Day 1, Taichung
4th December 2010, Saturday
The flight to Taipei was a pleasant one. AirAsia’s captain, Michael Lim was a little chatty. He talked a lot about Taipei which makes us all think, he must be a Taiwanese who is working as pilot with AirAsia! At least he’s enthusiastic and spoke eloquently with his very good English!
We landed at Taoyuan Airport after 4 hours and 40 minutes flight. There was a slight delay of almost 40 minutes earlier at the LCCT airport because of long queue of planes at the runway, but the pilot made up for lost time and we actually landed in Taipei on time!
After that, some of our travel mates applied for Youth Card where we could get some discounts on entrance tickets. For me, I am already way over 30, so no youth card for me. Rather sad eh? Haha!
Our driver picked us up at Taoyuan Airport and we made our way to Taichung – some 2 hours away from Taoyuan Airport, where we spent a night nearby Fengjia night market. Since our group consisted of 10 people, we hired two vehicles – one cab and a van. I was in the van with 5 other girls. The journey was rather torturing because the driver stank of cigarettes. He must be smoking like a chimney before getting us at the airport.
It was a Saturday night, and yet the entire city was jammed packed with people, probably going back to their hometowns. Most highways were all jammed up. The drive drove recklessly to avoid jams and he ran almost all red lights which made us think that, red in Taiwan means go!
Such a pretty room! Unfortunately, not so happy hostel owner.
We were already tired because of the long journey. When we got near the hostel, the driver wanted to drop us off at a block away from the hostel and asked the hostel owner to fetch us. Fengjia market was starting to get a little crowded, so the driver didn’t want to get stuck in the crowd. The hostel owner told the driver to drop us at Fengjia University’s entrance and made our way to the hostel ourselves. The thought of bringing our trolley bags walking through Fengjia night market totally made me worried sick in the stomach!
After the driver argued with the fella on the phone, the hostel owner reluctantly came down to fetch us at Fengjia University’s entrance. Thank goodness, it’s not in the middle of the night market, so we still manage to walk to the hostel, with motorcycles blaring honks; weaving in and out between us.
If you ask me how to get to the hostel, I seriously don’t remember. It’s situated upstairs in some shop lot which has no signboard. What I remember is, it’s situated next to a beef noodle shop! Thank goodness, the hostel was rather clean and tidy, so it made the stay rather pleasant, except for the fact that the owner initial refusal to come down to get us and expected us to walk to the hostel ourselves! The hostel is named “Happy Times”. I guess it didn’t go well with the owner’s attitude!
We went to Fengjia night market, wanting to sample everything! Then we found that the food were rather too greasy- everything is either fried or BBQ-ed! I didn’t want to risk falling sick from eating greasy food the first night, but we couldn’t find plain food or anywhere to have a sit down dinner. So we ate some food along the way as we walked about. I saw stinky tofu and wanted to try but refrained myself because I didn’t want to get sore throat in the beginning of the trip!
The night was still young but we decided to call it a night because the night market was getting too crowded. We made our way out from Fengjia night market and was shocked to see sea of people coming in! There were 5 lines of people getting into the night market as opposed to 1 line getting out, so everybody was actually pushing each other trying to get out from the market. I am not claustrophobic but I really hate crowds!! You don’t even have to walk. You will have people pushing you to move! Then, there were two very mischievous young lads walking behind me and they were laughing and squealing while holding onto my shoulder like I am their best friend!! I seriously don’t know how people could shop at Fengjia on weekend! They say, the crowd would swell up to 2x on weekends compared to weekdays! So, the moral of the story is – never, ever go to Fengjia night market on weekends!