I rather welcome the cold than the heat. Although, I'm sure it goes vice versa with people from the cold country, preferring a hot country over theirs.

As I continue to explore and observe the livelihood of Tawiwanese, I very much like the fact that they really love their dogs-- bringing it everywhere they go or simply have them in the comforts of their shops. I, for one, love animals and to see them coexist not in their houses but even outside their humble abode is a very pleasing sight. I enjoy street photography but never really had the courage to photograph people. Somehow, being a tourist gives me this unspoken passport to allow to take photos. Suddenly the fear of facing strangers isn't so strong anymore. And people truly are social creatures, always like to bring a smile to another's face even though we don't know each other. One of the photos below was a lady carrying her dog in her bag. In Malaysia, dogs and their owners are never seen in the streets. The only time you see it is when they go jogging and walking but other than that, you won't see it anywhere else as it is a Muslim country so places to go with your dog is unfortunately very much limited. Back to the lady and her dog. Seeing as I was fascinated with her dog as I was photographing it, she smiled and placed her Taiwanese sausage in front of her dog to make it look at my camera but the dog wasn't interested and had it's eye glued to something else. No matter, it was this simple gesture that made me look at her and her brother and smiled, an unspoken thanks and we part ways, never to see each other but for that brief moment.. it was like we were friends, simply taking a photo of another friend's dog.

As it was raining, I found this fluffy brown dog resting in a store. Excited as I was, I took photos of it and walked away. It looked wet and tired and for a moment, I thought that dog belonged to the shop owner. However, as I walked back to return to the bus.. That dog walked to another shop and slept there. Sure fooled me..

A beautiful temple with its guards over looking the waters and islands beyond the mist

People with their jackets, poncho and umbrellas crossing the street under the December rain

A lady making fishball (left) in this cold weather, a mountain of hot steamy fishball sit on the counter waiting to attract any customer who feels the need for their stomach to be warmed by them
A boy figuring which brush to buy for caligraphy
An interesting display of a Vespa with wooden little boots. I think it was a vintage store though I did not enter

The shopkeeper played beautiful music from a harmonica as my cousin was interested and bought one.
A girl painting beautiful harmonicas in shapes of ducks, owls, cats and many more

The owner tried to entice her dog into looking at my lens by baiting it with a Taiwanese sausage

The brown dog looking for shelter from rain

The scenery before we left the hilltops

We stopped for lunch near the Yehliu Geological Park. Taiwan's seafood is very delicious and hot food and hot tea tastes even better on a cold day. After lunch, we paid an entry fee into the Geological Park. It cost 50 Taiwanese Dollars. The expeience was a good one although I did not have time to explore much seeing as this is not a photography tour, time is definitely pressed, having an hour and a little more is all I had. It was a bit frustrating, battling against the wind, raindrops and limited time, photographing was definitely a challenge in this trip. Constantly wiping my lens to avoid raindrops in my pictures. I tried to place my camera in a direction that does not permit raindrops to land in my lens however, for the most part, the photos I want to take was in the direction of the wind.. The main attraction of the place was the Queen's Head but even then, I didn't manage to witness her majesty. I was too caught up with photographing the sea and everything else in between

A black fluffy dog sleeping so tightly trying to keep itself warm from the cold

it got up and decided to cross the road into another territory

another dog, however collared stands at the entrance of the geological park. a handsome usher

the view of an island through the trees

my cousin walking through the park

The Cute Princess

The Cute Princess II

waves crashing unto shore

erosion forms a beautiful outline.

This was quite a sad story. A fisherman saw a student drowning in the chopping waters and jumped in to save him but to no avail. The current took both their lives. This statue is to honour the bravery and sacrifice of this fine fisherman.

exiting the Geological Park

Our next stop was a biscuit factory. The name, I wasn't too sure. If I heard correctly, this amazing biscuit factory uses the same dough recipe but is made into hundreds of different cakes and biscuits. We bought back many packets. Their cheesecake was lovely. It was something different and unique than ordinary cheesecake. It was like-- a little cake but in it was the cream cheese. We also bought pineapple cakes (similar to pineapple tarts but it had pineapple filling wrapped in cake) it had a different texture and altogether taste slightly different than the orthodox pineapple tart. They have many stalls that sells different biscuits and cakes which you can try. They also have a chinese tea station at the entrance for those who are thirsty and enjoy a hot cup of tea, away from the cold weather. It was a nice aura and their toilets are very clean and beautiful. Going on a road trip, toilets are very important :P After that, we stopped at our hotel and later went into Jiqiang Night Market for our dinner.

The decoration in front of the entrance A bull (left), a biscuit mold (middle) and how a finished product of biscuits would look like (right)

The backdoor of the factory.

This set up was one of the biscuit stalls to allow people to try. It looked like a little chinese city. On the stall's roof holds these lanterns. Believe it or not, the sky is actually a painting of a ceiling

Seeing all that steam released from a sizzling plate of noodles on a cold night definitely looks appetizing

a lady in her bike ordering fries from a vendor

Interesting dish. This lady serves Taiwanese sausage (middle) wrapped in glutinous sausage (right) making it like a hotdog, only the buns are glutinous rice and serves it with little vegetables inside