Taiwan in 20 Hours

Our crazy Hostel

Following all that happened in London, we flew 9798 Km to reach Twain’s capital, Taipei. I must confess that I was very excited because the oriental culture always fascinated me. We arrived late, near 7 in the evening, and we weren’t really thinking about sleeping anywhere but because we had the carry-ons and the layover was 20 hours, we looked for a small hostel where we could catch some sleep and take a shower. The one that was recommended to us in the airport was like something out of a movie. It was very central, right across Taipei main train station. But when we think with our westerner minds, we think about a small building or a small house. Well it was a building alright, but a very big and grim one. Like out a comic book. Asked around about it and from the few people that spoke English, we could understand that it was in one of the flours of that building. All in all, when we found it, it was very good for the price and it was more than enough for what we wanted. But the excitement was to much and we needed to use every second that we had to explore and see all that we could. By this time, it was already close to 10p.m. and we went out to explore the city as much as we could.

Depois de tudo o que aconteceu em Londres, nós voamos 9798 km até chegarmos à capital de Taiwan, Taipei. Tenho de confessar que estava muito entusiasmado porque a cultura oriental sempre me fascinou. Quando chegamos já era perto das 7 da noite e sinceramente não estávamos a pensar em dormir, mas devido ao facto de termos os trolleys e ser uma escala de 20 horas procuramos um pequeno hostel onde pudéssemos descansar e tomar um duche. No aeroporto, foi-nos recomendado um que parecia tirado de um filme. Ficava mesmo em frente a principal estação de comboios de Taipei, mas quando nós pensamos em um hostel, com as nossas mentes ocidentais, pensamos num pequeno edifício ou uma casa. Bem era num edifício, mas que era gigante e super sombrio. Parecia tirado de uma banda desenhada. Depois de perguntar às poucas pessoas que falavam inglês na rua, lá percebemos que era mesmo ali, mas que o hostel ficava em um dos andares. Apesar de tudo, o hostel era bom pelo preço que pagamos e chegava para o que precisávamos. Mas estávamos super excitados e não podíamos esperar nem mais um segundo para ir explorar e vermos tudo aquilo que conseguíssemos. Já eram perto das 10 da noite quando saímos para explorar a cidade o máximo que pudéssemos.

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Police Station / 2/28 Peace Park / Street
Stinky tofu / Ximending Night Market

Taipei during the night was an amazing experience and I loved it. We started by walking to the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the Liberty square, that were deserted at that hour. On the way there we passed through the  2/28 Peace Park, nice name, and we ended up that night in the Ximending Night Market with all the light and smell experiences. The Memorial Hall was like we were taken back to another time were things were different. I could really see the amazing hall and that amazing and gigantic square surrounded but those majestic old and traditional buildings and feel how all of that was so connected to the history of that place. The garden was a surprise, although we though to go around due to that fact that it was dark and empty, we still adventured ourselves to go through it AHAHAH. Was a nice to discover that it was a very beautiful site and it had also a remarkable history stone in the middle. Last but not the least, the night market was an experience to be lived. I cannot explain but I loved it with all the people and all its movement. The thing that I really didn’t like was the food and specially the smell… In the middle of that excitement, a very disgusting and strong smell came our way. I confess that I thought that they were frying trash or something but noooooo… It was called STINKY TOFU and people were eating it. I must confess that all the other kinds of food that we encountered there were also very hard to look at or to smell. Only for the very brave or very stupid, you decide.

Taipei durante a noite foi espetacular e eu adorei a experiência. Começámos por caminhar até ao National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall e à Liberty square, que estavam desertos aquela hora. À ida, passámos por um parque com um nome interessante chamado 2/28 Peace Park, e acabamos a noite no Ximending Night Market com todas as luzes e odores estranhos. O Memorial Hall foi como se tivéssemos andado para trás no tempo. Conseguimos ver o quão fantástico eram aqueles edifícios tradicionais rodeados por aquela praça gigante e imaginar toda a história que já tinha passado por aquele lugar. O jardim foi uma surpresa porque nós íamos para ir à volta visto que era bastante escuro, mas mesmo assim aventurámo-nos a ir pelo meio dele. Foi agradável descobrir que era bastante bonito e que no meio tinha uma pedra bastante bonita com uma longa história. Por último, chegamos ao mercado noturno e foi sem dúvida uma experiência que tem de ser vivida. Não consigo bem explicar, mas eu adorei o ambiente com todas as pessoas e com todo aquele movimento. A coisa que eu mais desgostei foi mesmo a comida, principalmente o cheiro… No meio daquela emoção toda, um cheiro super forte e horrível inundou o mercado. Confesso que pensei que estavam a fritar lixo ou alguma cena parecida, mas nãooooo… O nome traduzido daquela iguaria era Tofu Malcheiroso e as pessoas estavam a comer como se nada fosse. Confesso que todos os tipos de comida que encontramos lá eram muito difíceis de olhar ou de cheirar. Digamos que eram apenas para aqueles muito corajosos ou muito estúpidos, vocês decidem.

Temples

Next morning, we woke up as early as possible so we could still be able to explore a little bit more, but during day time. We went temple searching, because the online recommended places were mainly temples. After we saw one or two temples and some other monuments on the way, we went searching for a place to eat something because we had only eaten some chocolates and sweets the night before.

Na manhã seguinte, acordamos o mais cedo possível para conseguirmos explorar um pouco mais, desta vez de dia.Procurámos online pelos sítios mais turísticos e pelos templos principais. Depois de termos visto um ou dois destes templos e alguns outros monumentos, decidimos procurar por um lugar para comer qualquer coisa, pois só tínhamos comido alguns doces na noite anterior.

It looks nice but it was so bad….

After the market experience, it wasn’t going to be easy to find a place to eat. We stopped at a coffee shop, it was very western like, and the food really resembled ours. We thought that would be a good option and went for it. In our conversation with the waitress that almost didn’t understand English, we order some mango juice and winter melon tea and to eat something that looked like cheese toast and bread with vegetables. I recall that from all that we ordered, the only thing that was good or at least eatable was the mango juice. It’s very bad to say but that food was horrible. We left all of it and walked out almost in a walk of shame because we couldn’t eat. But it doesn’t end there. After this “unforgettable” experience, we went to see a temple that was close by (we saw two or three temples so I don’t really remember their names) but when we started to tour inside of this one, I started to get really nauseated… It was so bad that I had to look for the temple’s bathroom and I literally threw up the few bites that I had given on that “memorable” food. That basically ended our temple run lol but to be truthful with you, they were almost all the same. I wish I could share all the pictures that we took but we’ll leave just some so you can see a little of what this adventure was like. After all this we went and caught our flight to the great island nation of PALAU!

Depois da experiência no mercado, não ia ser fácil encontrar um lugar para comer. Paramos numa coffee shop, muito parecida às ocidentais, e onde a comida parecia muito semelhante à nossa. Pensamos que seria uma boa opção e entramos. Na conversa com a empregada, no pouco ingles que ela falava, conseguimos pedir um suma de manga, um cha de melao de inverno e para comer pedimos algo parecido com uma tosta de queijo e uma baguete com vegetais. Lembro-me perfeitamente que de tudo o que pedimos a única coisa que conseguimos beber foi o sumo de manga. É maus dizer mas a comida era horrível. Saímos do café envergonhados porque deixamos a comida quase toda. Mas infelizmente não terminou aqui. depois desta experiência inesquecível, fomos ver um templo que estava relativamente perto (nao me lembro bem dos nomes dos templos porque vimos alguns) e quando começamos a visita no interior eu comecei a ficar bastante nauseado… Foi de tal maneira mau que tive de procurar a pressa pela casa de banho do templo para poder vomitar o pouco que tinha comido daquele “fantástico” manjar. Isto basicamente acabou com as nossas visitas aos templos lol mas pra ser sincero, eles eram quase todos parecidos. Gostava de poder partilhar todas as fotos que tiramos destas aventuras mas deixo apenas algumas para poderem ver as nossas aventuras. Depois disto tudo apanhamos o voo para a grande ilha nação do PALAU!

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