Wearing only a thin layer of clothes, expecting the weather to be office-like cold, the fog and the chilling temperature at the Taipei Main Station surprised us.
MCIA Terminal 2
We barely had enough sleep – we got home at around midnight. I helped Keeshia pack up. By the time she finished packing up, we had to get ready for our flight.
We arrived at the airport quite early. There, we had a short talk with MJ, our uni classmate, over breakfast.
The new MCIA Terminal 2 looks good – so spacious and it felt like I was at a beach resort. It was also quite surprising that it wasn’t crowded that day – I was expecting huge crowds.
We look sleepy? We barely slept!
I chose to keep my eyebrows than to use an eye shade. Tried to sleep without the eye shade but it was so bright out. The person at the window seat did not close the window shade ;(
The ride was quite long – so as the other rides I’ve had whenever I’m at a new place. But I enjoyed the view outside. It was so green. And strangely familiar – all those plants can be seen in the Philippines, too. How can it be so chilly in Taiwan but just cold in the Philippines? Anyway, I noticed that there were only a few people on the train, too. AND they were dressed too warmly – puffy coats and boots.
Maybe we were under dressed? Nah. I checked accuweather every now and then since November and it says the average temperature in Taiwan from Dec 26 to Jan 3 would be 16 °C to 23 °C. That’s quite bearable. And that’s the reason I was able to pack light. I left my puffy coat at home and just brought light long sleeved outfits. It can’t be that cold outside.
We found some affordable set meals at the Taipei Main Station. Local food? Check! Afffordable? CHECK! Easy to order? Uhm, check? I had to order in my simplest English – just keywords paired with effective actions (more on pointing pictures and using my fingers to indicate numbers) – because the cashier didn’t know how to speak English.
I’m not really a fan of Chinese food (not obvious, for someone who has been to Hong Kong and chose Taiwan to be the next destination). However, this food was delicious and again, familiar. I didn’t like the soup and one of the spring rolls – both of them were radish flavored. But I did like the rest – braised beef toppings, squid rolls wrapped in spring rolls, pickles, cold tofu, and broccoli.
In the midst of getting lost, we tried to cheer ourselves up by acting as normal tourists – we took pictures of ourselves together with some interesting things.
Look how tired we are. And this is just DAY 1.
We got lost looking for the bus we were supposed to ride to get to our accomodation. We tried to read the comments from the other people who have used our AirBnB but those weren’t really very useful. There weren’t any bus 817 in the bus station and at the nearby bus stops. I tried to use the little survival Mandarin phrases I learned but people couldn’t understand me.
We ended up walking in large circles for 2 hours – looking for the bus mentioned in the comments section and eventually, for the right train. It was surprisingly freezing outside – it was drizzling, a fairly strong and humid wind was blowing, AND no, it wasn’t 16 °C outside – there was a large LED screen on top of one building and the temperature reading changes from 11°C to 10°C. YES. They said the cold was bearable – I CAN HARDLY TAKE IT.
We eventually figured out the right platform after circling the station for 2 hours. We asked help from the tourist center.
This was what we figured out on the first day – we would get off at Xike station from the Taipei Main Station. Then walk for 20 minutes to our AirBNB. 20 minutes is chicken if we were in the Philippines. When we were in Taiwan, it was raining EVERYDAY and it was cold because, duh, it’s winter – temperature would range from 8°C to 14°C. Don’t forget the wind chill.
So yeah, literally, we had to cross a highway, a huge bridge over the river and some minor neighborhood streets. We did it for 3 days until we discovered a more convenient commute option on the third night. Ugh. So that was why we were the only people who would walk over the bridge, braving the rain and the wind.
I personally wanted to take a nap because the pursuit of getting to our AirBNB was exhausting. And honestly, it was too cold outside. It was also cold inside (heck, the host set his AC at 20°C! We can’t change it ;( ) but at least we have a blanket.
However, Keeshia wants to spend our vacation well. Well, I’m glad she was with me. If not, I would have just slept in Taiwan – everyday was cold, ligid-ligid (cuddle, couch potato friendly) weather. So, out we went, we braved the cold and went to Shilin Night Market.
This was one of our dinner that night. We just ate anything we found interesting and affordable.