Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day 3 walk

Day 3: Dec 10. Fuji to Chinsan: 6 hrs
This was my first day walking with companions, who were in this case Jerry (Taiwanese) and Noel, (Australian). We started at Fuji fish port for a seafood lunch, went to the lighthouse, where there is a plaque saying that it’s the most northerly point in Taiwan. Then, past the point the lighthouse was on, there was a new bay with a big beach, undeveloped. As always, making progress along the sand was bit of a trudge. Then, we came across a water hazard – a small river flowing into the sea with a deep channel in it. After checking it out for a while, I tried it. I just barely managed to make it across, but the others declined. Noel is shorter than me, so it would have meant a crotch soaking for him. Jerry didn’t want to do it as he was wearing long pants! So, they went around, and I met them at the main road 20 minutes later. Back at the main road, we endured zooming cars, with occasional relief along beach trails. There were some picturesque areas of rocky coast, including one area that had a rock arch on the shore, and some rocky islets in the water with footbridges connecting them. A bit farther on, we passed a county wedding with some drunken teenagers staggering about. Then, we were on a long boring stretch of highway approaching Chinsan. There were lots of little cafes and restos along the way, obviously for Taipei tourists out on a scenic drive. A few hours of highway trudging later and we finally approached the beach. Just before the beach, though, we came across a madness of fishing boats converged on one area, although to a landlubber it wasn’t clear what they were after. Chinsan beach itself is quite a famous one for surfers and beach parties, and the water near the shore was dotted with guys in wetsuits, either surfing or waiting for the next good wave. There was a hill near the shore past the beach, and a great view of Yangmingshan’s north side, with a large valley running inland between steep hills for quite a distance, which looked grand in the orange sunlight at the end of the day. Beyond, in the distance down the coast, we could see rock formations and the jutting peninsula at Yeliou. We took a small road behind the beach, which connected to a bicycle path that led through some old farmland. The sun went down, and in the growing dark our route was beautifully peaceful, especially after the noisy road. This farm area was well irrigated, and water swooshed and blooped by in small channels. We got into the town proper, and found our way to the Old Street. It was the usual lively night market, but with one difference: people were walking down the street holding steaming plates of food! It was something that would have been totally normal at a banquet or restaurant, but this was neither. Of different ages and styles of dress, the people didn’t seem to waiters. There were only about four or five different kinds of dish, steaming hot and heaped like a restaurant platter. What was the deal? Soon we found out. They had a weird system there, where you buy one kind of dish at a stall that only does that dish, and then you have to find a seat in one of many restaurants! Tired and hungry, we did so ourselves, and enjoyed the excellent duck, which is rightly famous! Then, we took the bus home. Another good day!

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