On our second day, I woke up very early at approximately 6 am! I was full of energy, which never happens to me in the morning (as Chris and my roommate Lizzy would know, I am typically a zombie before I drink coffee). The first thing I wanted to know was what we were doing today, but Chris, his dad, and I just hung around the hotel room and relaxed until around 8:30, when Chris and I went down for breakfast.
The breakfast buffet at the hotel was delicious! I had enough food to make me comfortably full. I love eating the Chinese fried donuts and the steamed bao. I also had some orange juice and a cup of coffee (with soymilk, my favorite!). After breakfast we went back upstairs to get ready for the day before walking to the Metro.
We took the Metro to Danshui, where we planned to ride bikes near the water. But today it was so warm! It was around 80 degrees and so we just walked around the area, through street markets and near the water.
The streets are narrow and crowded, and the buildings are quite tall, somewhat reminiscent of San Francisco, but in a totally different way. The markets are very small and crowded, and the markets in this area sold mostly meat. There were all types of raw meats and seafood, some cooked, as well as a few stands selling snacks.
I got my first real Taiwanese bubble tea and it was just as delicious as I thought it would be! Chris got a passionfruit and apple tea, which was quite sweet but also very good. I love boba so much but it is so expensive in the states — around 5 dollars a cup — and in Taiwan it’s only $1!!
After buying drinks we all went to eat lunch at a couple places, and we ate soup at each place. First, we had fish ball soup at this tiny restaurant on the street. The soup was a clear broth and the fish balls were white with filling inside. It was so good! Chris lied to me, though, and told me that the filling was pork when it was actually shark. I felt bad afterward for eating the shark, but at least it wasn’t shark fin. After this place we walked down another street across from an area with a statue of Confucius. It was neat! This next restaurant was at least three levels with each level being very small, and it was very hot inside. We had wonton soup, which I thought was very, very tasty but unfortunately I became so full that Chris’s dad had to help me finish. I was grateful that he wanted to, though.
After lunch, we took a walk around the street, rested on a bench, and then went to a boardwalk-like area near the water. The Danshui river is absolutely gorgeous! Chris thinks it’s okay since the water isn’t clear, but from a distance it is breathtaking. There is something so awesome about the juxtaposition of city and jungle, and Danshui is just that. Across the water are trees covering the hills of the land, with skyscrapers gracing the edges. I would have been so comfortable to sit and look at everything for a while, if not for the heat.
We eventually gave up on the bike riding idea since we were all so tired and hot, and we made our way back to the hotel via Metro. We took a two hour nap! It was fantastic!! Then, Chris and I relaxed for another hour or so while his dad left for the city and we eventually left to meet him. But before getting on the Metro again, Chris and I bought snacks at 7/11. 7/11 in Taiwan is much better than in America, and they serve all sorts of delicious snacks for really cheap prices. We bought an onigiri, a triangle-shaped rice ball covered with seaweed and filled with kimchi and pork, as well as a carton of orange-guava juice. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. I could have eaten ten more. Seriously.
We took the hour long Metro ride to Ximen, where we ate at Chris’s family’s frequently visited restaurant, Mei Wei Xiao Guan 美味小編. The food was delicious, as it always is! We ate with Chris’s dad’s family and it was so fun. After, we visited a night market, but Chris and his family said it was different than the Shilin night market or other ones that are larger. But here, I ate snake soup. It was a little scary at first because I am quite afraid of snakes, so I was making sure I didn’t look at any of the live snakes in the restaurant while we were eating. But the soup was actually not to bad! It was very herb-y and the broth tasted kind of like tea, and the snake was very bony with the flavor of chicken but the texture of fish. Would try again if asked, but probably not voluntarily haha.
After the soup we went to a massage place, where Chris, his dad, and I each got a shoulder and foot massage. It was so nice! Chris and his dad were in pain but I thought it felt so good. I wasn’t able to talk to the masseuse very well, but I did tell her that the snack was not bad but that I did not like to look at snakes, and she laughed and smiled!! (蛇 不錯， 我不看蛇。）
We walked around for a bit, went into a temple (see picture below) and then headed back to the hotel. I am so so tired as I write this so I will sleep now. If you have stuck with me this far, thanks so much for reading! I think I will post about each location where we are staying, so come back in one or two days to read another.