The reason for this appallingly late post is that I was in Taipei last night. After waking up hung over, stumbling to McDonald’s for breakfast, and saying farewell to our house guest, we boarded a bus for the capital and most highly populated city in Taiwan, Taipei.
The main bus and train stations are in the same area of the city, all of which are surrounded by shopping malls. But probably the most interesting thing about this part of Taipei is what’s happening underground. There are virtual catacombs of shopping sprawling out for what seems like miles under the stations. The chaos and crush of people as you exit your bus or train is nearly suffocating. Geoff was disoriented and mildly panicky as we tried to negotiate the crowd. We kept getting lost and going in circles up and down stairs from above to below just trying to find a 7-11 to get a candy bar before we passed out.
Once we finally managed to get in touch with the friend we were staying with for the night, we made our way back underground and onto the MRT. This is one of the things I love about Taipei. It’s so easy and cheap to get from place to place. The low price was especially significant after recently returning from London where it cost 8 pounds to use the tube for the day.
I was so pleased when our friend suggested Gordon Beirsch for dinner. I was ravenous and in need of something covered with cheese. Barbecue chicken pizza was precisely what I required. Another great thing about Taipei is how easy it is to get delicious food.
Even though we were staying with a friend for the evening, I was still ready for bed by 10 pm. I was glad that our friend also had to get up early for work and didn’t mind crashing at such a nerdily early hour. One bad thing about Taipei is that it definitely isn’t any quieter than Taichung. I slept extremely poorly and was so disoriented when I woke up this morning. But I don’t want to give that away as I still have to write another post for today.
Taipei is a nice place to visit. There’s tons of shopping and great restaurants. It’s extremely convenient to get from place to place. But the weather is much more humid and oppressive than Taichung. The clouds hang low and there is a constant threat of rain. This also seems to trap the pollution making breathing difficult. But mostly it’s the overcrowding that gets me down. There are a million people in every direction. It makes me claustrophobic just walking down the sidewalk. I’m glad that it’s there when I need it, but Taichung is definitely the ideal Taiwanese city in my opinion. Except that you can’t apply for a green card here…