Taiwan: A Collaborative Post
Words by Jeremiah Juliano
There are places that you reach by accident, but make you want to stay on purpose. It was a promo-priced ticket, or probably chance and good timing that brought me and my friend of 10 years to Taiwan. Honestly, it wasn’t really a trip I’m ecstatic about. I had limited budget. My work and school calendars were packed. PLUS what the hell does one do in Taiwan?
Worse, the continuously worsening traffic in Manila made me miss my departure. Yes, my plane flew off without me. Call it carelessness, false judgment, Philippine-transport-gone-awry, but for me, it was fate in all its playful glory. I had all the reasons within my comfort zone not to push through with the vacation. It could be the visa, or the cheap hotel fee, but again, there was some amazing, funny, and playful force that made me book another one-way flight with my friend for the following day.
We arrived in Taiwan when everyone was asleep. Then daylight kicked in. The streets and the windowsill of our room were damp from the rain. The minute we stepped out of the hotel and into the cool sunrise, we knew, this trip will be unlike any other.
Contrary to the cold silence that welcomed us in the evening, warmth and friendliness of the Taiwanese surprised us in the morning. The local 7-11 register greeted me with eagerness. Train officers assisted us with utmost positivity. Store owners and passers by smiled at us as if they understood every word we said.
Contrary to my misconception, there are a lot of things to do in Taiwan. And I don’t use the term ‘a lot’ lightly here. Art enthusiasts will find museums and art galleries that range from the vintage to bizarre, modern, and quirky. Hardcore shoppers will delight bargaining in their busy street markets and surfing through malls of floors and floors of high-end brands. Blocks of streetfood stalls and authentic oriental cuisine will also overwhelm even the ultimate foodie. Temples, ruins, and monuments are present to amuse the history buffs. Nature lovers will also find convenient access to mountain trails, geoparks, and even forest treks.
But when all else fails, let the unique charm of the city capture you. Let the arrangement of old and new structures fascinate you. Let the mixture of scanty lines, colors and figures slowly organize themselves and form memories that will last forever. Let the city seize you. Let it enthrall you. And make you reflect. Make you think. Make you lose your way. Then probably make you find yourself again and make you want to stay.
Rebooking a four-thousand-peso-fare ended up to be one of the the best careless mistakes I made my entire life.