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For our last day in Taiwan, we went a little outside the city to a small railway line called Pinghsi (or Pingxi, there was no agreement on spelling!) that connected a few tiny towns for a fun day trip. There were about 8 towns on the line, so we visited 3.

First stop was the end of the line at Jingtong. It retained its Japanese-built station, and people could get out and walk to the end of the tracks. The train was about a once-an-hour deal, but Jingtong being the end of the line, stopped there for about 30 minutes, giving us plenty of time to get out and look around a bit.

Next we stopped at the main stop on the line, Shifen (literally the kanji for 10 and minute… weird). This is the site if a famous lantern festival, where thousands and thousands of paper lanterns are released with good wishes written on them for luck. It wasn’t time for the festival, but you could still release a lantern, and a good many people were doing it. We didn’t, because on the train we noticed tons of these lanterns littering the ground. I don’t think they are ever picked up once they fall out of the sky, and we felt a bit bad about that, so we just took pictures instead! We also walked to a nice waterfall for some pictures as well.

By that time it was getting dark. Our last station was Houtong, which was famous for tons of stray cats the locals feed. You can play with the cats, buy food and toys for them, and cat-themed things abound. Unfortunately for us, the later timing meant that things were closing up. We still got to play with some cats, but even getting a snack was a bit difficult. After waiting awhile, we finally got a train to take us back.

And for dinner, we met for the last time the gang, plus Tony’s girlfriend Tomoko was back in town. We ate in an area known as the “Harajuku of Taipei”, at a fantastic seafood restaurant where you could point to the fish/seafood you wanted, and they’d grab it and cook it up for you. It is a close call, but I think it was my favorite food of the trip!

After that, we said our goodbyes and went back to the hotel. I had a pretty early flight the next morning, so I caught a taxi early, while Kenji’s flight wasn’t until later, so he could sleep in. And that concluded our Taipei trip!

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On the train

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Ruifeng, the spot to change to the Pinghsi line train

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We grabbed some noodles for a bite

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End of the line in Jingtong

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Around Jingtong station

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Bamboo wishes in Jingtong

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In Shifen, everyone ignored the “don’t walk along the tracks!” signs…

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Lanterns and tracks

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Big suspension bridge

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Walking to the waterfall

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Pretty purple flowers

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Shifen waterfall

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Cats and Kenji in Houtong

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Walking around the station in Houtong

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Back in the “Harajuku of Taipei”

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At the restaurant

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Friends (and Kenji)

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Outside the restaurant