On Saturday afternoon I met up with Todd at Taipei Station and caught the train down to Hukou. From the train station we headed to the home of Michael J Klein and Hui-Chen for the grill party. Todd and I were the first to arrive. We headed up to the fourth floor of Michael's home where Todd and Michael compared their Nikon digital SLR cameras. A little later Michael Turton arrived along with Mark. Michael J Klein pulled out his twelve string guitar and played some tunes.
As it got dark we headed over to Xiao Hui's Thai Restaurant. Michael and Hui-chen set up the grill and got the charcoal burning and not long afterwards a whole lot more guests arrived to get the party started. A lot of people who I was familiar with from their blogs, but had never met in person were at the party. It was great to meet Andres, Karen, Jerry, Becky, Carrie, John, David and Cathy.
The evening progressed and everyone enjoyed some delicious grilled meat and Thai dishes. I am consistently disappointed by the Thai food in Taipei, however Xiao Hui's food is great and the prices very reasonable. If you want to experience some good Thai cuisine then it is well worth the trip to Hukou.
After everyone finished eating they moved inside to start singing some karaoke. You may not know it from reading their blogs, but there are a couple of Taiwan bloggers who are also great singers. I didn't take many photos of the food or the party, but I suggest you check out the New Hampshire Bushman's photo stream at flickr.
The next day Michael and Hui-chen took me on a tour around Hukou and Zhubei. The first stop was the Xinpu Yimin Temple (新埔義民宮).
This temple was established in 1789 to commemorate the victims of the Lin Shuang Wen and Dai Chao Chun uprisings. It is a very important centre of worship for the Hakka in Taiwan and the Yimin Festival is held here during the seventh lunar month.
Next stop on the tour was the Hukou Old Street. The architecture is very similar to the old streets in Daxi and Sanxia.We discovered the remnants of an old railway line in the area and a park called the Hukou Station Park (大湖口車站公園). A sign near the temple said the railway line and station were built there in 1886. However, according to several references I have construction of the Taipei to Keelung line didn't begin until 1887 and the Taipei to Hsinchu line opened in 1893. The date might be wrong, but I assume this place was the site of the original railway line and Hukou Station. The Hukou Station is now located some distance away.
The final stop of the tour was Ding Feng Yuan (鼎豐園) in Zhubei for some delicious xiao long bao (小籠包). Many thanks to Michael and Hui-chen for a great party!
This wasn't the train I caught home, but I snapped the EMU700 at Zhubei Station. More of my photos here.