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Keelung, Taiwan: Returning to the coast

Another view of the Hollywood-esque sign in downtown Keelung 27 June 2009

This is my second trip to Keelung. The first trip is here. So no long introductory pleasantries in this post. Tapping this out on my E71 as I go along, and with my fat fingers, the less I type the better it would be. Now that I've made my apologies, I'll let my laziness take it from here. Will make the pictures do all the talking.

This weekend the port is devoid of any large ships, unlike the first time I was here

And before I start a post about Taiwan, why not start with a photo of the bikes!

By train from Taipei central train station. 43NTD by TRA train. The tickets can be bought at any of the TRA counters, but may be a lot quicker to go to the basement next to the entrance gate to the trains and buy the ticker at the vending machine there. First mistake of the day for me. First train starts just before 6 am. I took the 9:34am train. Quite obviously I woke up later than planned.

The weather forecast is wrong today. Was expecting thunderstorms but got greeted with a years supply of sunlight in a day. Its hot as hell and I have a large umbrella from the hotel with me. Not a day I feel like spending wholy outdoors out of the shade! Taking bus 301 to the Dutch City (Taibaizhuang). Fare seems to be 15NTD. The bus is a small mini bus with blaring local radio in Taiwanese. Loud advertising, and loud old 80s style songs.

The first route I took was a deadend, but nice photo opportunities, so it was not a waste

Bus 301 is driven by a mute thug. Dropped me off at the last stop that looks like nothing much. A few exploratory walk, and it looks like the right direction is towards the sea and on the left is a little road up the hill. According to the map, this road leads either to the Baimiwong fort or a Power Station on the top of the hill. Temperature is soaring today, sunny by far.

Baimiwong Fort parking lot; who knows where those planes came from

View of the Port of Keelung from the fort

An arty photo of tourists on a hot day above the remains of the fort's guns

Baimiwong Fort with power station smoke stacks in the background

A better view of the power station

Got up to the top of the hill and Baimiwong fort is up here. The power station is at sea level and doesn't look as though there is a path to go down there. Nothing special about this fort, 3 big guns that are no longer there, and a hill top lookout that requires some extra stairs climbing. As with most places in Taipei, there is a couple here for a wedding photoshoot. I wander for a while, took a picture or two with the 2 cameras I have with me and then its time to go back where I came from.

Roadside construction crew on the long walk back to Keelung Port

Port cranes up close

At one of the temple I stumbled across on the way...

... you will always find appetizing street food anywhere in Taiwan

Was hoping to go westwards but there are no road other than a highway which I probably can't walk on. So the only way is to walk back towards Keelung and see if there are anything interesting along the way. So far this place is quiet. Very very quiet.

Fishing Village at Siehe Road

With a popular looking swimming spot

But what I'm interested in is the port itself

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This Taiwanese version of the Pinyin is confusing at best. Went on Zhonghua Rd (also labelled Jhonghua here) after emerging from the Zhongshan tunnel and went north west wards towards Waimushan. There are quite a number of cyclists here and they mainly ride mountain or touring bikes with straight bars but the trend now seems to be big bikes with small wheels. Looks to me like riding mules. Not my cup of tea. So I continue the walk and turned into Siehe Rd onto the coast. In front of 2 big fuel tanks there's a small fishing village with a temple, roughly the typical taiwanese village. There is a little area for swimming as well. Plenty of weekenders swimming. After a while shooting fishing boats it started to rain and the sky is starting to turn dark and I set -3 stops on my M2's sunny f16 setting.

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A few minutes rest (must have walked a few km in the hot sun) its time to walk back to Keelung. The shops are mainly closed this saturday except for the occasional beetlenut shop with bright neon lights and motorcycle repair shops.

Walked back to the main train station at 1645hrs and its time for a little ice mocha and catch up with a little blog writing at Starbucks.

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Because next would be a night out at the night market at Dianji Temple!! And so the warm rain of an almost tropical island started dripping, and now I'm glad I brought an umbrella with me! First off an oyster omellette (60NTD) egg on top, small oyster and lettuce inside and gelatinous paste at the bottom and topped with sweet sauce and something that looks like chilli but tastes like sweet red sauce.

Next up: starchy rice with mushrooms and a bowl of pork and viscous soup (70NTD). I think its enough, not going to stuff myself solid tonight.

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On the way back to the train station, realised I have sun burn on my shoulder and sandal strap marks on my feet. Body all sticky from the sweat and its time to take a 30 min nap in the train and go back to Taipei main train station. Time check 1826hrs, a good 8 hrs out walking and exploring Keelung. Fine fine hiking day today, though a little hot, next trip will require me to cycle to cover longer distances.

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*End of post*