Tales from Taiwan #1: Wandering the Streets of Taichung City

With hopes of keeping my memories of Taiwan alive and always fresh, I decided to write about them one by one, little by little. I will tell a story every weekend (I promise that I will do my very best to have time for it) relaying my adventures in that small but lovely country.

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When you’re quite new in a city and you don’t have any idea what’s in store of you, it’s best to just keep an open mind and an adventurous heart and let the bus take you wherever.

On the fourth day after arriving in Taiwan, Melody, Michael and I decided to go to Taichung City by ourselves. We already had our EasyCards, reloadable cards bought from either Family Mart or 7-Eleven, so we headed off for the bus stop which was just across our school’s front gate.

In Taichung, buses have specific numbers depending on their routes. Each bus has specific stops. The usual buses that go all the way to city’s end, Taichung Train Station, are Bus 88 and Bus 83.

We boarded a Bus 88 and waited wherever it will take us. While we were still in Taichung County, the stops were quite few but became more frequent once we approached the city. We didn’t know where to get off but decided to do so when we saw a large sign that said NOVA. Because of Melody’s brother, we knew that NOVA is a large place where one can buy electronics and gadgets.

(c) Michael Tamayo

We looked around inside and indeed, a lot of cameras, laptops, cellphones, and other stuff were being sold inside. I didn’t go out empty-handed as I ended up buying a camera.

Once outside the large store, we walked around for a bit and saw a familiar store that had recently opened in the Philippines – Gong Cha. Milk Tea has started to become popular in our country so a lot of shops from Taiwan have begun setting up their businesses here. We went inside and ordered Bubble Milk Tea, quite surprised at how cheap the price is.

After drinking our milk teas, we walked some more and went back to the bus stop where we got off and crossed the street. We were headed for the National Musuem of Natural Science. We really had no specific plans but upon seeing the museum, we hoped to check some of its exhibits. However, it was almost closing time so we decided to explore the outside of museum buildings, instead.

Interestingly, the museum was not only made up of buildings but also made up of a large park where we walked and walked till our legs got sore, seeing kids playing with there parents, old men exercising, and some ladies walking their dogs.

The National Museum of Natural Science

Dinosaurs: Rawr!

Walking around the museum’s park

It was already late afternoon when we headed back to the bus stop, asking for directions on how to go back to our university. With the language barrier, locals were still kind enough to help us and after showing our IDs with the name of our school, they talked to the bus driver and told him to drop us off at our destination (which we discovered later on that it stops just a few meters away from our school’s front gate. Haha!)

It was an exciting first for me as I’ve never dared in my life, go to an unfamiliar place – not even in my home country. Here with all that freedom I had in my hands, I did and it brought me nothing but joy and pride of the achievement, a baby step toward my independence.

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