what happens when you play the fool at the hotsprings
We got out of Taipei city to the hotspring town of 北投 Beitou, a 30min subway ride from the city centre. There, we saw another instance of Taiwanese civil engagement in action.
The beautiful Beitou HotSpring Museum used to be a public bathhouse that was first built when Taiwan was a Japanese colony. In 1994, the local government was about to tear the abandoned and derelic building down, but a Primary School teacher Ms Li thought it was a pity. She organised a petition and got enough signatures to save this gem. To restore the building, support came from all quarters - students, teachers,old tile makers, photographers, Beitou residents...Till today, the museum is run entirely by volunteers.
As a treat, J and I checked into this hotel where every room comes fitted with its own private bath - all slate-tiled, wood and pebble-lined floor. I was about to describe it as zen, but I thought it would be quite an oxymoron: zen luxury.
We immediately filled the slate pool in the room. The sulphuric water is pumped straight from the hotsprings and a sign on the wall tells us that the temperature if 55degree celcius. Oh, that doesn't seem too hot. Hmm. So first a toe...bearable...then a foot... You must be kidding me! There are people who voluntarily cook themselves!?!
But determined to make the most of our NT$5500 stay, we persevered. And as J says, "woo hoo, I'm cooking in a 麻辣火锅!" (spicy hotpot)
The sign reads "No cooking of Eggs allowed".
This, my friends, is Ma La Hot pot...or what's at the end of a Ma La Hot Pot meal.