The skyscraper is our hotel.
Just a day after returning from the Galapagos, I went on another adventure, although this time with my parents, and on the other side of the world. This new adventure was to Taiwan. Getting to Taiwan from Dublin takes a long time. A very long time. I used to love long flights because of the movies and the seemingly free food and snacks you get, but after Amsterdam-Quito, Quito-Amsterdam, Dublin-Dubai, Dubai-HongKong, KongKong-Dubai, and finally Dubai-Dublin, not to mention the flights I took that were under three hours, all in one month, it really takes it out of you. And although my parents didn't go to the Galapagos, the Taiwan flights were just as tiring for them.
But straight to the point, when we actually arrived in Taiwan, we had to take a shuttle bus to our stop, and then take a taxi to the hotel. The hotel was very fancy. It was chosen as the hotel for my mother's conference, and so we went with that one. The doors were opened for us, and our luggage was almost ripped from our hands. The room was spacious, with a great view over Taichung, and the bathroom had both a bath and a shower, not to mention the tv. We arrived sometime around midnight, so the first thing we did when in the room was go to sleep, as my mother had to attend the conference precisely eight hours from then. We got up with her, although it was hard, early the next morning and went to the breakfast buffet. It was huge, with a big selection of western and chinese dishes, as well as bread, fruit, omelets, cereals, danishes etc.
We ate a lot that morning.
The road we had to take.
When mom left for the conference, we took our time getting ready for our own day out. We planned to walk to a temple, and that had been the extent of our plans, but a lot happened on the way. First, about the weather. It's very hot in Taiwan, but's almost unbearable, with all the extra heat from the heavy pollution. The air is thick with humidity and pollution, making it rather hard to breathe. We followed the road that was indicated on my dad's phone, but decided something must be wrong when it brought us to a one way road of opposite traffic, with no visible sidewalk. We decided to take a turn before that, but before long we were walking along a sort of garage that had multiple dogs in front, and they all started to bark, some even growled. One or two weren't on leads… I began to get really nervous, and almost jumped when guy came up from behind us and said in broken english that straight ahead of us was a cul-de-sac. So back to the road we went. We walked on the sides of the road, marked on either side with a white line. I realise now that those must have been there to act as sidewalks.
Click to enlarge and chuckle.
So on we went until finally we reached the end of the one-way and arrived on the main road, or at least, at the city's center. The only types of shops I noticed were asian candy stores that somehow all had the same candy arrangements inside, and rundown garages. We walked on quite a bit and I started to ask if we were there yet. It was then that we found out were getting ourselves lost. While my dad tried to find the temple again on the map, I went inside a traditional snacks/café to enjoy the air conditioning. I acted like I was looking at the confectioneries, and she offered me a sample of cold tea, which I don't like, but was welcomed in the heat. Dad also came into the shop and he was offered the same thing. I proposed we ask her if she could point us to the temple, so we asked, but she didn't understand the word 'temple', so she took out a piece of paper and a pen, and Dad bravely drew something that looked nothing like anything, and the lady just shrugged, a universal way of saying "I have no idea what you want…". We thanked her anyway and went back out. We walked on and stopped in front of a 7/11, the main chain supermarket in Taiwan, and got two icecreams to cool us down. By the time we had finished the icecream, we had arrived in front of SOGO, which Dad knew to be a big department store.
We went in to cool down, and went level by level, skipping the occasional one like the baby floor. At the very top floor, even higher than the restaurants, was a big SEGA arcade, and we had fun there, looking at all the games. Some of them were weird, and you wonder whether people would actually play with them. To give an example, there was this one game that was quite simply a treadmill, with a plastic dog in front. The dog was on a lead, and from what you could see from the demo, the whole point was to walk the plastic dog.
There was also an over-18's section, where we saw a few people, and we assumed that must be a gambling area. One particular guy was playing at some sort of card game, but he was playing at three different screens at the same time, switching from one to the other. That's hardcore gambling…
Since we had arrived at the top, it made sense to go back down, and we both decided to head home. We had walked quite a long while, and we were both exhausted. We hailed a taxi and went back to the hotel. It was late in the afternoon when we got back, but it was too early for dinner, so we had a nice little nap. When we woke up we went to a 7/11 literally two minutes away from us and got ourselves pot noodles along with a few other snacks. Tv dinner!
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