28 April 2009

Taiwan Trip 2009. Day 2.

Our second day in Taiwan started with a doctor's visit a couple of blocks away from our hotel. Although I wasn't able to catch the doctor's name, according to my grandfather, he is a popular figure in the community, offering his services and even medicine for free.

Despite being at his 60s, he still carries the spunk and enthusiasm of someone of a much younger age. He would be at the clinic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. Often times the place would have a relatively good number of patients waiting for him on separate tables. In less than a minute, he would diagnose the problem of the person and the patient is free to leave afterward. By simply touching one's wrists, he can inform you of a whole heck of things you wouldn't even have thought about checking. For our group, his diagnoses were all accurate to a T.

Of course, I won't be divulging the details of our ailments in this blog post as it is irrelevant to anyone else but our own. :D


In the afternoon, we were to go to TaiNan or Southern Taiwan riding the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail), Train 449. Coming from Taipei (Northern Taiwan), the train will stop over at Banciao, Taoyuam, Hsinchu, Chiayi, Tainan and Zuoying. Our departure time is 2.30 in the afternoon, and we were expected to arrive in Tainan by 4:13 pm.

My aunt was supposed to book us on an earlier train with a cheaper fare, but since the seats sold like pancakes, we ran out of seats and had to take the more expensive, but faster THSR. I know it's a little shallow, but I was pretty stoked over the online booking of the tickets. Items they will require from you are your name, address, telephone number and passport numbers. They will send a confirmation email detailing everything you need to know about your purchase as you can see below.

According to my grandfather, it used to take 6 hours to travel from Taipei to Tainan, but now with the advancements in technology, travel time has been reduced to two hours. I've lifted a picture from Wikipedia to illustrate how in a day, we seem to have traveled across Taiwan.
Below are photographs of what the Taipei station looks like and the interior of the THSR.


Upon reaching Tainan station, there will be three complimentary buses that you can ride to get to where you're going. To be honest, I completely forgot the destinations of the three buses, only that we were dropped off the TaiNan Fire Station, where our hotel, the TaiNan Hotel is situated nearby. Below are pictures of the said vicinity.

The TaiNan Hotel

The TaiNan Fire Station

Since we arrived close to dusk, there wasn't much sand left in the hourglass; so we decided to take a quick stroll at the nearby park and then head off to the buzzing metropolis for dinner. The park, although not distinctly spell-binding, had beautiful Chinese styled bridges and memorials, and ducks waddling and paddling in its slightly murky lake. I wasn't able to grab hold of the park's name, sadly, but comparing with an online search, it seems to be the ZhongShan park. Below are some pictures by my uncle; I left my camera in the luggage.

This is a picture of me with my granddad, uncle and aunt.

After this, we visited a temple as TaiNan seems to be abundant with small temples and fortresses and parks. Although it was late, we were allowed entrance by the monk. The monk explained to us the history of the said temple and the distinction between the three different gods seated on the altar - one of which is the medicine god. He also gave my European uncle a special book containing all of Buddha's important prayers as a keepsake.

We went to one of the malls in Tainan for dinner and my uncle took another photo to document his trip. This is one of his pictures.

Why so many scooters? Well, parking is relatively difficult in Taiwan, so it is more practical to be riding a scooter than driving a car. You can walk in a lane lined tightly with scooters and bikes.

Finally exhausted with much walking, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest. End of Day 2.

To check other hotels in Tainan, click here.

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