This is WAY OVER DUE but here’s my recap/story on how a ragtag team of 14 college peeps Took on Taiwan! Days and dates may not match up due to the 12 hour time difference. We were 12 hours in to the future y’all!
DAY 1 – 04.28.16 – THURSDAY
All packed up, stayed over night in the Chatham apartments so I wouldn’t miss the shuttle. 4AM leaving Chatham and in route to the Pittsburgh airport. I have been up since 11am yesterday, going almost 16 hrs strong with no sleep cause I’m so hyped!
About 30 or so minutes later we arrive at the airport and all meet up, check in, and wait for our plane to arrive. While waiting for the others to arrive and check in, I break out my old hacky sack in order to pass the time.
Time for some quick breakfast! Special Note: Do not parkour off a moving sidewalk at the airport! More importantly do not parkour off a moving sidewalk while holding your breakfast bagel and an iced coffee #lifelessons
Time to line up to board the plane, quote while boarding the airplane in regards to this woman was looking at as weird and trying to break up our group in line: “We’re a group… We pop together” About 5 hours later and we have landed in San Francisco, CA.
First meal since leaving Pittsburgh/ the East Coast… pre-game for Taiwan… Veggie curry
Time to board our next flight! ’bout to be the longest flight I’ve ever been on – just shy of 13 hours!
DAY 2 – 04.29.16 – FRIDAY
I made it!!! I’m really here … in Taiwan… alive! Passing out tho cause early full day tomorrow + 12 hour time diff + been up since 11 am Wednesday !!
DAY 3 – 04.30.16 – SATURDAY
Day 1 and 2 (4.28 & 4.29) recap: traveling through time and space -> Pittsburgh to San Fran (-3 hr diff) to Taipei, Taiwan (-12 hr diff) -> ended up being up for a total of 50 hrs! 36 as a group!
Recap DAY 1 in Taiwan: traveled back in time and lost a day but we’ll get it back later.
I’m already acclimated to the new time zone and new environment. We had an early morning toady; out by 8:30am, ate breakfast after walking through the hallways of some building to get to the place. We had an impromptu park visit with some parkour action.
Two trains and a bus ride later we arrive at the National Palace Museum then had some snacks with tea and coffee. Afterwards we explored the garden outside the museum and I parkour’d the heck out of some trees and rocks.
Later on we had lunch then visited the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines:
Followed by another impromptu park visit plus a sweet mini temple with some exercising action.
Later that night we went to the night market for some shopping then had dinner. THEN Maryann Fix and I got left at market! Everyone was looking for each other for a couple but we kept missing each other. No worries though because we’re smart and resourceful. I remained calm, cool, and collected and was able to navigate our way back to the hostel. We got back well ahead of everyone else so we enjoyed some Bubble Tea!
Side note: even tho I got separated from my buddy Dee Clarke she knew what was up and that we’d be okay and make it back safely. I was bummed we missed the temple exploration but we were able to see it another day (turned out to not have been all that lol). Can’t wait to see what goes down over the next 11 days!
Foot Note: my phone is useless here and is just my camera now but I won’t be posting pics till after I return. Luckily I have my iPad so I can post updates and let y’all know I’m still alive.
DAY 4 – 05.01.16 – SUNDAY
Recap DAY 2 in Taiwan: Managed to go to bed around the same time and wake up the same time as day before. I had some super delicious breakfast this morning. It rained a bit more today (light rain yday) but was still super warm out.
I’m getting really good at oriented self each place we go and navigating around this city. Today we went to the Flower and Jade Markets. I got to see some real life haggling action and some cool plants. Can only look because we can’t take plants back with us.
Afterward we went to the Linsen Forest Park. We saw a cool, sustainability festival going on and learned about bears, bats, reptiles, oceanic animals, wild vs domestic cats. We saw a good amount of stray dogs just walking around and chilling.
We went to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial next and played a pick up game of soccer with the kids and parkour’d more. A festival or conference was going on so there were parts we weren’t allowed in. Saw a cool dance battle action go down though.
Later we went to the hot springs – Beitou public hot springs I think – this was SO nice and very relaxing after walking around all day.
For lunch I had a guava passion fruit smoothie (very Taiwan I’m told) with veggies, tofu and dumplings. We went to the night markets again – had more bubble tea, a bunch of super delicious, fresh fruit including mango, pineapple, watermelon, and this Taiwan fruit that looked/tasted like an asian pear.
Tomorrow will be our last day in Taipei, Tuesday we head off to Taichung.
DAY 5 – 05.02.16 – MONDAY
Recap DAY 3 in Taiwan: early morning, went to the same place from yesterday for breakfast (so good). Today we went up to the mountains; to Jiufen where the anime film Spirited Away was inspired by. While there we navigated through this long strip of markets – all kinds of food and shops, pretty much the whole town is a market place. we ate lunch here and gathered up snacks for later. The view from this place was so beautiful! Just amazing!
Saw more stray dogs and some cats roaming around – the stray dogs tend to be medium sized or larger. Seems most people own smaller sized dogs or cats, which makes sense given the space capacity of Taiwan.
I tried some stinky tofu and… NOPE! not for me lol. I’m not a fan of tofu to begin but I had to try this local fav and the locals get a laugh out of seeing foreigners try this dish.
Went to Bai Sha Wan (White Sand Beach) and it starting turning dark when got there since the multiple bus rides ti get there were very long. It was very cool to step into the pacific ocean from a different country, across the globe.
Ate dinner after beach time and drank lots of juice then made a mad dash for the bus back to hostel! The server from the restaurant we ate at was so dope and held the bus for us, which was great since it was also the last bus of the night.
Everywhere we’ve been so far, our group has managed to get “scolded” for being to loud lol classic teenage Americans. I’ve also become the navigator and co-captain since I keep all the directions and location written down and no one is getting left or lost!
Tomorrow we are getting our assignments for the next part of this trip and checking out of Taipei Discovery Hostel then heading down to Taichung via the High Speed Rail.
DAY 6 – 05.03.16 – TUESDAY
Last day in Taipei and DAY 1 in Taichung:
Checked out of hostel. Glass door got busted (wasn’t me!) Had breakfast at this place that had the cutest lil restaurant owner ever … She was 4-5 yo
Road high speed rail (HSR) train = Super efficient
Took taxis to new hostel. Reservations were made late so our group got split up into two hostels – both nice but one was WAY nicer and fancy – shade was had.
Had some dinner then went out on some adventures.
DAY 7 – 05.04.16 – WEDNESDAY
**I have totally lost track of the days and don’t really know what official day/time this is; thought it was MON and it’s freaking WED**
Went to Dharma Drum Buddhist today and did a walking meditation. After the walk we checked out the Monks’s building. Enjoyed a really good lunch here and was very pleased everyone had to eat vegetarian meal.
Later on we went to a local middle/high school where we chilled and chatted with some of the students there. They who were so adorable and so excited to see us! Heard a lot of cool stories from the kids and got tons of food recommendations and took pics together. I got to play hackie sack with one of the students (who plays soccer) and one of the teachers …have some cool new friends now. Did some more wandering around the city after visiting the school then had dinner. Got back to hostel after going to the night markets here. Party on the roof top! Got lit with pals lol shared all the good stories.
DAY 8 – 05.05.16 – THURSDAY
DAY 8 aka the day after we all got hella lit on da rooftop! I slept in so hard even though my body wanted to wake up at 8 and I said no we will chill.
Breakfast/brunch/lunch included an assortment of bakery items and delicious milk tea from Diagon Alley!
Visited a local university and made some more awesome new friends! Got to eat this fruit, yogurt, ice cream thing that the school is famous for. They have their own dairy cows are right on the campus! It was really good.
We talked about our projects and food of course. We all went out to the night markets and basically ate everything on the recommendation list including these drinks we thought were called “mini coopers” turns out it’s not called that lol. The kids at the high school are amazing. I mean truly, amazing they are in school from 7:30a-5p then it’s off to cram school (required) until 9:30pm.
By the end of this trip I was pretty much covered in a sleeve of mosquito bites on each of my lower legs. I also finally got to ride on a moped. It was super fun. If I thought I wanted one before I def want one now!
DAY 9 – 05.06.16 – FRIDAY
I’m so sad we only have a few more days left! Today was a long day – we went to a lil ecohub place, which was this mostly outside deal with fans and some coverings for shade. Of course today happened to be the hottest day on our whole trip = 91°F!
We spent the whole day there then wandered around the town afterward. On our wondering travels we got beer from the locals – they traded 2 huge bottles of beer for a couple of photo ops with all of us.
We also found a cat cafe like with real cats in it and it was the best!
DAY 10 – 05.07.16 – SATURDAY
Went to a Monastery today, took a tour; it was really cool and fancy. SO much money went into building this and for real one of those gold Buddha statues could pay for me for life. We weren’t allowed to take pictures once inside the grounds. We had lunch at a hotel restaurant deal by the Sun Moon Lake then went for a walk along the boardwalk tail. The water of this lake was so pretty, super blue and clear. We had ice cream. People got left and lost again on the way back to the bus. Found them at the local police station.
Headed out to the Tea Factory for a tour and some tea shopping.
We had dinner after this and some shopping around the local area. I got cool shirt with a bear that looks like Taiwan on a bike. Later on peeps were trying to go to a local club but it is really expensive (like what amounts to $20-30 cover) and super sexist (cater to men pretty much with servers that look like teen anime girls) plus these places are not too friendly to foreigners. There really much of a party scene so it’s mostly to make money of tourists and it is def a straight dude oriented club which means it is not gay friendly either.
DAY 10 – 05.08.16 – SUNDAY
Only a couple more nights left in this beautiful country.
Day 11 – 05.09.16 – MONDAY?
aka yday aka ilegitdevenk what day of the week it is anymore lol:
Up early again
Trip to Lukang with some new university pals
Explored the markets and local sites
Ate some food, had lots of treats
Got to see a pilgrimage parade and somehow ended up in the middle of it
There was SO much smoke everywhere from burning incense sticks and candles
Day 12 – 05.10.16 – TUESDAY?
Today marks our last full day in Taiwan. It’s medical Monday so we’re visiting the Medical Universities and getting good stuff for my project. We had a good bit of free time this afternoon so of course we went out to buy all the things, eat more food and drink more bubble tea, get lit – the usual at this point.
DAY 13 – 05.11.16 – WEDNESDAY?
We leave Taiwan today, which is sad but cool we get a layover in Tokyo, Japan. After a few hours in Tokyo, some really good sushi and saki we head out for our long plane ride back state side.
About a 5 hour layover in Chicago and this landing was a lot smoother than the last one! Special note on airline food: the vegetarian (Asian) option is so good and way better than the chow hall food back at campus. Been up for a total of 30 hours at least with a good amount of that just flying.
DAY 14 – 05.12.16 – THURSDAY?
Officially home in the 412.
Mosquito count: 146 count! known/visible/have been itching up a storm lol
RT arm = 26 count
LF arm = 6 count
RT leg = 54 count (including 4 on my tattoo = so disrespectful)
LF leg = 60 count
I definitely felt safer walking around in Taiwan at 3am than I do walking down Penn Ave during the afternoon in Pittsburgh, PA. I was also pleased that only after a couple weeks I was starting to pick up some Chinese – I could recognize some characters, speak a few common phrases to get around and understand some of what was spoken to me. I do also note that it was a privilege to be able to go on this trip and I was so fortunate to have had this experience.