This past weekend was a double holiday. Monday was Children’s Day, and Tuesday was Tomb Sweeping Day. Tomb Sweeping Day is a day when one would visit the tombs of their ancestors cleaning them up and bringing gifts of food and ghost money to place on them.
To enjoy our 4-day weekend some of my friends came into Taipei on Saturday night, we had a low-key night of going out for dinner and drinks before we all crashed at my place. The next morning we woke up and made our way across town to Taipei Main Station to catch a train to Toucheng, a town about 2 hours southeast of Taipei. The first train arrived and hundreds packed into it, we decided to wait an hour and get on the next one… About 20 minutes before it arrived, we staked out a spot on the platform, and as soon as the doors opened we ran in and slid into a seat. It never got as crowded as the earlier one, but there were still lots of people standing.
Upon arriving in Toucheng we found the hostel we had booked and threw down our items. After speaking with the owner for a while, we decided to locate the beach, we got turned around a few times, but since it was such a small town, we found the park eventually. The beach there wasn’t the swimming kind, the waves were a bit fierce, there wasn’t much sand, and most of the beach was taken up by a concrete structure. We sat there for a while and looked out at the beach when a man came over and talked to us for a while. He was apparently visiting his parents and had taken a bike ride down to the beach. We ended up talking to him for a while, and he took us out for tea when we got back into town.
After tea, we were all hungry, and so our new friend took us to a restaurant that he knew. It was about NT$350 a person ($12 US.) What we got for that was amazing. There were clams and vegetables, fried rice, fresh prawns, fish soup, fish and vegetables in a sauce, squid with chili sauce, and a couple plates of vegetables. It was a feast of dishes (here you usually order a lot of plates like this and then split them, putting what you want to eat into a small bowl.) Weirdest thing I ate at dinner: a fisheye…. yum jelly-like…
Having finished consuming our festival of seafood we began heading back to the hostel but made one final stop on the way. We got ice cream, but the flavors were a bit different from those back home. It came with three scoops: pineapple, red bean, and taro root. Taro root is big here, it’s sweeter and there are such products as taro milk, taro cake, etc. Red bean is also pretty big, the ice cream was a little sweet, but it wasn’t very good… After so much food, you can believe the evening ended in a laidback night of cards and food comas at the hostel.