But that's the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don't want to know what people are talking about. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can't read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can't even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.
Right now, I have made myself believed that one of my purposes in life is to understand the world and its people through travelling without prejudice. Easier said than done when you still value society's advice to save first for your future. Perhaps, the only way to do it is (1) book that flight (and worry about the finances later - follow at your own risk, HAHAHA), and (2) be mindful of your thoughts about others.
Pre-departure: VISA application
Prior to this trip, I am guilty of having prejudices against Chinese due to the hassles I've gone through in getting a visa to Taiwan. I found all the TECO representatives to be rude and disrespectful, but after thinking about it carefully I've accepted that they were very efficient in doing their jobs. And sometimes, one cannot be efficient and nice at the same time.
Departure: Immigration interview
Often, anticipation is worse than the actual situation. This is actually my first travel abroad, and I'm alone. You could imagine how uneasy I was feeling. During the immigration interview, I was asked if I was excited, I told her that I was scared. She jokingly asked me if I would rather not go and she would just deny my visa. I just gave her a graceful "oh certainly not, ma'am" HAHAHA
Arrival: Taipei and around
It is very easy to go around in Taipei - that's saying a lot coming from someone who lacks average navigation skills. I didn't get lost in Taipei (Holla! I always get lost in Metro Manila.) HAHAHA.
|Riding a gondola to get to Maokong Mountain|
|Art Revolution Taipei Exhibit: Fascinating night sky|
|Art Revolution Taipei Exhibit: We all have the same goal|
|View from 89th floor of Taipei 101|
Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf/ Lover's bridge
|kainis, puro lovers nga. HAHAHA|
Shilin Night Market
|So many people, and food, and things to buy (but not for a cheap price)|
The people are disciplined, healthy-looking, and fashionable! I have nothing but praise for the country.
National Taiwan University
|The only photo I got in Taiwan. HAHAHAHA|
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
The exhibit inside is also worth a visit
I've noticed that Chiang Kai Shek always smile in his photos. The photo below is just one of the many:
It was a Sunday when I visited Longshan. People were praying and having some offerings. As I walk inside, I can hear their chants more. And it was getting louder, people were standing up and some women were crying. I was struck with awe. I don't know what it's called, but I felt something. After witnessing their chants, I went out immediately because I felt like a nuisance in whatever they were doing. I felt like I was not giving them privacy of sort - but that's just me :)
Huaxi Night Market / Guangzhou Night Market
|Longshan from the outside|
|People offering food|
Huaxi Night Market / Guangzhou Night Market
Huaxi street is like Divisoria. It is where you see people wearing normal clothes, you see beggars on the streets, sidewalk vendors, etc. It is a place where you feel that pickpockets are nearby. It kind of awakened the alert being in me. I didn't stay long in this place, but I'm happy and thankful that I saw this part of Taiwan. I didn't want to form a one-sided opinion about the country.
Before going back
My early days passed by so smoothly that I became too relaxed and fell asleep on my way to the airport. The driver got frustrated because I can't speak Mandarin so he gestured that I get off the bus. As a result, I got lost in a nearby province in Taiwan. Good thing, I spotted some OFWs who were nice enough to help me. One OFW even gave me her cheeseburger when she found out that I haven't eaten yet. Oh boy, I wanted to hug her before we parted ways.
Dan (from Wisconsin) who was with me in the bus to the airport also helped me communicate with the driver. We talked about each other until my boarding time. He works at the Grand Canyon (National Park Service?) as ... actually....I didn't understand his work HAHAHA but he seemed very happy with it. He's an optimistic fellow. I hope I see him again next time, although I don't remember his face anymore, eeep.
I have observed that you will definitely meet inspiring and like-minded people when you travel. Just thinking about it makes me giddy, hihi. See you around!
My first out of country destination is in Taiwan, and you know what I say about first? It always gets followed by a second (and a third, a fourth, a fifth...), hihi.
As dumb as it sounds, I wanted to go abroad to see if the colors are really different. HAHAHA I was curious to see if the photos posted by my foreign friends are indicative of the colors of the environment they are in. In the end, it was just a filter effect; the colors are more or less, the same. HAHAHAHA