Are you ready for the weekend, weekend!
August 9-10, 2014
After chatting with some friends I randomly decided to go up to Taipei to hangout with friends from training. Now not getting paid on the 7th and watching everyone else get paid sucked. I am not going to sugar coat how much it has made me start stressing about money a little bit in the back of my head. Trying to figure out how you are going to balance bills and fun time money seems a little daunting. Especially since I am in a new country and I want to explore! So when I decided to buy my train ticket I knew I had to make the most of the short trip up to Taipei. The ticket to Taipei was 342 NT, times that by two and we have 684 NT, which equates to about 22.80 USD. Not too bad. For all my Minnesota peeps, driving to Taipei would be like driving to downtown Minneapolis, so about two hours. There are three types of TRA trains, local, medium, and fast. Then there is the HSR, which is the High Speed Rail and that is the fastest of all. If you are willing to pay the cash you can get from Taipei to the bottom area of Taiwan quickly. I just take the TRA train, so I pay a medium amount of money for a medium amount of time.
Since the train has been kind of a frustrating learning lesson I am happy to finally announce that I think I know how I can purchase a ticket, and find the platform I need to be on with ease. Thank you, technology! I downloaded an app onto my phone that shows me which train number I need to be on, and then I figured out the reader board at the train station. Hopefully my train experience can continue to be as simple and stress-free as it was this weekend.
Awkward Culture Moment on the Train:
I learned really quickly in Taiwan about the elderly code. This is when there is no where to sit in public and an elderly person comes into the room, MRT, bus, etc. you are supposed to give up your seat and offer it to them. It very much has to do with respecting and taking care of your elders. Well, I had made sure to buy a ticket ahead of time so that I could get a seat on the train. Otherwise, I would have been standing for 2 hours (no fun). About an hour and a half into my train ride many people started getting on the train that did not have a seat, and some of these people were elderly. I remained seated because I only thought it was fair since I had paid good money to remain seated. Did I get the weirdest looks! It wasn’t from anyone else, but from the elderly people. What an uncomfortable moment! Here I am, a foreigner and guest of this country, trying to decide whether I am in the cultural wrong or not. At one point an grandmother sat in the seat next to me, and started speaking Chinese to me and pointing at her family. I believe she was trying to tell me to move so her family could sit in my seat. By this time I was like oh my god get me off this train so I can stop having elderly people chew me out for no reason. Thankfully her other family members told me that it was fine and I could remain sitting. I double-checked later with Taiwanese friends to see if I was in the wrong, and they said for the train it is my decision whether I want to remain seated or not; I paid for my seated ticket and they did not.
Once off the train and in Taipei I was able to buy a new ticket to go back to Fengyuan the next day and then get on the MRT to go to my friend’s place. We had a chill evening, ate some Sushi Express, and waited for our other friend to arrive. Once we were all together we got ready for the night and headed to a place called 1,001 Nights. Along the way we saw this random harp player on the street.
I was so amazed when we passed by her because first of all, the freaking harp of all instruments, and second, who plays the harp anymore? We arrived at 1,001 Nights. The entrance fee was 300 NT, so 10 USD. With the entrance fee we also received 3 drink tickets. 1,001 Nights is a hookah bar, bar, and dance floor combination. I do not smoke so the hookah did not interest me, but once the dancing started I was all in. I could not even tell you when we finally left the bar.
In Taiwan there is no such thing as 2:00am bar close. While this is great it is also bad at the same time. Normally back in the states I could go out until 2:00am, go home, sleep, and still be able to get up the next morning and go to work. Not here.
We were all pretty hungry by the time we left 1,001 Nights, so Nick took us to this noodle place he was at the other day. Those were seriously some of the best noodles I had ever eaten! Maybe part of it was the alcohol, but I am pretty sure the noodles would have been delicious either way. With food out of the way we hoped back in a cab to go back to Nick’s place and go to bed. We were for sure up until 5:00am because I was able to get a Snapchat of the sunrise in before I passed out.
The morning was rough. The day before I had set to meet up with my other friend Hanna, and a Taiwanese guy, Rex, that I was thinking about doing Language Exchange with. We all agreed to meet at a MRT stop and go to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. I’m glad we were going to a museum and not doing something active because my entire body was sore. I hadn’t realized how much I had danced until I woke up the next day and had to start moving around. The museum was cool though. It was only 30 NT (1 USD) to get in. (I love how cheap museums are here!) Here are a few pictures of some of the more interesting/my favorites at the Fine Arts Museum.
By the time we had eaten lunch and gone through the museum it was time for me to get ready to go back to Fengyuan. I had a great time with my friends and it was refreshing to chat with everyone about how their experience settling into a new branch was going. I wish I could have stayed longer and spent more time exploring Taipei again, but it was a good time either way. Plus, Taipei is big enough that I could spend weeks exploring all it’s tourist and local attractions.
I had a nice little nap on the train, and an early evening back in Fengyuan.