01.06.2014 - 01.06.2014
Taiwan was really enjoyable and we packed a lot into the five days we were there! Our first morning we spent a couple of hours planning more of our trip and booking flights and hostels. Then we went to the Taipei 101 skyscraper (it used to be the tallest in the world) and decided not to go up because the lineup was crazy! So instead we had a delicious late lunch of dim sum at the bottom and made complete fools of ourselves because we didn't know the proper etiquette. This began a long lasting and often sought after relationship with dumplings and pork buns. Not a day went past that we didn't eat dumplings and we didn't just eat them, we longed for them. It became a sort of game to see who could spot our next lovers haven (aka dumpling restaurant) and of course they are on almost every street corner so we were rarely disappointed. Except for the afternoon we went to Tamshui and were forced to eat wonton soup which is just not the same.
We filled our days with visiting temples, the national museum, night markets, and of course dumplings. We also took a train down the east coast and did a day hike through the Taroko Gorge (more like Tar-oh so gorgeous!) which was absolutely beautiful. The only downfall is that we were supposed to be on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour that took us to 7 different spots to hike and explore but it turned out to be more of a hop-off-and-never-see-your-bus-again tour. After getting off at one of the first stops and then spending a couple hours hiking (and laughing at the tourists who showed up in wedges compared to my yoga mom ensemble) we walked back to the bus stop and waited for our bus. And waited. And waited.
Finally we looked at a map an decided that, because the tour went in a bit of a loop, we could walk to the last stop which was only about 2 km away from us. So we did that and climbed up to some temples high up in the cliffs and around to the final stop. And then we waited for our bus again. And waited. And waited. There were tons of people there but we could not locate the orange bus that we were supposed to hop onto. Finally we asked another tour guide for help and ended up with no less than six people ranging from about age 7 to 70 (most of whom could not speak English but were very eager to help us) trying to help us decipher our very soggy bus schedule (did I mention it was raining all day?). Someone tried calling the tour company to no avail. Four people told us that the bus was supposed to arrive at 5:30 but that was the part if the schedule that we could read so that didn't really help us at all. Honestly it was quite hilarious but in the end no one was able to help us and we were left on out own to wait until 5:30 and hopefully find our orange bus.
As we watched bus load after bus load of people drive away and as we had almost given up hope, a very swanky looking orange bus straight out of the seventies pulled up beside us and said "Hualien?" Yes that's us! That's where we want to go! He must have recognized the very lost and helpless looks on our faces because he had no other reason to know that we were headed back to Hualien. I'm guessing it happens daily.
We finally did make it back to Hualien and to our hostel and got (of course) some dumplings to finish off the day. We headed back to Taipei the next day and spent the afternoon doing laundry and watching our plans of going to one last night market wash away as it poured buckets outside. So we got dumplings from around the corner and stayed in for the night.
I should also mention that we had a hilarious time reading tshirts in the stores of Taiwan. Many of the shirts are in Engrish, as we like to say, and I don't think they could be funnier if they tried.
Next stop Hong Kong!
Making dumplings at the fancy dim sum restaurant
Taiwanese "fast food" dumplings
Taroko Gorge temple