Last year, I was in this exact country, trying to figure out why it took this long for people to actually appreciate its charm. Now, armed with a few knowledge on how their subway system works and which places to eat at, will it be easier for me this time?
At the airport
My first time riding the plane alone—with no company, just me and my old backpack. The weather seemed so bad. As I was sitting inside plane going round in circles on the runway, I couldn’t help but to feel a little anxious. Seeing the rain crush heavily down our window panes and all that. So I took my camera out and started to take videos for my b-roll. The blue lighting hits everyone so good.
Then the plane started to prepare for take off. I was asked to keep my gadgets off for a while as we zoom up the skies. But knowing myself, I won’t be able to survive that. So, I put on my Spotify playlist specially crafted for when I’m traveling. It helped me pacify myself on this “turbulence-filled” ride.
You can follow the Spotify playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/user/edenvictor/playlist/5aWx9kJUWFjqWaCgr6cwnI?si=D1kd2-xPSki2H-ji6iiUaQ
2-hour flights might be fas,t but it’s hard up there. Thank goodness for my bringing a book to read. Fullybooked called me in the afternoon prior my flight saying that my order, “What If It’s Us”, has arrived. Just in the nick of time right?
I flipped page after page, trying to kill some time. The book is so good! I have been a fan of Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not) and Becky Albertalli (Simon Vs. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda) for the longest time now. Reading a fictional story made me escape the stressful ride.
We arrived at Taoyuan International Airport a little early. Good. I got more time to go around and fetch the pocket wifi we rented via KKDay.
Here’s the link for the unlimited 4G portable Wi-Fi we purchased: https://www.kkday.com/en/product/3598?ccid=6663
Going Around Taipei
We woke up a little late. The first thing on our list is to visit Ay-Chung Rice-Flour Noodles. And as I expected, it is flocked with tourists. We picked up a single cup to share. Sipping the broth rushed back some memories of my first time here in Taiwan.
After that hearty meal, we headed to another famous tourist destination, Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall. We purchased an easycard at the MRT station near us (which is Ximen Station). We alighted at Chiang-Kai Shek and exited at exit 5. The enormous infrastructure slowly showed itself to us as we climbed the stairs.
It was hot for autumn. I kind of expected a little cooler temperature. Picture this, me wearing a green shirt and a beige parka. It could have been a disaster but at times, the wind would blow hard that it dried some of my sweat off.
We are supposed to go to Jin Feng Beef Rice but it was packed with people. So we roamed around the tiny street beside it and looked for a local shop with quality food. We entered a shop which name I couldn’t read. But it served an awesome food that is best for lunch.
Accidentally, we found a Coco just across it and of course, I don’t even have to think about it, it is necessary for me to buy. Milk tea is like water to me. I was surprised that even with establishments like this, their easycards are still accepted.
Then we made our way to Tamsui. Dubbed as the heart of Taipei, Tamsui can be reached by riding the MRT red line to the terminal station named after it.
When we walked out the station, it is evidently noticeable that Tamsui is Taipei’s go-to place of families for recreation. From afar, just near the waters, countless of bikes run against the fainting sunlight. Time here is a little bit slowed down, somehow. Every laughter filled the air with such lightness. Can’t help but to smile anywhere I looked.
We followed our handy Google Maps to lead us to Tamsui’s old town and lover’s bridge. Of course, we made some stops when we found some charming alleys where we can take “touristy” photos.
Near the bay, we found a long line of people also wanting to visit the Lover’s Bridge. After buying our tickets, we hurried to fall in line because the ticket attendant told us that the last trip was around 7pm. It’s almost 6pm and I don’t want to rush things over.
In no time, our turn to ride the ferry came. We stepped inside the wobbly boat. I am not afraid of riding boats like this. So while we were there, I really took my time, taking videos and photos. There’s something calming with the way the waves crash into the boat and the sound it’s creating. I just love it. I know I am not the only one who finds solace in water.
We arrived after almost 15 minutes. The bridge was more than I expected it to be. The romantic lights draw me in like a moth to a flame. Taking the risk of going here was so worth it. I couldn’t be any happier.
There were so many tourists trying to go over the bridge. So we walked past them and a couple of buskers and reached the foot of the bridge after a few hundred walks. I set up our fairy lights as my friend turned his phone’s flashlight to add some light for our faces during this shoot.
It’s funny how other tourists watched us do it. I have never felt so cool. One lady even took a video of us while shooting. It was so fun and surreal at the same time. For people to appreciate us felt so meaningful to me.
After our exhilarating shoot, we were supposedly going to P.S. Bubu Cafe where Meteor Garden’s Dao Ming Su and San Cai had their first date. But things did not go as expected. We were tired and our feet were sore from walking too much earlier today and we need to rest for we are going to Taichung the next morning.
So we ended up right at Somebody Cafe, a cozy and very boho-chic kind of restaurant near Ximending Station. I have been here before and I know that the food tastes great, so I recommended to go here for the night. (I will be talking about our Somebody Cafe experience in a different article. It deserves a stand-alone post.)