i had a blast at Jiufen, a small, colorful town in the mountains of Northern Taiwan. It was a gorgeous Sunday, uncomfortably crowded on the Old Street, but spacious and sunshine-filled on our hike through the hills.

The video above created by my buddy Michael Sun captures the trip well. so i'll let you watch that. I am super thankful to Mike for his camera work (most of the photos below also by him), Trini for driving and Kaizer for guiding, though we did get lost a couple times.

this reminds me to thank our compass rose, Phillip (see video & photos) the middle-aged man featured in the video and photos below). what a delightful, friendly man. we were hiking up a hill to - we thought - the jiufen gold museum, but something about it didn't feel right. we bumped into Phillip and asked. He said it would be a 1.5 hour hike. we were going the looonng way. we said No Thank you! Follow me, he said. we did. he told us he hiked these hills every weekend. he was from Kaoshiung but worked at GE in Taipei. I liked him and he liked me. OK, he liked all of us, but i swear he had special feelings for me. there was a lot of sustained eye contact. he spoke in english once he knew i was from America. I think he wanted to adopt me as his child and english speaking buddy. i would have declined the child request, but gladly accepted the role of buddy.

as we walked towards the museum, Phillip filled our heads with Jiufen knowledge like that it used to be a gold mining town discovered by the Japanese who made lots of $$ from these mining efforts. Money they used to support military programs during WWII. lots of POW torture happened there too. now it is a fun, tourist spot that attracts people from all over - taiwanese locals, japanese, HK and Chinese folks. How the times have changed, Phillip reflected.

Ok, half this post is about Phil. I just really liked him!! why am i so easily impressed and drawn to friendly taiwanese men?! alright, before this post gets weird, let me say goodbye. I'm going to write a little feature on Jiufen for Taiwan543. I'll let that be my text expression of the trip. I'll link to it once it's up. check back. X

Authorjustine lee