My sister and brother are in Japan and I am in Singapore.
We have been wanting to travel together, just 3 of us, because we had never done that before.
We decided to pick Taiwan as our first destination
because it was a kind of in the middle of both Japan and Singapore.
They will fly from Japan and I will fly from Singapore.
We are using different airlines and they will land at different airports,
we decided to meet up at the hotel.
I landed 1 hour earlier than them, but at Taoyuen airport.
It takes more than 1 hour drive from Taoyuen airport to the Taipei city.
On the other hand, my sister and brother landed at Song Shan airport, which I didn't know but it was just 10 mins drive to the Taipei city.
I was supporsed to reach at the hotel earlier than them, but I was almost 2 hours late.
I had to queue up at the Taiwan immigration. There was a long queue.
Finally when my turn came, I was told to go back to the end of the queue again
because I didn't fill in the immigration card...
After somehow passing the immigration, there was a guy standing in front of a tax stand and calling out "taxi, taxi?"
But I didn't realize that and walked pass him.
When the guy approached me, I didn't know what he was saying and so I got freaked out.
But later I found out that he was just asking me if I wanted to take a taxi.
I'm sorry for freaking out.. I was alone and nervous at that time.
Never mind, I decided to take a train in stead.
But soon I realized that there was only a highspeed railway, but no ordinary train here at the airport.
I was a bit confused.
I should have taken the highspeed railway but thought that it might be expensive.
So I decided to take a bus.
I showed my hotel address to a lady at the bus counter and bought a bus ticket.
She showed me a train map and pointed the station I am supposed to be heading to.
She told me that the bus doesn't stop there so I have to get off 1 stop before that station and take a train there.
I said I understood and thanked her in Chinese.
I successfully got on a correct bus and I was happy.
At first I was looking outside very carefully not to miss the bus stop.
But later on I realized that it would take a while to get to the taipei city so I decided to take a nap.
Wrong idea, but I did.
Then when I woke up, it was already my stop.
Super good timing, but I wasn't sure whether it was the correct stop or not.
I was looking around and asked the lady sitting next to me but she didn't understand what I was saying. Then, the bus door closed and it started moving again.
I went to ask the bus driver but he didn't understand English.
I started to be a bit upset. Oh no I should have studied Chinese before coming to Taiwan.
If not, I should have just taken a taxi to the hotel.
Just when such thoughts came across my mind, a young lady talked to me.
"Are you Japanese? Where are you heading to?"
Thank god!!! I looked at her like she was a holy figure.
I said , "Yes, I am Japanese and I want to go to this station."
She helped me talk to the bus driver and told me that I had already missed my stop.
So she suggested me to get off at the next stop and walk to another MRT station.
I thanked her in Chinese and Japanese and English.
I didn't know how to express my feelings.
Then I thought,
"Wait a sec, how am I supposed to find the mrt station...?"
When that thought came across my mind, another Taiwanese lady spoke to me in Japanese, with a bit of Osaka accent.
She said to me,
"I am getting off here, let's go together. I will show you the way."
So 2 of us got off at this stop where I didn't know where it was.
She said the station is a bit far.
At the end, it took us about 15 mins to get there.
She was heading to a completely oposite way from the mrt station,
but she walked all the way to the station for me.
She told me that she used to live in Osaka for 20 years and that was why she can speak Japanese so fluently, and with a bit of Osaka accent.
I told her that she was very kind to show me the way and walked with me for such a long distance.
Then she said,
"In Taiwan, people are helpful. But it is the same in Japan isn't it."
I was so touched by this word.
I was very happy that she thought of Japanese people that way.
When we finally reached the station, she even bought me a train ticket.
She told me a few times that I must get off at "Jin Tan" station.
I didn't know how to read the chinese charactor so it was very helpful that she told me how to pronounce it.
She waved to me untill I dissapeard to the train platform.
I did the same.
I truly appreciated her kind help...
After reaching at Jin Tan station, I realized that I didn't have a map to the hotel.
I only wrote down the address. There wasn't even a hotel address on my paper.
I decided to ask a person at the train counter for help.
I told him that I wanted to go to this address and asked him if he knew a way.
He came out of the ticket office and took me to this lady who was introducing local tours just across the ticket office. He talked to her in Chinese and the lady helped me look up the address online and gave me a map and told me a brief instruction of how to walk there in Japanese...
Let me say it aigan, Taiwanese people are really so kind and helpful.....!!!!!
I thanked both of them in Chinese a few times.
Then I started walking toward the hotel. Finally, I am reaching the hotel!!!
I felt sorry for that I was super disorganized and so I involved so many people on my way.
But at the same time, I was very happy that I encountered so many nice people on my way.
If I used a taxi, I wouldn't have met these nice people.
When I reached the hotel, my sister and brother were not there.
I thought that maybe they hadn't reached here yet.
Then I thought again.
"it cannot be. I was almost 2 hour late."
I was very thirsty as I took Jetstar and didn't order any drinks on the airplane.
So I went into a convenience store - Family Mart!! same as Japan!! - and bought a grape juice drink.
After I came back to the hotel, I saw 2 people walking towards the hotel.
I saw my sister and brother!!!!!
They told me that the way I dressed looked like the main charactor from raputa- castle in the sky.
That was the first word they said to me when they saw me.
I hugged them and said long time no see.
I also apologized them for being late.
They told me that they reached about 2 hours ago and had tried calling my mobile phone but had diffuculties in finding a public telephone as well as communicating with the recipetion lady.
My brother gave me a soya milk drink.
I thought it was very nice of him to offer me a drink when I was very thirsty.
But then soon after, I found out that the drink had some weird taste....
Yes he just wanted to get rid of the drink he bought..
I suggested him to throw the drink away but my sister said it would be a waste.
At the end, my sister drunk it all.
Ok the introduction became too long but finally we united in Taiwan.
We had no plans for today so decided to go to Shimentin (西門町) and walk around.
We first went to the red house (西門紅楼).
There were many small creative shops inside.
It was like an atalier/studio for artists to sell their creative work.
Stationaries to accessories, clothes to hand bags and more!
It was really fun to look around and shop around.
Then we became hungry (well, it was mainly me, because I didn't eat anything on the airplane so I was super hungry), so we decided to eat at somewhere.
We found this cafe called XinKong 新港 and had some afternoon tea.
We chose 5 small dishes like Xiao long bao 小籠包,
dumplings, pork ribs etc and some tea in a tea pot.
Afternoon set is really cheap and nice!
We hadn't met or talked for a very long time that we had a long crazy non-stop chat in this cafe and spent the entire afternoon here. (Well I was the one who was doing the talking most of the time, but it was super fun)
After a while we ran out of the tea.
(A lot of talking requires lots of drinks)
We were shy to ask for more hot water as we stayed there for a quite long time.
So embarrassingly we ended up pouring some water from a water jar to our tea pot.
Then this very kind waiter saw us doing such things and he kindly offered to pour some more hot water in the tea pot for us.
It was very embarrasing but appreciated his help a lot!!
Around 5 or 6pm, we finally decided to leave the cafe.
We were pretty tired but decided to drop by at Shilin night market before we head back to the hotel.
Our hotel was just 10 mins walk from the market so we eventually went there night after night.
Just at the entrance of the night market, there was a fruit stall.
All the fruit looked very nice and the lady told my sister to try some...
Then my brother,,, then me...
Japanese being Japanese...
In this kind of situation, we cannot say no...
We didn't want any fruit but we tried them then after that my sister almost bought it just because she felt bad for not buying it...
But when the shop lady started talking to other customers, we quickly left the place.. sorry.
It was a long first day in Taipei.
My sister knocked out straight after we went into our hotel room.
We were all very tired but had lots of fun!!