After almost 48 hours of flights, layovers, and just trying to get around, I’m finally in Taipei. It’s a surreal experience. You almost don’t realize you’re not in your home, a place you recognize. On the way here, as the road ahead of us stretched far, I could see a cityscape, not unlike New York’s. It was sad, I could almost trick myself I was still back home.
However, this experience so far has been incredible. I can say that, and I’ve barely been out of an airport for more than a few hours! However, it was not without its trials. From long flights on uncomfortable seats and long layovers to finding how to actually get to the hostel, to being squished in between people I didn’t know, getting here was exhausting. I was traveling with my friend, Rauful, and even though we booked together, we were separated. Even getting to the hostel was difficult at times.
In fact, we couldn’t even find a bus or subway to get to Banqiao, a city in Taiwan. Everyone we talked to said there weren’t any shuttles left, and the subway wasn’t working either. This is when a man approached us.
The man said, 400NTD to take us where we needed to go. As a New Yorker, my scam senses were blasting. It smelled kind of fishy. Especially since a shuttle bus was 240NTD. We politely declined his request and kept trying to find a shuttle bus. But when we finally realized we couldn’t make it, he approached us one more time. Out of options, we agreed.
To my surprise, we were met with two other travelers, also heading in the same general direction. The driver, a different gentleman, dropped each passenger off, before finally dropping us off. We chatted in Chinese a bit, already getting to practice. However, when we arrived at the hostel, we couldn’t even find the entrance! There were closed stores everywhere, and the streets were empty. The driver volunteered to call for us and was able to find the entrance.
It’s sad that I judged this person, based on my own preconceptions, but he turned out to be quite helpful. So it seems that, even though the trip here was hectic, it’s already paying off. I was able to practice Chinese already, and I was able to get rid of some of my own misconceptions.
Hopefully, this post was at least somewhat entertaining/insightful. I made it a goal to get better not only at Chinese, but at photography, blogging, and vlogging, so fingers crossed.
For a closer look at the pod hostel, check out the vlog for today!