Lugang (deers' harbor) is an historical town that was of economic and cultural significance one hundred years ago. As a legacy of this golden era, the city has many historical buildings and temples. The city heart is a labyrinth of colourful alleys. The city is also known for his Buddhist craft and tens of shops sell such artifacts. The most famous local dish is the beef tongue, a pastry of suggestive appearance. One of the most popular tourist attraction is the gentlemen lane:
In case a man was coming across a woman, he was supposed to temporally metamorphose into a contortionist to make sure that he doesn't touch her.
I spend a couple of hours in the local traditional craft museum. It is an interesting complement to the national palace museum in Taipei since its collections help to understand the living conditions of the average Chinese farmer/merchant in Taiwan one or two centuries ago. I spend more time on two interesting objects. The first one is a pair of shoes for a bound feet woman. When we think of their size (suitable for a 7-8 year-old kid), it is hard to imagine the pain women went through. Another interesting item is a copy of a mandarin examination paper, for the highest level exam. It is thirty or forty pages long. I would gladly sacrifice an ox to be able to understand these questions in order to appreciate their difficulty. As I am exiting the museum, I ask the receptionist where I can take a bus to Zhuang hua. She does not know any English and assumes that my Chinese is too poor to understand her directions. She therefore accompanies with me to the bus stop, a five-minute walk from the museum. Once more, I am stunned by the generosity of the Taiwanese people.
The train back to Taipei goes through the centre of the island, the montaneous part of the island. The sceneries are stunning. The lady sitting next to me suddenly asks me "Are you a high school student?" Rather unexpected. I reply that I am indeed a student, but a PhD one. She tells me that I am looking much younger than Caucasians usually do. Apart from that, she is an interesting person whose English is quite competitive (during my fortnight in Taiwan, she was the only Chinese I met to speak English almost perfectly). A Chemistry professor in a random university in the capital city for 20 years.
The receptionists in the Grand Hotel suggested me a cheaper accommodation close to the train station. Cheap for sure, but it does look like a love hotel. In effect, the hotel advertises on offer for a more competitive rate for a short stay. Another evidence: there are two condoms in the room next to the teapot.