Few weeks left in Taiwan

Been a little bit of time since writing anything here. I’m in Taichung now and have a few days left here. Taichung is a really nice city to visit with parks, museums, and tourist attractions that can be reached by walking or taking Uber or buses. There is no MRT here so I get around primarily walking to places. It’s my chosen way anyways since I often get side-tracked to see yet other places.

I looked at the calendar this morning on my iPad and I have just about two weeks left after two months in Taiwan. I read a few of the travel bloggers posts about things to do with your time and I studiously ignore them. No one builds an itinerary for a month in Taipei or weeks in places traveling down the coast on the High Speed Rail system. In two weeks I have two cities left to practice what I always do which is slow down in each city and just take what they offer. I’ll leave for Tainan which is the historic capitol city of Taiwan on Monday. Then a week later will leave for my final city here which is Kaoshiung. I have read only a little about each one so have no real destinations in mind. Then after doing what I do which is what I feel like doing, I leave for two more days in Taipei before flying to Philippines. Like I mentioned before, if I had it to do all over again I would not go to the Philippines at all and would spend the last month here in Taiwan instead. I would have liked to slowly work my way up the eastern side of the island on the regular train service.

It’s interesting that in a little over a month, I will be leaving for the US for a short visit. I have not been back for almost two years but there are things there I want to do as well. Besides spending more money than usual. I have wanted to ride Amtrak across the US and just about got it done except for the trip to Florida from San Antonio Texas. I do ride from Oakland to Texas and then Florida to New York before leaving for Morocco. So I feel somewhat like I took care of a thing I wanted. My primary reasons to go back are family and friends there. I do not know when I will make it back again. I don’t feel some urge to ever live in the US again. I found a life for myself and found a person I love in Vietnam and I want to get back to both. Vietnam has the ingredients for my life so I will always go toward making myself happy and being with my L again.

Just a word though on blogging and my lack of schedule. I have no schedule. I do not write posts before hand or schedule things to say. I don’t stay up all hours trying to figure out what crap I should write here. Sometimes I enjoy writing about a specific city like Taipei because perhaps it gives you a different view of what life can be like if you divorce yourself from schedules and itineraries and country and continent counts. If you go slow you will see more. Just try it yourself. Try walking somewhere and then taking a taxi to the same place. Which one will show the most of the city and the people and the parks. Forget the stupid and vapid instagram moments and your selfies. This is you out there going slow.

With a few weeks left, I kinda compare this with the same kind of thing I did in Malaysia. I spent almost three months in Malaysia earlier this year. Wonderful times in a place that is so culturally and historically diverse spent slowly seeing it all. I wandered KL for almost a month. Took a month in George Town and then lesser times in Melaka, Kuantan, and Port Dickson. Got see a friend back in PJ for a long wanted lunch and meeting. Slow times. No itineraries or plans.

In two years counting my few weeks left in Taiwan been only to a few countries. Each one has given me something more and vital and encompassing. I’ll never wish to just go at breakneck speed on day long itineraries to Kyoto. What is the gain there? There is none. You see what a day can give you. You get no sense of the life and moments and movements of people. I spent a month in New Taipei City in a district rarely visited by tourists and backpackers (thankfully). I went to a non tourist night market and found the hustle and bustle and a delicious Taiwanese steak dinner with noodles and eggs cooked for me. I did the day in and out travels on the MRT with a month long pass.

What did I learn? I learned that cities are not meant for instagram moments and planned itineraries. Saigon cannot bend itself to your itinerary so you will bend. You will see the three things and not the wonderful alleys and side streets. So be it with my few weeks left. I’ve seen less than the travel bloggers and instagram moment seekers and selfie takers. But then again, did they wander the one side street in Saigon where the kids waved and smiled and said hello bashfully at first and then wanted their pictures taken? Who lost and who gained is up for debate.

See you when I reach Tainan. A historic city that will let my feet touch its soul for a week.

November 29, 2019