Taipei, Taiwan – Day 23, April 16

I spent the morning in my hotel room in Naha packing, eating, and relaxing. I only recently realized there was this nice library with a viewing deck and excellent coffee on the 13th floor. So you can see the view from there out to the sea.

My flight wasn’t until 3 pm. I left for the airport on the monorail in Naha which goes directly to the airport. I had some lunch and then checked in to my flight. Then I waited with a whole lot of other people to get through security and there was no ventilation, despite the airport being quite modern and new. We were all really hot and sweaty. And the babies and toddlers returning to Korea and Taiwan with their parents were even less amused than the adults at the steamy temps. Some of the poor kids started crying then and didn’t stop till Taiwan.

It would have been clever of me to exchange my remaining yen, but I forgot. I might figure that out tomorrow.

The flight was about an hour and we were actually served lunch. More noodles! And carrot juice in a box. I gained an hour compared to Japan.

Since I was the only non-Taiwanese on the flight, I sailed through immigration with absolutely no wait. Then I collected my bag and got a new SIM. The young ladies selling the SIMs and I finally got the settings right and I have 15 days of unlimited data on 4G. Huzzah! Finally.

I headed to the MRT subway toward the city, passing by a special visitor desk with two more nice young ladies who spoke perfect English and they set me up with a 5-day metro pass that also works for small purchases at convenience stores. Because, even though I said goodbye to 7-11 In Naha, I didn’t need to because there are at least 5 in a 2-block radius of my Taipei hotel. Very handy.

The ride from the airport was pretty. Taiwan is really green and lush. It took about 45 minutes. Then I had a 15-minute walk to my hotel. It was about 80, which would have been fine but I had too many clothes on.

My room is clean, small, and pretty spare, but the hotel is in a great location and the clerk at the front desk is very helpful.

I got some cash at an ATM and walked toward the liveliest street scene I’ve seen since Shinjuku in Tokyo. There were so, so many restaurants and shops. There were several street performers. It was really hard to decide what to eat so I kind of wimped out and had pesto pasta with clams. It was excellent, though obviously not the most Taiwanese thing I could have had. I was pretty hungry at this point and I can tell you, I’m not going to try the stinky tofu because it smells disgusting.

I laughed out loud at the cats in the stroller showing off their little hats.