Singapore Adventure

Monday, November 28, 2005

Danshui Fisherman's Wharf: Part I
by venitha

Several free hours between train and plane leave us time to explore Taiwan's . It's a pleasantly overcast November afternoon, and a stroll hand-in-hand along the riverfront, revelling in a cool light breeze and taking in sights both exotic and familiar, could not be more enjoyable. A lovely harpist weaves a soothing musical backdrop, casting a calming net over the crowded walk along the shore.

Families have come to Danshui to escape the hustle and bustle of nearby Taipei, and children are sweetly spoiled with precariously tall ice cream cones and pastel puffs of cotton candy bigger than their heads. Danshui subscribes to the "If you deep-fry it and put it on a stick, they will buy it" maxim, but having grown up in Wisconsin, Jim and I are hard to shock or to tempt in this realm. We opt instead to sample the local claim to fame, the iron egg (rubbery, but not inedibly so), and wish the corn-in-a-cup place were open.

We also pass on small fried eggs on a stick (incredibly cute) and on Taiwan's version of the little green worms (not so cute), but there's always room for our usual: fresh fruit. Taiwan's guavas are uncommonly sweet, though vendors have to be vigilantly prevented from drowning my bag of guava slices with sugar, laced, no doubt, with tangy plum powder. Delicious, but unnecessary.

We spy a ticket booth, and Jim makes me smile with his pantomimed purchase from the handsome young attendant, who in turn makes me laugh aloud when he responds to Jim's xie xie (thank you) with You're welcome, in a perfect American accent. A minute later, we are aboard the ferry to the Fisherman's Wharf, which Lonely Planet labels "plainly for tourists," and how exactly that will differ from our previous locale is a question we ponder on the ten-minute high-speed ride downriver.

Will the ubiquitous corn-in-a-cup stand actually be open?
Will the deep-fried-and-served-on-a-stick selection be vastly superior?
Will we finally come across that staple of the American deep-fried scene, the Tom Thumb mini-donut?