Tell me, Muse, about the man of many turns, who many ways wandered when he had sacked Troys holy citadel.
Today we planned a voyage through Tainan to the original Dutch port area of Anping. The first street in Taiwan is said to be here. Along the way were many distractions, threatening our course.
First was chilled oolong tea. Refreshing, sweet and fruity.
Further along the road we saw a girl perched on a bamboo stool on the pavement with a bowl of braised pork rice. We pulled up tiny stools and asked the stall holder for two bowls of this food which she explained was called Ro Zao Fan. It was melting and rich.
When we paid, the stall holder gave us a gift of chilled hibiscus tea which was sweet and sour. Her husband fetched a bag of the dried flowers to show us. Such wonderful, kind people.
We continued and stumbled upon Tainan market. Piles of really fresh fish were being cleaved into pieces or filleted. Sushi stalls next door shouted “hello” and looked very enticing but people had already been drawn in and there were no seats left. The meat, veg and fruit produce on all the stalls looked very good quality, the freshness was visible. Best of all were the friendly, smiley stall holders making us feel welcome. We were tempted to stay, admiring the produce and eating but the pull of our quest drew us away.
We dropped down to the canalside and admired the garden designs. Old fishermen said “Niii Haaaooo” in a drawn out, relaxed fashion.
Our next challenge was public exercise equipment which you see in residential parks all over China. We were delayed by them for some time until minutes later we managed to subdue our inner athletes and continue our stroll.
By now the sun was high in the sky and fierce. We followed the exposed canal, grateful to the Gods that we had avoided the danger of cycling into it.
We saw trolls in a park but quietly bypassed them.
Alas, we cannot say the same of the modern sculpture garden where one shipmate was enticed by the ancient banyan tree, white bamboo and a mirrored walkway. Only the thought of food got her back on course.
Has the sun affected our minds? We pass a tree growing out of a building.
Finally, we pause for refreshment and taste the local fare. Local food gathered from land and sea, eaten by the locals for generations. Oyster omlet, shrimp rolls and fried oysters with ketchup.
Praise Poseidon we reach our destination and stroll around the ancient streets admiring trinkets designed for tourists and packaged sweets worth many gold coins.
Our adventure does not cease now though, for we must return back to our fourteenth floor abode. The hot sun has warmed the earth and with full bellies we hide in shade as we chart our course home.
After 100 metres we see a Creme Caramel shop. Our bellies are full but our legs are weary and the thought of rest overpowers us, so reluctantly we pull ashore and taste the soft sweet goo.
With bellies so full we are in danger of capsizing we set off again but soon we see a MANGO creme caramel shop and cry out to Zeus –
“Holy Zeus, why do you curse us so?” “We just desire the hard Asian mattress and slightly damp smelling aircon of our room but you keep delaying us!”
The mango creme caramel is fruity, sweet, creamy, very wobbly and very good. To ensure product consistency we also share a lemon cheese cake. It is consistent.
Zeus must hear our cries, for our voyage is mostly smooth sailing from here, as we roll our bellies homeward. The market is closed when we pass and most food stalls are closed.
The heat has parched our throats, so nearly home, we pull ashore for one last stop of iced Heineken Green Tea. (Well, it had to be done)
Does the adventure end here you ask? Do adventures ever really end?
After dark we attempt to find a night market for supplies but our sea charts fail us and alas we are off course, so we settle for an eel restaurant. Sour eel soup and fried eel with noodles.