I was sad to leave Hualien and my new friends on Sunday. I really got to know and like the place – it makes a difference when you can become a ‘regular’ somewhere, like a juice bar or breakfast place, even if it’s just for a week. Seeing the same faces and the same smiles is comforting while you’re on the road.
By Sunday though I felt completely drained – I hadn’t slept well for two weeks and it suddenly hit me as I dragged myself, backpack ‘n all, out of the hostel.
The hostel was quite far out of town (too far to walk with a backpack anyway) so I was wandering around looking for a bus when a nice couple in their 40s stopped me outside the 7 Eleven and asked me where I was going. When I said the train station, and asked if there was a bus, they signalled for me to get in their car and took me to the station. They went out of their way to help me out – typical of Taiwanese people. I was so grateful! I couldn’t thank them enough, and they seemed delighted to have helped out a foreigner – I had to pose for a picture with them as they held up my bags gleefully to the camera. I walked away smiling to myself that we’d all benefited from their kindness.
I got the cheap 200NT train back to Taipei and found my new hostel, just down the road from Taipei 101, which was once the tallest building in the world until Dubai came along to steal the glory.
All I’ve done in the last few days is walk around the Taipei 101 area, go to the cinema twice (to see Star Trek and Trance), visit the nearby night market and eat as much fruit and healthy foods as I can to restore my energy. I’ve also read a colossal amount on my Kindle and generally enjoyed not doing a lot.
Taiwan has been a great experience and as I always say, I’ve learnt so much. I really mean it – doing the volunteering (HelpX) projects has allowed me to get a better insight into the people, the customs and the way of life here, and I’ve loved it all. I hope I can come back to Taiwan one day and see more.