Tamsui

Getz and I get a late rise thanks to Keaton’s after hours backhand. I must have somehow slept through the neighbor’s insanely loud tv this morning. We slip over to Eight Elephants and reacquire our rooms for another night. Don’t see any reason to leave really, the hostel is great and we’re getting used to the area.

Go down the steps to the EE lounge and Wham! “Wake me up before you go go” is playing. It somehow cuts through the hangover haze and it’s hard not to smile at that shit. We pay up, get cleaner, and hit the streets.

Back to the alley of food spots around the corner and we see a noodle joint filled with people. Man some noodles or pho sounds pretty good right now. We drop a few bucks and get two massive and delicious noodle bowls.

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Getz and I both throw some hot sauce in the mix and wow, it is no joke. Nose running, eyes watering, needing some extra napkins kind of hot sauce. Tastes so good I willingly suffer through the sweating and overheating. Killer spot, just what the doctor ordered. Good bye hangover.

TAMSUI

We jump the subway out to Tamsui district at the far, seaside port end of Taipei. On the long ride there Getz tells me about a date he once went on in this area (spoiler alert: it didn’t work out). I guess it’s popular for that sort of thing being right on the water and the sunsets there are supposed to be great.

There were a number of people sleeping on the Subway. I’ve noticed that the Taiwanese have an amazing ability to sleep, there are always a number of nappers anywhere you go. Subway, cafe, bar, everywhere, there is always at least one person having a nap. They just have an on/off switch I guess. It’s kind of incredible. It seems Tha Queebs comes by this trait honestly.

We hop off the subway and start to meander along the boardwalk taking in the scene. Really pretty spot and peaceful along the shoreline. The day is overcast and grey, seems like a good day to just grab a coffee. We keep walking along the waterfront until we find something.

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Strangely, we don’t find any cute coffee shops even though Agent Getz’s quite reliable memory is certain there are some along here. We end up at fairly upscale joint instead (can’t remember the name) and step in just for a coffee. I get a cappuccino and Getz nabs a coffee. The atmosphere is kind of strange, they are playing Xmas tunes but they’re the total church hymn variety. It’s decided, we can’t stand this for too long. One coffee and out. Of course, those coffees take for-fucking-ever to come out.

In the meantime, I hop on their wifi. Scott Weiland died today? Well shit, that sucks.

This place is super nice with a great view right out on the water, but we get our coffees and practically burn our throats out drinking them so fast just to get the hell out because the music is just soooooo so bad.

We head further along the water walk and, of course, we pass by all the cute coffee shops from Getz’s recollection. Damn, that would have been way better. Ah well.

A short stroll from the xmas church cafe we stumble upon San Domingo fort. Interesting, and very out of place, Spanish looking red wood and brick fort with cannons up on a hill overlooking the harbor. It kind of reminds me of similar English, port-side forts in parts of Nova Scotia, so it’s kind of odd seeing it here in Taipei. We take a walk up the hill and head in to take a look. The grounds are pretty cool.

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We go inside the fort and they’ve kept some of the rooms preserved with the furniture and decor from the era:

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But the place was also kind of weird because they’ve decided to take a turn from the period and history of the place and completely re-purposed the second floor to be dedicated to… happiness and successful marriage? The walls are covered in cute lovey-dovey stuff and words of wisdom on how to be happy. I mean, it’s great to be reminded of these things, but this seems like an odd spot to place this kind of thing instead of, say, the history of the fort itself.

It’s filled with stuff like these tips for a long lasting marriage:

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We leave the fort and start heading back down the hill a different way then how we’d come up, towards the waterfront again. We pass through a University campus which is quite pretty, kind of has that old brick, more European style similar to the fort. It feels like we’re in another country. There are a number of students in school uniforms milling about. I turn to Drisdelle and say “So this is the reason you brought me out here. you dirty dog”, implying that we’re here to perv on college chicks. He laughs.

A little further down the road and we pass by a High School. There are a number of students in school uniforms milling about. I turn to Drisdelle again and say “Ohhhhh, so THIS is the reason you brought me here, you dirty dog”. He laughs a little harder.

Just beside the high school we pass by a Junior High School. There are a number of students in school uniforms milling about. “Ohhhhhhhhhhh…. so THIIIIS is the reason you brought me here! Damn, you dirty dog”. We both start laughing. The joke is getting a little better and a lot worse.

After that we pass by an Elementary school. There are a number of students in school uniforms milling about. I just cast a disapproving glance at Drisdelle. We both crack up laughing.

We get out of the school district and back into the city a bit. There is a steep hill leading to a small central traffic circle. I like this area. It has a small town feel, but it’s still in the city. The clouds are dark, it may rain. We see a sign for craft beer. Yeah, it’s about time.

We walk in to this place and it’s just a tiny spot with room for about 3 people to sit on barrels in front of a short wooden bar. There is a double fridge packed with beers that I’ve never seen before and a couple of draft taps I also don’t recognize. Neat little spot, Agent Getz and I investigate our options and take some mystery brews to an upstairs balcony.

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Cool little spot (too bad I don’t remember the name of it). We chill on the balcony for a spell and go back for another round. The beers we try aren’t exactly knock outs but they still hit the spot at this point in the day. Here’s what we sampled:

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While we’re on the balcony Fur Elise keeps repeating in the street below and people are chasing a garbage truck down with bags to throw into it. I make a joke that Fur Elise brings all the people to the yard, my garbage is better than yours… and that Beethoven would be rolling over in his landfilled grave to know that his famous song now reminds people to toss out their trash.

The playlist at this craft beer joint seems to be on rotation and after hearing the same Fifth Harmony song for the 3rd time we decide it’s time to bottoms up and head back towards the metro station.

The sun is starting to set and the whole place is much more alive. Alleys of little shops are open now and Tamsui seems to be hitting tourism mode now that everyone is off work. We stop for assorted treats from a couple of the vendors and mow down on our way to the subway.

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Being the end of the line and basically rush hour, the metro station is jam packed with people. I think this must have been where Cake wrote the song Short Skirt, Long Jacket, every girl seems to be dressed like that here today. We squeeze in and survive a few sweaty stops to Zhongshan district, zsssht go the doors, and we step out looking up the hill to where the giant Grand Hotel rises above the treeline of the city.

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