Hot Pot

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.


monk said…
rooms with hot spring baths . . .

as if i needed another reason to want to go myself :)

the travelogue's been great! how much longer?
ampulets said…
our trip ends on saturday :<

well, today we are off to Jiu-Fen, which promises to be pretty. will maybe write and put up more pics tonight!
tscd said…
That slate bath sounds glorious! I'd have spent hours splashing around in there. Were you overcome by the sulphuric fumes?
ampulets said…
The fumes from the actual hotsprings were pretty horrible. In some parts of the town, the fumes would also rise from the certain drain covers (?). But somehow in the hotel, we didn't really smell anything.

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