Scenes from Danshui

I had a nice little Sunday. The weather was quite delightful – temperature only in the low 90s, and humidity somewhere in the low 60s. If you enjoy sweating a lot, but not collapsing dead, this is your weather. But hey, that’s what it’s like in Taiwan in the summer. Granted my test sample is quite small, but from what I’ve read and heard, this isn’t some freak heat wave. This is normal. My hostel, and many other homes and businesses, choose not to have a/c on during the day (or in my room ever). But I’m getting off-point here. I really did have a nice little Sunday.

Luckily, the subway line here (we call it the MRT) does have air conditioned cars, and I took advantage of that and went out to Danshui, a little suburb north of Taipei. It’s the last north stop on the main north/south line, so it’s about 40 minutes from the heart of town. Why would I go here, you ask? Well, because of what my Lonely Planet guidebook told me, of course:

Start with a charming Taipei-river suburb as your soup base, add equal parts college-town youth vibe and oceanside-boardwalk festivity. Toss in a healthy sea breeze and a hefty dash of old-world colonial architecture and you’ve got Danshui (Dànshuǐ), possibly among the coolest, and most unique, hangout spots in Taipei.

Fantastic. It was pretty cool. The town’s located along the banks of the Danshui River as it empties into the Taiwan Strait. Along those banks is a long promenade – on the left I had the river, with a gorgeous mountain across the way. And on the right there was commerce – shops, carnival games, drink stands, a few people singing karaoke to the passing masses of people, a lot more with megaphones shouting from one business or another, and tons and tons of food stands. I wish I could tell you what all the food was, but I really couldn’t tell. Some of it looked really good – I got a kabob type thing for about $1 (40 NTD), and the tallest frozen yogurt cone ever for 30 cents (10 NTD):

It had a fruity flavor and was reeeeeally good.

30 cents of delicious fruity coldness

Some of it didn’t look so great – I saw a few stands with gelatinous blob discs waiting to be gobbled up ( I forgot to take pics of those). And then there was the stuff you’d only see on this side of the world. I saw not one, not two, but like 10 or 11 different stands selling squid. Not like calamari squid, or even fried squid (where you have the tentacles battered and cooked up), but this was just like flattened squid on a stick.
Here, have a look:

Who hungry?

Who hungry?

Sadly, I wasn’t brave enough to try this, but I hardly think it’ll be my last opportunity.

All in all, I didn’t mind the heat, and it was really neat to just walk around and soak in the local flavor. I’d read that it’s best to go to Danshui at sunset, and so I got there about an hour before. And it really was gorgeous – the prettiest sunset I’ve seen since I’ve been here.

7-5 - Sunset

All in all, I hung out on this boardwalk for quite awhile. Upon reaching its end, I walked around Danshui for bit. I saw a couple more temples, though nothing nearly as impressive as from the day before. These were smaller temples, and both right in the middle of city blocks – you’ll be walking along and see like: shoe store, eatery, temple, convenience store. It’s really cool.

In fact, later that evening, as I was winding my way to the Yingchaun Rd. night market, I was walking through some back allyways (they’re all over the place here, and I find them to be just as interesting or moreso than the main streets), and I came across another tiny little beautiful temple.
Here, ya know what? Why don’t I just show you all my pics from my evening in Danshui:

Follow me inside, won’t you?


~ by Nick on July 7, 2009.

5 Responses to “Scenes from Danshui”

  1. I’m jealous of that frozen yogurt, it looks delicious! I’m also jealous of all the really cool things you are seeing and doing! I will be living vicariously through you while you’re there.

  2. Dude, I am so jealous. Awesome.

  3. […] of my trusty Lonely Planet guide book. It was fine, but of course as most of you are well aware, I had the only room in the place without a/c. This wasn’t that big of a deal – I just hung out in the common room or went out […]

  4. […] Insanity” portion of the segment, but my oh my… I saw this box of goodness while walking in Danshui – there were tons of little shops and whatnots along the river, remember, and these were […]

  5. […] weekend with some teacher friends from school. I haven’t been there since my first five days in Taiwan. Now that I have a slightly better grasp on this country, I’m pretty excited for the getaway. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: