We grab the bus out of Kenting to a little town called Fangliao where we’ll snag the train to Hualien. The train rolls out of the station just as we’re rounding the corner and the next one doesn’t come for a few hours. Looks like we have some time to kill. We walk around the main crossroads but there doesn’t seem to be much here. Fairly small place. There’s a pretty river with small fishing boats lining the docks, seems like a sleepy little spot.
After scoping the place out for a bit we decide to just stop in at some restaurant for a beer. The only thing on this place’s menu was eel. Eel noodles, eel pho, eel on rice, deep fried eel, eel on eel on eel on eel. Oh no actually they have some pig’s asshole we could try. Cranking up the anus tally, we get a plate to share. This one is decent with some great hot sauce. Not a hint of shit.
This little town seems to be swarming with invisible mosquitos. We’re all itchy scratch test dummies, Queenie gets a nasty one through her pants on her butt. She must have an allergy or something because her bites welt up like pancakes.
We kill the time scratching and having beers, finish up the tasty anus. On the way back to the station we grab some fresh juice to mix with our vodka on the train. Juice Dude makes us a grapefruit and orange blend.
Got enough for two rounds of drinks. In the shop was a cool bird that could speak Mandarin and a cute bulldog having a nap in a box. It’s a dog in a box!
Back at the train station we get three tickets. They’re in three different cars for some reason. Why? Excuse me? All together please, thanks. Oh yessssh. We mix up some cocktails by the tracks while Tha Queebs manages her bug bites.
On the train Drisdelle and I get a chance to keep the international crazy eight countdown tournament going. Don’t think we’ve played since Agua Caliente in Peru. Whooped his anus 2- zip. The vodka/juice drinks we mixed at the station are actually amazing and the train ride seems to go by quickly because of them.
We roll into Hualien in the early evening. Agent Getz and Tha Queebs both mention that the place is built up quite a bit since they were last on assignment here. I guess there’s a newer highway that shaves about 90 minutes off the travel time to Taipei, so it’s gotten more accessible. We looked up a decent seeming spot before leaving called Wow hostel. As soon as we get out of the train station its right across the street. A tall green monster on the corner rising 8-10 stories or so. Looks brand new. We stroll up and a pleasant fellow meets us just outside the door and invites us up to the second floor check in. This place is kind of swanky. It’s got a great vibe to it, lots of plants and greenery and some water cascading down the wall. Everything is quirky, fun, clean, and new. Looks like it was finished yesterday, and done really well.
They invite us to join them for movie night in the main hang area where they have a projector and some comfy seating. A handful of hostel goers are in there mingling, drinking, knitting, being hostel-y. The movie Into the Wild comes on. Good flick but we’d all seen it before. We get a dorm room with 4 beds and scatter our things amongst them. Cool place, good accommodations, I would definitely recommend staying there.
Not much time left in the evening so we amble out into the Hualien streets and flip on the bardar. Agent Getz could have sworn there was a decent bar just around the corner, but after criss-crossing the streets of Hualien a few times we decided it would probably be better to just look one up and cab it. We find a few potential targets and then I use white guy magic to summon a cab out of thin air.
We get to another area of town not too far away. There are 3 bars right next to each other; River, Social, and All Star. We head into the River first since the one in Zhongli treated us so well. It’s a divey kind of local bar. We post up and get some drinks called Godfathers, which is Jack Daniels and amaretto. You can smoke in a lot of the bars in Taiwan, and this place has that kind of atmosphere. We spent some time hanging out, chatting up the bartender who rewards us with some specialty shot.
After a couple more godfathers and perusing the bar stock we spot a bottle of absinthe and decide it would be a good idea to get some. They break out the glasses, absinthe spoons, sugar cubes, and torch, and that’s when things took a turn for the stupid.
Finish up our neon moon juice and mosey over to the All Star. This place is a little larger, has a stage that’s already set up for a band but they’re doing the karaoke thing. There are several groups of people, this seems to be where white people gravitate to. A server guides us to a table. We get some more cocktails and some grub. Haven’t eaten since that pig anus. Queenie convinces us to try something. Deep fried chicken bones. They’re not bad. Jamie doesn’t like the texture. It’s crunchy. I kind of like them.
The karaoke is being dominated by some guy/girl combo. They have great voices but every song is a slow, sad minor tune and we’re not getting that type of gooned tonight. Drisdelle busts up the monotony with a spicy rendition of George Michael’s Faith. White guys around the room are digging it, people are singing along.
Afterwards, this Chinese girl comes over to our table and sits down with us. She’s snockered. The conversation was baffling. I don’t think it was because we were hallucinating from the absinthe. I think this girl was a nutbar. She’d ask us a question and then take the response completely the wrong way. “Oh you don’t like Chinese girls?”. Ahhhh what? We never said that. We’re being very polite but she continues to craze out. “Do you like living in Shanghai?”, “Of course I like living in Shanghai, I’m Chinese, why would you say that?” ahhhhhh just making convo, ok we can’t say anything right. Queenie is getting agitated with her, the girl keeps talking to her in Chinese but I don’t know what’s going on. We’re all uncomfortable at this point so I say “We should pay up”. Queenie pulls out her wallet and the girl snatches it from her. “No, the women do not pay”, “ok, ok, I was going to pay anyways”, Queenie is staring at the girl in a way I’ve never seen. Looked like she was going to punch her face off. Very UnQueebs. “Give me back my wallet!”, “No no the men will pay”, Queenie grabs it from her and stands straight up, “We’re leaving!”
We get outside and cab it back to Wow. Queenie is outraged. She’s so mad at this girl. Apparently the Chinese girl was hitting on us like crazy. It didn’t appear that way (because if she was she was failing at it miserably), but Jamie and I weren’t privy to half of the conversation either due to the language barrier. Queenie was livid, stomping and cursing out in the Hualien streets. It was bizarre. I think we should maybe lay off the absinthe for a while.