Zoom in on a map of northern Taiwan and you’ll see a huge metropolis. Tonight I’m in the Taipei metropolis in another city called Taoyuan. I came here because I’m close to the airport for my flight to Seoul tomorrow. Country number 52, if you’re counting.
An 11 am train sounds kinda late, right? Well, I nearly missed it because I was doing yoga and laundry. There were about 20 settings on the dryer in the hotel basement but since they were all exclusively in Chinese, I must have set the clothes to dry on no heat or something and I ended up with wet clothes at 10:15. So I packed the wet clothes and took them to Taoyuan and dried them in a good laundromat when I got here.
I took a regular train to Taipei and it was bumpy and rough. I started to feel a little sick to my stomach and needed a minute when I got to Taipei. But Google Maps seemed to insist that I had time to find a high-speed train to Taoyuan in like 15 minutes and I did. I covered the ground to the station in 17 minutes on the HSR; the same trip took an hour on the metro when I arrived. It’s very smooth. You can’t even tell you’re moving.
I got off the HSR train and looked for a taxi. I found a KFC instead. My whole day feels like I should say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” because I must have needed a little luxury after Okinawa, Taipei (I stayed in the wrong hotel in the wrong neighborhood), and Hualien. But I like it here. My hotel is as nice as a Japanese hotel, the neighborhood and restaurants are really new, clean, and upscale.
There is a massive outlet mall about a quarter mile from my hotel. There were 10 tour buses in the parking lot when I arrived. It was jammed with people waiting in line to get into the fanciest stores like Prada and Gucci. Honestly, I’ve never seen so many stores in one mall. It was every single store and brand I’ve ever heard of plus a whole bunch I hadn’t. Columbia, Nike, Adidas, Roots, Ping, Puma, etc.
I ate dinner at “Gonna” at the mall. I had a Farmer’s Salad and pasta with pesto and tomatoes. With wine in a stemmed glass. There were napkins and salt and pepper. It was just astonishingly like a restaurant in California. I ate broccoli and lots of other veggies. It was a balm for my psyche.
My hotel has a huge TV with BBC in English! Hooray! I’m getting caught up now.
See the photos below in the main train station in Taipei. of all the ladies sitting on the floor? I was in a hurry so I couldn’t investigate, but the only time I’ve ever seen this sort of thing before is in Hong Kong, in about 1994. There, domestic workers had Sundays off and they gathered to visit with each other. This seemed like the same thing. Or maybe it is the end of Ramadan?
Please re-read my post of yesterday. I have a better description of the area and I removed my snarky rant.