In this final chapter of my Taiwan trip, the feelings and experiences vividly return to me as I write the last few things I did and the goodbyes I went through. Much like the beginning of the actual Taiwan trip, my recollection through my blog went rather smoothly and enjoyable. Now that I am in the final stretch, I feel as though I don’t want to stop, much like the emotional hold that this country and the people that drew me here gave me. To be clear, I am not very good at leaving places… but this place, was the hardest for me to accept and most difficult to say goodbye to…
Back to Taipei Arena (臺北小巨蛋) for a chance to touch hockey grade ice for the first time in a long time.
Rentals! Oh I miss my Nike’s.
Taipei Main Station (台北車站). The central hub of the MRT, High Speed Rail, and Taipei’s bus system.
If it crowds, you will be controlled.
The only country in which I have experienced people queuing properly and staying in queue the whole time. Hard to imagine but manners do exist. I would think Japan would have some parallels but no where else!
Working jump gates. Although I’ve seen several of these safety gates all around Asia. Taiwan has been the country to have all theirs in working condition. In other countries, they seem to be there just for show… as in the gates stay open.
The reason I wanted to show some of these pictures was the amount of astonishment I had for the Taiwan transportation system for their efficiency, cleanliness, order, and convenience. Normally, the transit environment brings out the worst in people (attitude, actions, etc.). However, I experienced nothing negative and it was a pleasure every time I had to go anywhere. Seriously, nothing but praise.
Liu Shandong Noodle Shop (劉山東牛肉麵店). This shop, nearby Taipei Main Station is famous for it’s beef noodles as the way they cook the beef is different from other shops.
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (紅燒牛肉麵).
Just a small but popular shop.
Crowds come and go quickly here.
The recommended signature noodle bowl. A classic Taiwanese Clear Broth Stewed Beef Noodle Soup (清燉牛肉麵).
50嵐, for the nth time.
Inside the shopping complex next to Taipei Main Station I found these awesome stuffed dolls of various Line characters. So fahnee!!
In my usual mission to try anything and everything, especially weird things that I cannot buy elsewhere, I got this. Insanely gross and disgusting, never again. At least I know now, and I can graciously pass on this useful knowledge, haha.
The mother of all hotpots, Ding Wang (鼎王麻辣鍋, Tripod King Hot pot). The original to the sister store Wu Lao Guo (無老鍋) reported earlier.
Again I was thrilled to know that I had the chance to experience Ding Wang before I left. What sets this hotpot place from its sister branch was the difference in the broth. What Ding Wang is famous for is their Yuan Yang Guo (鴛鴦鍋) in which the pot comes split down the middle to offer the spicy mala side (麻辣鍋) and the non-spicy sour pickled cabbage side (東北酸白菜鍋). Much to the same as my previous experience, both broths provides more than enough intense and explosive flavours that an additional dipping sauce was quickly forgotten. The mala side was not only spicy but has that flavoured spice that I always talk about rather than a tasteless spice that is just plain and uninviting. The sour cabbage side provided an even deeper contrast in flavour profiles from the mala side that was a nice mellow sour that cut into the spice. This was definitely a treat for the taste buds as you went from one flavour to the other as it felt like the pair only enhanced each other’s richness. In addition, the quality of handmade foods such as their fishballs were of the highest I have ever tasted and can only describe the entire experienced as a refined hotpot extravaganza. Although not all-you-can-eat and everything is ordered a la carte, the level of courteous service and quality of food was more than enough of a reason to love this place. Plus, you have the option to take home the broth as well as a refilled portion of tofu and duck blood to go at it at home for another round.
Got to take a picture with the server, my best friend for the approximately 2 hours that we were there. Though I forgot his name HAHA, he bowed respectfully at 90 degrees and served us additional unlimited tofu and duck blood as often as we wanted. At the end of the meal, I was satisfied and fatter than when I entered. It was an awesome lunch with the best of people. Thank you Elise, Frank, and Ellie for taking me here!
Ba Fang Yun Ji Dumpling Shop (八方雲集鍋貼水餃專門店). With branches scattered in Taipei, this shop with their signature pan-fried dumplings and limited sour spicy soup (sold out when we got there) were the items on the menu to look out for. This was one of the types of food that is so staple and yummy, I can have anytime of the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack. Next time I must return for their sour spicy soup to redeem myself. XP
50嵐, for the LAST time.
Taichung (台中) specialty mochi (麻糬), a variation on the Japanese rice cake.
The Coffee Alley Cafe.
Lunch consisted of 1 main, and 2 desserts. That’s how we roll.
Wicked spoon and mug pair.
Who cares, look at dessert.
Chocolate banana waffle.
Chocolate brownie with ice cream.
After this meal and what followed was a really difficult, and frustratingly brief and speechless goodbye… I ran my last few important errands then I headed home to pack my things and made my way to the airport…
One of the things I mentioned from the first post and now the last is that the system, or lack thereof getting to and from the airport in Taiwan bewildered me. For this final trip, I took a bus, to the nearest MRT station. The the MRT train to HSR station. Then took the HSR to Taoyuan HSR station. Then a paid shuttle to the airport, Terminal 2. The amount of transfers without flagging down a taxi was surprising for such an efficient country such as Taiwan. I hope they get their airport link to MRT up and running soon!
I’m a mess. Inside and out. Haha.
Meal in the airport terminal and my last meal in Taiwan. Even airport food had to be good.
Thank you Elise for the beautiful ‘postcard’ that you hand drew for me. Apparently it was a coincidence that Elise drew all the major cities I visited.. hmmm. It was the most awesome and perfect going-away gift. Only the 2nd ‘postcard’ that I have ever received!
For those reading this up until now, you probably know that I’ve put quite a lot of effort and energy into the Taiwan posts. I did so not only because I really did THAT much during my time there but each and every moment that I shared was that much deserving of its own recognition. I was only in Taiwan for a little more than 2 weeks and feel like I’ve only scratched the surface to what was there to travel. I honestly haven’t felt this way for a country since Thailand the first time I backpacked there. I tried to be as descriptive as I could throughout these posts not only to act as a reminder of what happened to set in stone as a precious memory but to act as an example for the future what could happen with the people you meet. I had only just taken a simple step forward. I hope that those who have taken part in my experiences also don’t forget what happened whether or not the moment was captured by photograph.
Actually, Taiwan was originally not in my plans to travel to this early. I had not anticipated that the people I met with just simple acts of friendliness turned into true bonds of friendship. Unforeseen events and emotions like this was what spurred my fast track to go here. It was Taiwan that changed my perception of the country, but it was the people that influenced me and shaped my perception of life. I walked away from this trip with much more than I arrived with. With the most difficult goodbyes and saddest moments, this series come to an end… until next time.
Although I’ve been told a million times by this one person, I’ll have to say it again here ah… thank you. Even though you seem to deny and make light of the things that I say to you, and only you. I can assure you that I’m not exaggerating! It’s really the truth and I really hope you believe it one day. Aiy. It was truly most difficult to say goodbye to you…
More travels to come.