Started my day with a coffee and vegetable omlette in pocket bread at Louisa Coffee shop. A lovely and relaxing way to start the busy day I have ahead of me!
While I was having coffee l managed to get in touch with the people I met last week, Prudence and Toms. We made arrangements to meet at 12 noon for lunch. In the meantime I went back to the apartment and called for a taxi do take me to Xin Zuoying (HSR) station. Turns out I can get a high speed rail train directly to Taoyuan Airport, so instead of leaving at 12pm, I don’t need to leave until 3pm. With the train due to arrive at 4.30pm, I have half an hour before I am due to check in – which is at 5pm for an 8pm flight.
After that I went to do some shoe shopping but ended up at the same shopping. l took a look but I have found the while most things may be slightly cheaper them in Australia, it’s minimal and so not really worth buying as something special to buy overseas. Even the mobiles and activity trackers did not seem to be particularly cheap.
With time getting away I headed off down the escalators. As I rode down each level a woman was heading down also but on a different escalator. We crossed at about the midpoint and typically ignored each other. On the second level the same thing happened and we nodded and smiled in acknowledgement – but on the third time we gave each other a big smile and said “Ni Hao”. The amazing thing was that for a fourth time we crossed over again and we both laughed out loud. We both started to speak and I said ‘have a nice day’ to which she switched language and said the same thing to me in English. After that I continued down but the lady went her own way. It made me think though, that lady was able to repeat what I said; I could not make out any of the sounds much less try to repeat a greeting like that. The Chinese language is so foreign to all my senses – spoken and written. Yet in Australia we have the nerve to ask newcomers to our land and for that matter our Indigenous peoples to speak and read only English. How hard must it be for them; all their senses are assaulted with the sounds and the alphabet script of English while adjusting to the cultural upheaval of coming to an understanding of Anglo-Australian culture. Here in Taiwan people continually make allowances for my ineptitude with the Chinese language. Even the French guy I met spoke to me in English. There is so much more I could muse on here especially in light of recent senate voting in Australia but this is a travel blog. I do think that recognising a place of privilege is something we all need to do. It’s not about trying to be ‘other’ but insuring that we recognise the bias privilege brings when thinking about and acting on concepts of inclusion, equality, merit, power and justice…
Now back to the day!
Lunch with Prudence and Toms was wonderful. I really enjoyed meeting them last week and today was mo different. They took me on a journey through foods they enjoy. The restaurant was named 地糖仔. It’s a Cantonese dim sum restaurant.
And the food was absolutely delicious.
Well if I am honest, the main course was but I think next time I will forego the desserts. But I did try them. I had four of the deep fried gluttonous rice balls and I ate a whole egg custard bun.
We talked about Kenting as they had also been there recently with friends from Hong Kong and we talked about some of the travel they hoped to do in Taiwan. Turns out they haven’t been to Hualien or Taitung. Prudence has also traveled quite a bit when she was single – including Australia and New Zealand.
I have been very blest by the people I have met throughout this trip.
After lunch I decided to get some shoe shopping in but this time in the local streets. Turns out most shopping areas sell the same kind of thing like one street might do jade, another might do clothes. This one did shoes and I was not disappointed. After visiting every shop along the street, I made my choices but ran out of time to get back to the first shop. But I did manage to grab a snack to tide me over until tea time.
Hailing a taxi, I returned once again to Maggie’s Wax and Spa. This time I was getting a two hour facial and yes it was fabulous. My face feels absolutely wonderful and so soft. I loved going to Maggie’s place. Maggie, herself was just lovely and the tea you drank at the beginning and end somehow completed the package and it was so much more affordable than in Australia.
Finally I returned to the apartment where Gene had prepared tea for our last night together. Oh my gosh what a meal! It was beautiful – lettuce tacos, freshly cut fruit and a dish with tomatoes, cheese and balsamic vinegar. All accompanied with a glass of wine.
I will miss Gene when I return. She has been a wonderful host and looked after me with so much care. We had so much fun and riding on the back of her scooter was just the coolest thing – given how used to the roads she is. Gene is also a dedicated and highly professional teacher and her students are lucky to have her as their teacher.
It is now 2pm on the day I am due to leave. I am so ready to go home but I have loved Taiwan. I hope to return in the next year or so.
With 10 mins to spare I made the HSR train; met a beautiful Taiwanese couple from Houston, Texas and spotted a curious label in the elevator!
Farewell Taiwan. It has been a wonderful holiday!