Neiwan was the place to be over Chinese New Year break. Of course, we didn't know that when we hopped on a slow train there. Having been to the small village of Neiwan once before to see fireflies, I warned Sean that it was not going to be a happening place. I thought it would be sleepy and deserted on the random Tuesday afternoon we chose to venture there.
I couldn't have been more wrong!
I started to suspect I was once the (adorable) train we were on was standing room only with people crammed into every carriage (with poor Sean crammed against the door). However, nothing prepared me for the madness of Neiwan's holiday market.
A friend put it well though: "there's a lot of us and not a lot of places to go"-- meaning, Taiwan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and all of that population lives on a pretty small island. I mean, five Taiwan's fit in Washington State, my home state, alone. Plus, Chinese New Year is a holiday practically everyone has off.
Suffice it to say, Neiwan was a happening place.
Neiwan's main road is called Neiwan Old Street. It is one of many old street's in Taiwan that is well known. The majority of goods sold at the market are Hakka goods (the Hakka are a group of Chinese).
Truthfully, nothing really struck our fancy at the market. The smell of stinky tofu was overwhelming, and so was the immense crowd of people. That said, we did have fun wandering through the market, over the bridge, and towards the mountains.
While I don't think I will be going to Neiwan again except on the back of my scooter to see the fireflies, it was still a fun misadventure on a random Tuesday afternoon!