Arrival Taipei.

Further to the blog posts I wrote last year here are just a couple more that I’ve just discovered in a diary I wrote at the time:

Straight after dumping our bags and having a cup of English tea we headed out for supper. The rain continued but not so heavily to dispirit us on our new adventure. Gwil and Fiona hastened us through traffic and down streets into Beitou area for some grub. As soon as we stepped out of the front door we were met by a procession from a nearby temple with floats and deities making their noisy way down the road.

It was very exciting. The floats were covered in flowers of all colours and they played load music and crashed symbols and drums. Traffic and pedestrians had to make way.

Hurrying us through the streets there was too much to take in. With the rain falling and the neon signs flashing and the mayhem of it all it seemed as if we had stepped onto the set of Bladerunner.

The first place Fiona had wanted to take us to was closed but we soon found somewhere to seat us. We sat under an awning amongst hustle and bustle of a noodle and beef broth seller on the corner of ……road. To Rich and I it was all new and as far from Bath/Bristol as you could get. We were loving it! I was a little apprehensive of what to eat but didn’t want to be too squeamish so popped down the slices of pigs ear without complaint. They were slightly crunchy and soft. Not unpleasant but not the best thing on the plate of sides. There were boiled peanuts, smoky tofu, seaweed and something else. We all had a bowl of beef noodles the Taiwanese national dish I think. It was delicious! Excellent pieces of thin beef in a rich broth with medium to fat noodles. After all the food on the aeroplane I couldn’t do the meal justice but ate all the noodles and beef. I just couldn’t manage the broth. We enjoyed a Taiwan Beer and soaked up the new atmosphere.

After food we continued down streets and alleys and were confronted by the procession again. There was a rival temple who also had a good float so the street was now very full with passers by congregating on street corners. We soon found out why….firecrackers were being laid down the length of the street. Fiona and Gwilym warned us to keep our distance as they fly off in all directions and are deafening. They weren’t wrong! Soon the street was full of smoke and ear popping bags and cracks. It was thrilling. After is was over the street was littered with pink residue from the crackers which looked a bit like blossom petals.

After all this excitement we headed home and crashed out in bed.

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