Only a few days ago did I return from my journey to Taiwan. It has left an impression on my soul that I am still trying to understand. There is such rich beauty everywhere I look, whether I am ascending a mountain trail, strolling through Taipei at night, or meandering through a park bedizened with statues and memorials.
I only stayed there for two weeks but I feel as though I have left a part of myself there. My journey took me to night markets, Tamsui, the Lin Gardens, Beitou hot springs, Elephant Mountain, Yangmingshan, aboriginal villages, anime exhibits, waterfalls, the bizarre Yehliu beach, Keelung port harbors, and the enchanting village of Jiufen.
My journey to Taiwan also marks my first international trip--one also I ended up taking by myself! I was originally planning on going with my sister or brother-in-law, but as fate would have it, I undertook this journey by myself.
My midnight arrival in Taipei was quite jarring. I didn't have internet on my phone and I was trying to figure out which bus route would take me the nearest to my hostel. I wandered the streets and used the maps at bus stops to find Hankou Street, which would supposedly lead to my hostel. I finally found it by 1am and slept for the first time in probably 48 hours. Indeed, I didn't sleep the night prior to my flight. Not a wise decision.
The people are truly hospitable in Taiwan. I was amazed that I had a positive interaction with a stranger almost every day. The people I came across were nothing but gracious to me. A few students (I presume) once approached me at Tamsui and asked to draw my portrait, which was a fun experience. I met my penpals in Taiwan, who were all too happy to guide me to different destinations and assist me with my questions about the MRT system, basic Mandarin, and bus routes.
One of my favorite destinations was the Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail, pictured above. It felt ancient and otherworldly to me as I traversed those steps and forest routes for a few hours. Looking down at Taipei from the ledges and balconies was awe-inspiring. It is a feeling that has never touched my soul before when I looked upon a place. There is a sense of feeling alone on this trail, but it isn't a lonely emotion. It feels as though you are the only one walking through the forests and admiring the plentiful nature and sculpted rocks. The city felt as though it was leagues behind me. I should like to return and view the city at night, alit in all of its vivid glory. I shall add more blog entries detailing my trip to Taiwan and the various destinations, what I liked and disliked, the food, and the many instances that Google maps saved my life.