Saturday, April 16, 2011

week 29_Hualien, Taiwan

Hualien, Eastern Central coast of Taiwan
 Next, we continued our vacation in the nearby town of Hualien, Taiwan. As mentioned previously, I haven't spent much time outside of Taipei, so I was certainly looking forward to exploring a new town. We checked into a different hotel, the Beauty Stay Inn, and were pleasantly surprised by the room. The hotel was older (and much more affordable than our first hotel) but has been updated recently and was very clean, modern, and spacious - I'd recommend it to anyone visiting Hualien who doesn't mind staying in town (ie not on the beach). Our hotel backed up to a river that flows through town out towards the ocean. They had bicycles for rent for anyone who would like to bicycle around Hualien or along the riverside - which looked like fun! 

After we'd settled in, we decided to explore a bit, and took a taxi to a night market on the other side of town. This particular market specialized in food (only) and there was lots of variety - everything from stinky tofu (no thank you!) to bubble tea, to noodles, fried squid, and so on. The husband and I were both feeling adventurous so we had quite a sampling as we meandered along: popcorn chicken, french fries, bubble tea, fried squid stuffed with rice and drizzled with sauces, grilled skewers of bell pepper, bacon & onions, chicken,  and probably a few more things I can't even remember... plus some caramel popcorn for the road.   
Hualien Night Market
One vendor in particular had the longest lines and seemed to be more or less famous with the locals, so we made sure to order some of their grilled skewers. We stood in line for what seemed like ages and filled our basket with the uncooked skewers of our choice then took a number and waited for our order to be called... probably an hour or so later, we were finally up! I think our ticket was number 114 or something like that! And... by the time we finished those skewers after having walked around munching the entire time, we were stuffed and tired!
The MOST popular food stand...
Sadly, I started feeling sick shortly after; it seems my adventurous eating had caught up with me. Although I had hoped we could enjoy the next day exploring the town, I started feeling sick that same evening and was not yet better by the time we had to check out of our hotel the next day. Yikes! Walking all around town with an upset stomach = not my idea of fun... but my poor husband was patient with me and we tried to make the best of it. For the rest of the afternoon we wandered Hualien on foot. We walked along the riverside, and walked to a pier to look out on the ocean. That was about all I had in me, so we headed to the train station early (sorry hubby!).

I hope we get to go back sometime and I will be more cautious about what I eat... because when it really comes down to it... what I remember about Hualien = food poisoning!!!

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