Happy Belated Thanksgiving Everyone!
When I was considering vacationing in Taiwan over the holidays, I worried a little that I’d be missing out on everything back home. But, life is what you make of it right?
I began Thanksgiving Day with no plans; but, since the weather was great, I decided to go hiking at Yangmingshan National Park – about an hour or so out of Taipei by public transport. After reaching the base of the mountain, I panicked a little while trying to figure out my bearings. Luckily, I met three other Americans who were also on their way to the top.
All three were teaching English in Taipei, and one of them actually also randomly joined the pair that same day as they were on the same bus. I ended up joining their little group and we began our trek. We found out that the National Park has a shuttle service that takes visitors to the base of various mountains. We caught one of them for Qixingshan – the tallest peak in Taipei. The trail was about 1.6km of straight vertical the whole way. On our way up, we passed these sulfur pits that smelled nasty like rotten eggs. It was as if the Earth was farting.
Throughout the hike the wind would just not stop. I felt so alive, trying to hike up that mountain with the wind howling. It took probably an hour or so until we finally made it. The view was absolutely stunning! Looking west, I could see Taipei; to the east, I could see Keelung and the Pacific Ocean.
Being atop of the peak felt great. After some time taking it all in, we decided to have an impromptu thanksgiving “lunch” atop the peak eating our snacks that we brought along. I had this triangle-shaped rice+chicken aka musubi for my snack. Afterwards we returned to Taipei, parting our ways.
The Thanksgiving Day festivities continued back at the hostel. The staff bought 2kg of sweet potato fries and duck. There were probably more than 15 of us that night at Eight Elephants just chilling and hanging out. Great times. Afterwards, the fun continued at the Roxy Rocker, a nearby bar that a lot of expats visit.
Despite these memorable experiences, I do wish I were still back in The States celebrating the holidays with familiar faces! It’s just not the same; no turkey, no pie. There’s something uniquely American about the holiday season, specifically Thanksgiving, that just feels weird celebrating it in another country. Until next year!