Last week, I was just at Taipei with a couple of friends – and if you read my postcard a couple weeks back, the last time I was here it was a hell of an adventure (at least for me, that is.)
I got a chance to see Taipei with new eyes this time. The rain, errr… storm, gave the city a cloak of depth to a point of gloom, but also a comfort that is familiar. Too bad, we couldn’t just stay in as we were just there for the weekend. It would be lovely to stay in the hostel and try to get to know fellow travelers. And keep toasty. Rain is best experienced indoors with a hot cuppa, I reckon.
The brief was simple: get in, eat, and get back. Instead, we had so much more. It’s been a while since I took a trip this short. We did eat a lot. Unexpectedly shopped. And saw a lot of art.
The city is brimming with art: either handmade by humans in a museum, or city life sprawling on the streets. Taipei has indeed gone up to being one of my favorite Asian cities.
My trip to Taipei last 2015 was two things – amazing and, in some ways, horrifying. I learned a whole lot about myself in this trip, and that I hope the next time some sort of thing happens to me next time, I’m hella prepared.
You see, when I travel I plan and do everything on my phone. My itinerary, my flight, my budgets, good graciousness my Grindr. I had it all prepared – in classic Jonver fashion – an itinerary in the form of spreadsheet, complete with specific date and time and addresses and directions, was saved on my phone; the boarding passes on the respective airline app; a train app downloaded; budgets on notes; it was like clockwork. What happened next almost made me regret this trip.
My phone, its screen blood red, died on me. On my first day in Taipei. I know what you might be thinking – it’s just a phone; your trip means so much more than that. Not when your whole life (in the form of plans and details for this particular matter) revolved on the existence and functioning of a phone. Taipei wasn’t known for their good English, but God bless them nice people who tried to help me. And no thank you Apple, for a non-functional international warranty? You apparently need me to go to my telco provider to give me my warranty.
Needless to say, I gave up on it; also strapped for cash to buy a new phone to keep connected. The next logical thing to do is to grab a paper map in Taipei Main Station to help me get on with my trip, and try hard to see a silver lining. I found a couple of silver linings.
When I was looking for a cheap phone around Guanghua Digital Plaza, I saw an instant film camera. It felt so familiar and not all at the same time; and instead of leaving what seems a hotpot of electronics in all of Taipei with a phone that could abate my internet withdrawal, I left with an analog camera and a couple expired rolls of film. It’s been a while since I loaded a roll on a camera and it felt so amazing. People stared at me when I snap a photo and they hear the tiny gears that move the film from one frame to another.
I haven’t uploaded the whole two rolls I had developed. I guess I’m trying to be that nostalgic person who shows albums of old photos in house parties and reunions.
Aaaaaaand I’m also on my way to Taiwan for a quick weekend jaunt! I hope this time my phone does not quit on me.
I have a rather infamous travel bummer – I don’t do well with nature. People from my side of the world love the sun, sand, and sea; I don’t. People spend weekends hiking; I’d rather stay in, thank you very much. Me and nature, and my asthma more than occasionaly, would very much like to be left apart.
Though last year saw my endless pursuit of le concrete jungle, one trip stuck out of them all… well, at least half.
I’ll always love Baguio. I think the city is romantic; not too nature-y, not too concrete-y (if that makes sense.) It’s the one place nearest home I actually want to go to every weekend, if my hooman energy permits. Wait til it drizzles a bit and let the atmosphere completely change and hold you in love with the city by the mountains some more.
Among my favorite spots is the Ben Cab museum – with human art in the front, and nature’s art in the back; with the comfort food of Cafe Isabel in between. This foliage is from Ben’s personal garden, I believe – which is a side of a mountain let me tell you. Plus points, when the fog covers the entire property – absolutely stunning to see.
There’s less than two weeks before summer finally concludes its hellish heat. Maybe I should head back to Baguio, even for a weekend.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog. The last time I posted here, I was training in Singapore and that opportunity kicked off a lot of other opportunities for me. I also said, I was busy participating – which for the most part, is true. Lately, I’m just tired and too busy looking for Netflix shows to binge. I’m also too busy looking at my photos while traveling. It reminds me of my favorite times. So here’s my first postcard to you.
Back in NYC last Christmas season, I found myself in a Chinese joint around Kips Bay. The weather too cold, my four layers not providing enough heat, and myself direly in need of a comforting meal after a humpy bus ride upstate. They were about to close in half an hour, but they took me in. I bet the Chinese momma manning the store took a pity at this scrawny obvious first-timer to the New York cold and told herself – jeez he needs soup. I happily finished my bowl of comfort. Chinese food really never fails you wherever you go. When I took my check, like clockwork, she handed me a fortune cookie. It said the one thing I’ve been thinking when I landed to New York for the holidays.
Live for the moment, because there is only one result in life.