Well guys, I made it! I arrived in Taipei at 7pm last night and my drive to the flat was only 35 minutes.
The flight was fantastic (okay, slight exaggerations!). I chose Turkish airlines for the first time because they allow you 40kg luggage allowance, and damn did I need it! On the flight to Istanbul I had 3 seats aaaall to myself. I watched Everything, everything – adapted from Nicola Yoon’s wonderful book. It was such a moving film. I loved it!
I wasn’t impressed with the airport in Istanbul. It was completely overcrowded, there were queues for everything and the staff were so rude! When I finally got on the plane for Taipei I had 4 seats all to myself! And for the first time that I can ever remember, I slept! I slept for 7 out of ten hours and I didn’t even watch a film! It’s an actual miracle. Unfortunately the food wasn’t very nice though.
When I arrived the heat hit me like a tonne of bricks. 29°C and 92% humidity at 7pm! The drive was lovely and calm, nothing like the horrible drive I had when I arrived in Shanghai for my China trip.
My housemates seem absolutely lovely! They’re not too chatty but still really friendly. They went to get food at a local restaurant and I wanted to find McDonalds, which ended up being closed. So I stopped at 7-11 and bought a salad, oreos and green tea – so nutritious!
I had about 3 hours sleep on and off throughout the night, all that sleep on the plane took my tiredness away. I read, and finished, a book I’ve been reading for weeks. Finally! And waited for sunrise.
I dressed, packed a little bag and headed for the highway (literally, I use the highway to get to the city centre. On foot.) There are NO PATHWAYS in HsinChu, it’s bizarre!
At 7am people were in the temples, setting up fruit stalls or heading out to work. Everyone I spoke to was so sweet and friendly – smiling, nodding, waving or just saying ‘zao’ (Chinese for morning). I felt wonderful. The complete opposite to how I felt on my first day in China.
I walked. And walked. And walked. Passed temples, gardens, parks, highways, trains… until I finally found a Starbucks!! Coffee & WiFi stop. I contemplated going to Taipei but by the time I’d walked the extra 40 minutes to the bus station it was 36°C and I was dripping with sweat. It was disgusting.
I forgot that most places don’t open until 11am, so I wandered around little parks, side streets, market stalls and just the city in general. It had an odd calm to it. Not too busy, not overcrowded, just about right.
Eventually I wandered through three huge malls! Thankfully there’s plenty to buy here, local and foreign products! I won’t be short of anything.
It hit 12:30 – I’d been out for 5 hours. Sweating, starving and my knees were killing me yet nothing seemed edible. I wandered back the way I’d walked this morning, trying to find a rental bike, but my ‘easycard’ needed activating online. After another hour of walking I gave up and hailed a taxi. 5 minutes later I was home in an ice cold shower!
(Hello Kitty edition for my sister!)
I rested a little before going out to buy cleaning products and some food (packet noodles), then back again to find a SIM card, but without luck. It’s so frustrating not having the internet!
I’ve spent a bit of time unpacking and sorting out my room this evening, as when I moved to China I was so unhappy I couldn’t bear to unpack. Even after 5 weeks, when I was leaving, I still hadn’t unpacked more than a few clothes and my coffee kits.
I’m desperate for this experience to be positive and lasting. Everything that went wrong in China, I’m going to try and make sure it doesn’t happen here. I love Taiwan and I have so many opportunities to travel around the island and Asia, at very low prices.
My only concern is the job, but I’ll find out all about that in less than 24 hours.
And my only problem is that I keep looking backwards. I can’t help it. I have been overthinking too much lately and I can’t seem to stop.
Once I have internet at home, hopefully I’ll be able to organise meeting new people and go out and make some friends.
Eeeeeeek. Wish me luck guys.
And please come and visit. This place rocks!
(Tonight’s dinner 😂)
P.S. My mum is the best person in the entire world.