回鄉啪啪走 No. 1 / Homecoming Tours No. 1

九份是知名的「悲情城市」電影場景, 也是使宮崎駿畫出場景層次及色彩都極度鮮明的「神隱少女」靈感所在地。 Jiufen is the famous location where the award-winning movie "A City of Sadness" was filmed; it is also the backdrop inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki's heavily layered and colorful "Spirited Away."

Jiu Fen in the rain

過去的四年, 每一次的返鄉都包括了太多紀念妹妹的活動, 並沒有真正的帶牛奶看看除了台北以外的地方。今年返鄉前打定主意一定要四處走走看看。剛好姊姊也從上海回台跨年, 於是我們約好在2011的最後一天一起頂著綿綿陰雨上山去九份。

We spent most of our time in activities for the memorial of my younger sister for the past four years of visiting Taiwan that there wasn't really any chance to show Milk anything outside of Taipei. Before heading home this time, I made up my mind to see as much as we can without jeapordizing family time. Older sis also came back to Taiwan from Shanghai to spent the New Year, so we made a date for the last day of 2011 to go on a day trip to Jiufen despite the rain.

Jiu Fen Tea House

以前每一次去九份天氣都很晴朗, 所以總是四處走逛。而這次下著雨的天氣讓我們專注於吃, 買買小物, 並且有時間好好的泡壺茶聊天。雖然沒有去到傳說中的阿妹茶坊, 但來到被列為「歷史建築」的九份茶坊, 我也讓牛奶見識到了真正的功夫茶泡法, 喝到了清香順口的梨山高山茶, 嘗到了酸甜的脆梅及香氣十足的竹炭花生。

It was sunny every other time I visited Jiufen in the past so we always had the luxury of roaming the mountains and exploring the alleys. The rain this time had forced us to just focus on eating and shopping. Fortunately, it also allowed us to leisurely sit and chat over some really good tea. Though we didn't make it to the famous "A-Mei Tea house," we stopped by "Jiufen Tea house" which is located in a preserved historic building. Not only did Milk learn the proper way to make tea in Taiwan, tasted the fragrant and light Oolong from Li Shan (Pear Mountain), he also got to taste two tea snacks - the sweet and tart pickled plum and the charcoaled peanuts.

All types of tea

炭燒的熱水壺及竹炭花生。

The charcoal-boiled water kettle for us to make tea with and the charcoaled peanuts.

Charcoal Peanuts with Oolong Tea

刻上貓圖樣的桌號。

Our table number comes with a kitty-clad carved stone.

Tea house table number

除了是一間茶坊, 從茶坊下層的後院還能直接連到一個藝術展示空間。茶館內除了喝茶, 還能看到不少陶藝品, 都為山中藝術工作者提供, 也有一些畫作, 是一個非常好的聊天休憩空間。因為相機沒電所以可惜沒有照到所有內部細節。

Not only is this a tea house, the lower level has a cute little garden that connects the tea house to a art exhibition area. The tea house not only provide great tea-tasting experiences but it also features quite a number of paintings and ceramic work by local artists. A perfect place to relax and enjoy some down time. It's a shame that I didn't get all the details of the beautiful interior... all because of the dead battery in my camera...

A little piece of haven

這天還做了什麼呢? 來了九份, 小食店林立, 魚丸湯是一定要吃的。

What else did we do that day? Jiufen is filled with small eateries, and the fish ball soup is one of the signature and must try.

Fish Ball Soup Vendor
Raw fishballs

隨處可見的紅糟肉丸。

The red yeast Taiwanese meatball, Ba Wan, can be seen everywhere in Jiufen.

Taiwanese Meatball - Ba Wan
Taiwanese Meat Ball

九份有名的芋圓, 可惜我們吃太快完全沒有拍到照。

Chewy taro balls, Yu Yuan, is the most famous and signature dessert from Jiufen and it's another shame that we ate too fast for me to capture any images of the actual dessert.

Taro Ball Vendor
Taro Ball Making

懷舊的咁仔店。

Old-style deli in Taiwan, they are absolutely lovely.

Old Style Grocery Store

木製家庭小物店。

Home accessories made with wood.

old style houseware store

手工的皮製小物。

Handmade leather accessories.

leather craft

這次天氣實在太差, 我們吃完喝完後雨竟然下的更大, 很多原本希望能看到走到的地方都一一放棄。非常希望下次回台時能遇到好天氣。為了這件事, 我們也認真的討論過也許下次應該要在別的季節返鄉, 而不是在溼冷的冬天。在此分享一些2010年我單獨回台在晴天時看到的景致:

The weather was just so miserable, after all the eating and tea-tasting, it was actually pouring. We gave up on visiting the place we had plan to, and we really to get some good weather the next time we visit. After leaving Taiwan, we actually had a serious discussion about this. It might be good for us to visit in a different season, not in the wet and chilly winter. But for now I want to share some photos from my solo-trip back to Taiwan back in 2010 when the weather was gorgeous:

Mountain top
View from Gold Mining Museum
From the top of the mountain
Mining Cart Tracks
Stairs, lots of them
Climbing to the MIne

每一次回鄉, 我總是為了改變而驚喜, 也為了改變而感傷。每一次的新鮮感讓我悸動, 但每一次的陌生感也讓我難過沒有在台灣看著這些轉變。而我有外國老公最棒的地方是, 為了讓他多看, 和他一起走看時也補償了我住在國外許久對台灣的思念, 每次也都學到很多。之前一直都不以為意的東西, 為了讓這個什麼都不懂的老公搞懂, 我反而也有了更深的瞭解。啊, 原來台灣真的如此可愛。

Each homecoming to Taiwan, I would always be surprised yet saddened by the changes. All the new things excite me, but all the rapid changes also make me feel a bit of an outsider for not being there to witness the growth. However, the best thing about having a non-Taiwanese husband is that my urge of helping him absorb the culture also forces me to see more with him. It really mends all the homesickness I had while in New York. I also find that I learn with him. All the things I used to take for granted, to make him understand from a completely foreign perspective, I learn to have a deeper understanding in the culture. And every single time I'm pleasantly overwhelmed with the feeling of just how lovely Taiwan is.