It’s our third week in Taiwan, and second week of school!
We are getting used to the weather here, and can now walk to our different classroom buildings across the HUGE campus without Google Maps. Well, most of us, except perhaps me. (It is about many many times the area of SUTD okay)
LIFE IN THE DORM
Nothing beats some quality one-to-one time with your roomie, over salad (as dinner) and movie, in the comforts of your own room. And I started my week (Sunday) with Haiyan doing just that!
Submitted my first homework in NTU during class (like any good student would heh). Most of our homework here have to be submitted in hardcopy, which is something rather old school, but I strongly prefer (learnt this term in Microecons) to uploading a softcopy.
This week is still within the add/drop period, so most classrooms are packed with people trying to check out the course material (or professor). Thankfully, the content has been manageable for me so far.
The highlight of this week! The few of us planned a trip to Tamsui for the weekend. Tamsui is well-known for its beautiful sunset and for being the place where the Taiwanese singer Jay Chou’s high school is at.
Haiyan, Nicholas and I took a train from the MRT station near our dorm, Technology Building station (科技大楼站) directly to Tamsui station (淡水站). It was 35.9 deg C! But the heat didn’t stop us from exploring the streets of Tamsui.
First stop – Old Tamsui Street (淡水老街)
The streets were slightly crowded, and there were stalls selling a wide variety of goods, from food, to toys, to more food and more toys! Wilfred bought a gigantic cake from a shop to snack on along the way. We walked and ate as Wilfred tried his best to cool us down with some lame jokes. He legit has a whole bank of jokes in his brain!
Second stop – Tamsui Church (淡水礼拜堂)
The church looked beautiful from the outside, but we weren’t able to explore the architecture from the inside because they seemed to be having a church service at that time. So we moved on after taking a few photos of the pretty church.
Third stop – Fort San Domingo (淡水红楼)
We almost barged into this attraction illegally, without knowing that we had to purchase tickets first. Thankfully, our NTU student cards granted us free access into the area, and we entered with much excitement. The first building we visited felt like a mini version of Singapore’s Fort Siloso, with retained furniture of 2 tiny prison cells, a small kitchen, and a toilet. The second building was a stark contrast to the first. It felt like a house for a British official. It had paintings, rooms, and balconies with a sea view.
It was an intense history lesson for everyone, because their walls were filled with information about the history of Taiwan and Tamsui. But I started to appreciate Taiwan’s rich history, how Taiwan came into being.
Fourth stop – Aletheia University (真理大学)
We rested at a convenience store in the university, and bought some drinks to cool ourselves down for a bit. Finally, some rest! We felt better after some aircon, cold drinks, and a tasty sweet from Haiyan, but the moment we stepped out, we almost went back in again. Just a stone’s throw away were a group of university students dancing away, under the merciless heat… And all of us applauded them for their “heat-resistance”.
Well, life has to go on even with the heat… Ok, maybe with an umbrella, and perhaps, a (manual) fan.
As we checked out the map of the school, I slowly realized that the university has close links to Christian missionaries from the Presbyterian church. 真理 meant truth in Mandarin while Aletheia is the Greek word for truth! How cool is that?
Fifth stop – Tamsui High School (淡水高中)
Jay Chou’s little fan girl (no pun intended), Haiyan, brought us here for a short while, just to see the school where Jay Chou studied in during his high school years. Interesting fact: a famous scene in the movie 《不能说的秘密》was filmed here!
Sixth stop – FOOOOOOD (文化阿給)
Finally, it’s my favourite part of the day – lunch! (I’m always excited for food hahah.) Yay! We walked for a bit to a shop where Jay Chou had his meals when he was a high school boy. According to Haiyan, he always ordered 3 items: fishball soup, agei, and a meat bun. And so, these three make up the “Jay Chou meal” (周杰伦套餐) which almost everyone in the queue ordered.
*Agei is quite a special dish, some taupok with tunghoon wrapped inside and a special (spicy) sauce drizzled over it. You can even choose the level of spiciness according to your preference. (中辣/medium is slightly too spicy for me, but it’s really quite addictive.)
After some food, we walked back to where we came from and found more food nearer the train station, a whole 2 streets of food, and game stalls, like Singapore’s pasar malam.
Seventh stop – Tamsui sunset
From the train station, we then took a bus to Tamsui’s fisherman’s wharf (渔人码头) to catch the sunset. The sun shone onto the waters, making it glisten, while the sea reflected the sun’s image. The sky turned a little red, orange, yellow, blue, dark blue, behind the bridge (情人桥)…. (Sorry for the limited vocab. I have watched many sunsets but each time, I still cannot help but praise God for His creation – no 2 sunsets are the same!) It was simply beautiful! And so much so that Nicholas tried to do a time-lapse (he froze there for about an hour). Regardless of how the time-lapse turned out, I applaud him for his perseverance to hold still throughout.
We bought some fried cuttlefish (花枝酥) on the way back as our dinner and stopped by a small garden where a really good street busker was singing away. It was a really enjoyable trip for all of us! A pity Shajini didn’t join us this time, but I’m sure we’ll come back again in our 5 months at Taiwan!
Haha I think I’m quite long-winded, but in summary, this week is another blessed week for myself, and Taiwan is really nice~
Oh, and we discovered this amazing shop【師大第一腿】 which sells amazing food along 118 street! Hope I am not making you hungry while reading this late at night, but it is really good and cheap. 100 NTD = 4.5 SGD for meat, 3 sides, free flow rice, drinks and soup.
Signing off, Group 4