“I Wore the Right Shoes Today”
We finish browsing the Old Street. It’s 2 PM, but we don’t want to leave just yet—apparently, Jiufen is a full day trip and therefore we should stay for the full day.
“What else is there to do at Jiufen?” Kevin asks his parents.
“You can climb that mountain over there.”
He and I look at the mountain, then at each other. We both shrug our shoulders, “Okay!”
Looking up, Keelung Mountain is not a very tall. I think it’ll be fine to hike in my jeans and my not-sneakers shoes.
We prepare for the hike by taking off our outerwear and buying some water at 7-Eleven. His parents decide to enjoy some tea and rest at a tea shop, so they walk back into the Old Street.
The adventure begins: we walk along the side of the road to the mountain, and reach a small opening with stairs. We assume it’s the start of the trail.
Kevin is five years younger than me, but he’s always ahead of me on the trail. Rawr. Well, I’m ready to catch him if he slips on a stair.
I didn’t think I would be hiking today, so I wore some fake suede shoes I bought in Beijing last year.
“I didn’t wear the right shoes today,” I tell Kevin. Maybe the reason he’s ahead of me is because he’s actually wearing sneakers.
After twenty minutes, we stop to rest for a bit. We also take these awesome pictures, with awesome views of Jiufen.
A hiker jogs past us on the trail. It looks like he’s a local because he’s all decked out in athletic gear and has no bag—Kevin and I, on the other hand, look like obvious tourists, haha.
Ten minutes later, it starts to drizzle. We both think, Eh, it’s just a little rain.
Ten minutes after that, it starts pouring. But we’re almost at the top of the mountain. So we decide to keep going. I’m guessing the peak is maybe five minutes away.
We meet the sporty hiker again on his way down and he wishes us luck. It’s slippery, he says.
A few minutes later, Kevin and I finally reach the peak of the mountain, and we’re completely unimpressed.
We’re in a cloud.
And we thought that we’d get better views up here.
Plus, we’re soaked.
“Wait, don’t you have an umbrella in your bag?!” demands Kevin.
We try to share the umbrella on the way down the mountain, but it’s too small for the both of us and the stairs make it hard. Kevin’s a gentleman and he lets me use the umbrella for most of the way down. Still, it’s windy, so the umbrella is only semi useful.
My shirt and jeans are soaked, but somehow, my socks are completely dry.
“I guess I wore the right shoes today,” I chuckle.
At the bottom of Keelung Mountain, we get back on the road to the Old Street, now sharing the umbrella. I call Kevin’s parents and tell them we’re done the hike.
I buy some towels for us to dry off at 7-Eleven, and we wait for his parents to finish their tea.
What a day! (A full day, mind you.)
This is a true story that couldn’t be fully captured in my “So This Is Taiwan” post, so here it is.
Jiufen (九份) is a mountainous area in Ruifang District, Taiwan. It’s about a 1.5 hour bus ride from Taipei city center. Kevin and his parents (family friends from Vancouver) asked me to come along to Jiufen with them on my first full day in Taiwan.
If you’re curious, Keelung Mountain (基隆山) is about 600 meters high and about a 45-minute hike up.
Although being soaked in the rain is very uncomfortable, especially if you’re wearing jeans, I found it kind of fun. It reminded me of the many times I got soaked in Kanyawegi, Kenya.