I don't think I've had a more productive day since I've been here.
I stayed home Saturday night and put it to good use just chilling out and doing nothing that was in the least bit demanding. I watched Black Hawk Down and then proceeded to "watch" all the NCAA Football I could.
I watched most of the Florida game until the UT game started at 3:30 a.m. I am determined not to waver in my status as a dedicated Texas fan. So I went to bed wearing my burnt orange with my computer in bed next to me with the Internet radio stream of the game and the CBS GameTracker on.
I was in and out a little but I got through most of the game pretty easily.
I even woke up in and out for the USC vs. Ohio State game.
I love college football.
Despite the all-night football extravaganza (which will be pretty much every Saturday night/Sunday morning for the rest of the season) I got up at 10 this morning to go to Danshui.
I met a lovely couple from Georgia recently and they invited me to go on this day trip with them.
It was certainly the best idea ever. I forgot my camera so I have to wait until I can get Joslyn and David's pictures but for now I'll just tell you about our day.
Danshui used to be the primary fishing port in Taiwan (now Keelung is) and the place has a ton of history. It happens to be on the delta where one of the major rivers meets the ocean. It's also across the river from Bali another fishing town but I think that Bali is a little more modern.
First we walked around Danshui Old Street which is essentially a big board walk. There's a bunch of street food (and seafood, and street seafood for that matter) and tons of funny carnival games and arcades.
We walked all the way down Old Street up to Fort San Domingo which was built in the early 17th century when the Spanish came to Taiwan. Soon after the Dutch took over and rebuilt the fort and it has changed hands a couple of times since then. It was eventually used as the British consulate office.
Then we walked down some other insanely busy street until we got back to the riverfront where we took the ferry down river to the Danshui Fisherman's Wharf.
Now that fishing isn't the primary economy in Danshui the Wharf is essentially a big promenade/boardwalk.
We found "waffle trees" which are basically waffles in an elongated shape so you can put them on a stick. They were pretty good.
At the wharf we staked out a spot on the pier and watched the sun go down. The Wharf is situated on the sea wall (which totally makes sense) so it was literally riverfront on one side, ocean on the other side and the big blue horizon. It's kind of awesome to watch the sun go down on the ocean. Danshui faces west so there was nothing in the way.
Then we ferried back to Old Street and ended up at the Night Market.
The Danshui Night Market is much larger than the Taoyuan Night Market. But a night market is a night market. It's all food and cheap clothes.
Speaking of food, we tried so much new street food today.
I've already mentioned the waffle tree. We also had "shrimp" eggrolls, quail eggs, this super tall ice cream cone and this big dumpling turnover thing. I'm not sure what it's called exactly but it has rice noodles, leeks and eggs in it. It was really good.
I think it's a little easier to get up the nerve to try the street food when you either have someone with you. Even if they've never had it before and can't assure of how awesome it will be, at least it's a shared experience. Though none of us got up the nerve to try the squid on a stick or the squid balls. Maybe some other day.
Danshui was 12 hours very well spent and I feel so much more enthusiastic again about being in Taiwan. I think all of you commenters were right. I just have to force myself to get out there and do things. I feel so much better now.