Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Taiwan 3: Just making my way around Taipei (17. Jan. '18)

Waking up rested in my bed in Taipei Livepal Hostel, I was ready for my first full day in Taipei.

The 1st goal: get food near Gongguan MRT Station

Being hungry--and a non-pork eater--I found, bought, and ate 2 buns near the Songshan MRT Station: one had a vegetable mix, and the other had an egg mixture. Both were delicious.

My goal for the morning was to find the 2 spots a friend of mine recommended for Gua Bao (think Taiwanese "burger" but in a steamed bun) and the best bubble tea. Fortunately, they were literally across the alley (or very narrow street) from each other.

It wasn't until they told me what they had, that I realized they were all with pork. Well, so much for that. At least the bubble tea made me feel better about wasting over 15 minutes waiting in line for the Gua bao.

Let's wander along the streets in this area.

When all else fails, 711 is there for you.
I had some tea eggs at this 711. I need to try making them at home.

I haven't seen so many motorbikes in a city in so long!

When I realized I had stumbled upon a Mexican restaurant

Illiterate in the local script? Look for pictograms.

I needed cash. I needed an ATM.
A simple Google Map search brought me to the nearest one near me at that moment: The Taipower Building.
Alright, so they have a Bank of Taiwan branch inside (as soon as you walk in through the double doors). ATMs? Check. Done.
At the Taipower Building

Really?! I was too careful to notice.


Bike parking at the National Taiwan University.

The 2nd goal: Ride the Brown Line of the MRT

I think it's time to move on to my 2nd goal of the day: ride the brown line of the MRT.
Wait. What? Why??
A local advised me to do so BECAUSE it's the only line that is mostly above ground (except for 2 or 3 stops that it was underground, like Taipei Songshan Airport). Since I want to get a general overview of the city and shouldn't walk much, I thought that was perfect.

Only picture I took: Dahu Park from the train
Sorry guys, I was too absorbed by the scenery to take any pictures.
I made it to the end of the line (Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Station). I wanted to ride it back to the other end (and my 3rd goal), the Taipei Zoo.

Then reason stepped in. Thanks to a conversation with a Taiwanese girl in the hostel the previous evening, I was in a potentially risky situation of not being able to continue with my travel plans. I needed the trains and I didn't have any tickets. To make it worse, most of my train-travel was going to be in the weekend--when everyone wants to travel too. I could get a bus, but I love trains! That and I get carsick.

To my advantage, the station I was at connected the brown with the blue line--which went directly to Taipei Main Station.
Perfect coincidence? I don't believe in coincidences.

Getting on the wrong escalator may cost you time.

The 4th goal which became the 3rd: get train tickets to Xincheng and Kaohsiung

Southern entrances to the Taipei Main Station.
Alright, inside the station. Now, where are the ticket booths? I don't want a machine. I need a human who can understand. Ah, sign says go that way and . . .
. . . whoa . . . 

Sorry this panorama is underwhelming.
Yes, the open central area was huge and impressive. I was not expecting that at all.

I like the lines and shadow play here.
After about 20 - 30 min., I got my tickets to Xincheng and Kaohsiung. The people who helped me spoke quite decent English. Good for them (and for me)!

Next post will cover my 3rd goal (which became my 4th): riding the MRT to Taipei Zoo and riding up the Maokong Gondola.

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