After managing to get on an earlier flight back from Hong Kong on Cathay, I arrived back in Taipei a little after midnight. An hour later via cab and I was back at my apartment. As soon as I got to my place, I went to sleep, completely exhausted.
Six hours later and I was out again, meeting up with some friends for our trip down south.
Our first stop was Taizhong. We visited two places in Central Taiwan: Lugang, a quaint little town recommended by LP for a taste of temple life; Sun Moon Lake, the largest lake in Taiwan. Although the weather while in Taizhong wasn’t the best, it felt great exploring a new part of Taiwan.
Some of the highlights while in Central Taiwan were:
– meeting other travelers at the Corner Backpacker Hostel
– getting hit (or rather, sideswiped) by a motorbike while walking
– biking around the mist-shrouded Sun Moon Lake
One of the things that caught me off guard however was the fact that, given my language skills, I quickly assumed a sort of group leader/tour guide role for the duration of the trip. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to fill the role. As the group leader, I soon discovered how taxing it is to coordinate logistics for a trip:
– Knowing where to go, and when.
– If by taxi, negotiating a fair “foreigner” price for longer distance travel.
– If by bus, knowing where the bus station is located, and knowing when to get off the bus.
– Assisting in case of any problems or emergencies that required some translation skills.
The list goes on and on. Even though I generally was apprehensive about filling the role, the trip throughout Taiwan was a great opportunity for me to practice my Chinese. A lot of folks I had to interact with – taxi drivers, hostel owners, restaurant owners, etc. – thought I was from Malaysia or Singapore. Others thought I was from Thailand. Not a single person guessed my background correctly. All these interactions I think are indicators that my Chinese has definitely improved since coming to Taiwan. So glad!