Day 17 – Taipei – Bus to Taiping National Park

So the tour bus was leaving for Taiping National Park early in the morning, so I had to get up at around 5 to head out. I made my way to the meeting spot that Tif had sent me, and I got to the exact point maybe 15 minutes early, so pretty good. But it took a while for any of the others to show up. Finally got onto the right tour bus and headed off. Strangely, the bus completely circled the block about 3 times (felt like 5) before we headed off. I don’t know exactly why it did this, and it was a bit strange, but whatever.

It was a long bus ride. It was made even longer because it was a kareoke bus, and filled with old Chinese tourists who all wanted to sing their beloved romantic midi sequencer songs. This was pretty awful, and the television screens in the bus displayed a randomly selected extremely cheesy generic music video to each song. These videos usually involved a couple either fighting or frolicking around. The microphone would occasionally have feedback that startled everyone, just to make sure they were awake and listening to the old dreary voices and high trebble midi. In Italian, it is called sdolcinato.

The natural setting outside the bus was alright, but a bit bleak. We passed by all of these dried up riverbeds. It was dusty and grey everywhere, but mixed in with tropical patches of palm trees and forest. The bus also stopped every couple minutes for a rest room break, which I suppose was for the old people.

Eventually made it to the park. We walked up a set of stairs and took a cute little train. It went a few kilometers, and dropped us off in the middle of a series of paths. There were signs warning of snakes and bees, but the sign could have meant there were snake-bees roaming the forest, flying in and stinging their prey. Kyle, Tif’s brother, kept claiming everything was haunted.

Tiffany and I sort of split off from the others and hiked around, but very quickly realized that all the paths were very short, and not that interesting. The basic trails made a kind of 8 shape, and there were three other main trails off of it, but all three of the main trails were closed due to damage done by the recent typhoon. Iiii wasn’t so sure about that, and Tif and I were going to get bored soon if we didn’t go somewhere, so we crossed over the do not cross line, and started down a trail. It was a pretty trail and seemed to have not been walked all that often. We got down a ways and looked at the time, and figured if we headed back up we would catch the train back at the right time and the bus.

Luckily we timed it exactly and just got back onto the train that took us to the main area. We meandered around there, and got back onto the bus. Travelled back in a very similar way to the travel there, with the kareoke blaring. Stopped at some kind of food place and bought these weird flat crackers which tasted alright but didn’t really satisfy our hunger.

Once we got back to Taipei it was fairly dark, and we decided we would try to meet up for the Shilin night market.

I went back to the hostel to relax for a bit, and realized I would also have time to go back to Ola’s place because I forgot my sandals. So after a while I headed over there, and realized I had actually less time than I thought I did, so I rushed over to grab my sandals. Luckily she had just gotten there at the same time I got to her place as well, so I got the shoes, had a quick glass of apple juice because I was really exhausted, and continued my running to the night market. My luck continued as I just barely managed to make a few trains, and got to the station 15 or 20 minutes later than Tif and I had agreed upon. Once again, luckily we just saw each other as I got there. Because the trains shut down at 12:30, we actually didn’t have too much time to get around the Shilin night market, but we saw a bit and we stopped for this really great shaved ice dessert. It wasn’t crushed ice, but rather something like a block of milky flavored ice that they spun around and shaved off flakes into a bowl. It tasted like a weirdly textured ice cream. I got the coffee flavored one and it was excellent.

Then we said goodnight and I went back to the hostel for sleep.

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