Bye Bye to Taiwan

Back in another airport. I think waiting for flights is going to be come my de facto journaling time. This time I’m waiting for my flight to Kuala Lumpur where I will make a triumphant return with lungs free of unwanted liquid.

Yesterday, I got in a few last sights in Taipei before I had to head back to the hostel for an early night. I started off by getting lost on the way to the Hsahai City God Temple. I eventually got some help and found the tiny place that wasn’t really much to look at, but they did have a lot of good information there about the customs enacted by each temple goer.

The temple was right in the midst of the Dihua street market where candies galore were being peddled to throngs of shoppers. Enough free samples were being handed out that you could probably wander the market a couple times and you’d end up with a free meal. A free meal with a lot of sugar in it, but a free meal nonetheless. The place was packed full of people and I couldn’t help wondering why all these people weren’t at work on a Monday morning.

After the market, I went to check out the Grand Hotel. This impressive structure is a huge building in a traditional Chinese design. Up on a hill, it overlooks the hazy city and must have some fantastic views on clear days from its upper floors. A little out of my price range though.

Last, I stopped at the Xingtian temple. You’d think I’d be sick of temples by now, but they don’t seem to get old to me. Each has something new to offer and there is always some new photographic challenge to try to overcome, so it’s always a pleasure. Here, old women in blue robes wandered the grounds and tended to the visitors. These helpful smurfs were often found reading texts or blessing the patrons of the temple.

I trudged back to my hostel and prepared myself to leave this fine country. I wish I had more time here – there are plenty more sights I would have liked to explore. The biggest downside of this island is the cost. It’s not as bad as Japan, but some of the prices are going to look like a king’s ransom once I get to Southeast Asia.

But, the positives outweighed the negatives. I think the biggest upside to Taiwan is its people. My experiences with them were always fantastic. They were always friendly and even when the language barrier got in the way, they were willing to help in any way they could. I can only hope to meet such gracious people as I continue on my trip.

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