Time to Start My Day
I woke up about 8:00 on Sunday Morning. I had a great sleep. My only issue is that the rooms were pretty stuffy, as there weren’t any windows. The wifi was pretty strong so I made some phone calls via Kakao. After, I made a trip up to the roof to look around. There was a clothing rack up there, some snacks to purchase and a lounge area. The roof gave a nice view of Central Park and the surrounding areas.
By 10:30, my day bag was packed and I was headed out the door. The plan for Sunday was to go to the Sugar Refinery. Yesterday I arrived too late for it, so today I wanted that to be the first thing on my list. One of the workers at the hostel told me of a place near the refinery where I could eat breakfast.
I had some pineapple pieces leftover from last night. I ate that on my way to the bus train station. My stop to the sugar refinery was Ciaotou Sugar Refinery (R23A exit 2). It was about 30 minutes away. Getting there from Central Park station took about 40 minutes. When I got off the train I saw something that said Traveler’s shuttle. I was curious about where it went, but the worker misunderstood my questions about the destination. I settled for a shuttle schedule. I figured it may come in hand later.
Liuhe Night Market, Taiwan
The Sugar Refinery
The restaurant was easy to find. As soon as I walked out of the train station, I walked straight. To the right, before crossing the street, there was a hut selling dumplings. The workers didn’t speak English, but she had a menu with pictures. I ordered two dumplings. They were large and filling! The kinds I ordered were the Original Steamed Pork bun for 25TWD and a Brown Sugar Steamed Pork bun for 30 TWD. I sat down on the side of the restaurant. They had tables set up under trees in the shade. I devoured the Brown Sugar one first, and it was really good. The pork filling was seasoned very nice and the dough had brown sugar mixed in the dough, which gave it a nice touch. By the time I finished the first one, I was too full to eat the second one. But I did take a bite of it to see how much of a difference the brown sugar made. While the Original was good, the brown sugar was a nice difference.
Across from there was an open area filled with small shops. There were rows of about 6 gift shops enclosing an area where a guy was singing Karaoke. I walked through some of the gift shops, thankful that I purchased the post cards yesterday as they were much cheaper at the store near Pier 2. I sat and listened for a while. The singer was into it. The older people seemed more fascinated with looking at me, then the performer. So I stayed a bit longer than I wanted to so that they could indulge in my big hair and glistening dark skin.
Past that area was a parking lot and another building with more singing. I saw a little window in the building and people beside it eating ice cream. I went up to the window and said, “Ice Cream.” The woman gave me a little menu with three options- no pictures this time. The cheapest one, I assumed was vanilla. The other two I had no idea about. I picked one of the mystery two because I didn’t know what they were- I like subtle adventures ( as long as it doesn’t involve heights). When I got my order, it turned out to be red bean, which I’m not particularly a fan of. However, I ended up liking it. There were benches on the side of the building. I sat and took my time eating. I sat and thought about what I would do next. Up until that part I expected more of the “refinery.” I know the comments on Trip advisor and the hostel worker said it would be boring, but I didn’t think it would be just a few gift shops. So as I ate my ice cream, I noticed people coming in and out of the building I was next to. I figured it was just a store dedicated to selling ice cream- which I had enough of. However, when I got up to throw my ice cream away I noticed it was more like a little market.
I love markets and post offices. To me, markets are the best place to buy authentic things. I walked inside and grabbed a basket. I saw something called mushroom cookies. I picked them up. I love sending and sharing edible souvenirs. I didn’t know who I would share them with just yet, but I knew I wanted them. I also purchased one more ice cream for the walk back to the train.
Right outside of the train station I ate my ice cream. There were signs that say no eating or drinking all over the train cars. I didn’t know if those rules were really enforced or not, but I didn’t want to take chance. My feet were starting to hurt a little bit, but I felt a little disappointed for coming all the way there and not seeing this “Refinery.” From where I was sitting I could see inside the terminal. There was a company that rented out bikes. They had a big map with pictures on the side of their Kiosk. I asked them about the Sugar Refinery and they pointed me in the direction I had just been. Turns out I was near it all along. I just had to keep walking further. Everyone was right. It was boring. I spent a total of 5 minutes there. I took a picture of this refinery building, but I didn’t go inside; nothing looked interesting to be honest.
Journaling on the plane, headed back to South Korea