It’s been a week since I went back to the United States after finishing the trip in Taiwan. From Taipei to Tainan, Kenting to Hualien (Read More: Taroko Gorge delivers beauty and adventure), the scene of sunshine, sandy beach, sea wave, and cactus in lyrics we’ve sung during our college life popped up. When the footprint on the beach, salty sea breeze, bicycle at Taitung Forest Park, Sacred Tree at Alishan and Sun Moon Lake came into my view, I was deeply touched by the fulfillment of a wish.
(The southernmost tip of Taiwan-Kenting National Park. My friend, Pin(萍), Fang(芳) and I were dancing together. Photo credit: Connie)
It was five years ago that I started thinking about visiting Taiwan. My son once traveled to Taiwan for a college graduation trip. He told me, “Mom, you have to go to Taiwan. It’s a unique place.” Due to my passion for delicacies(You may also like: Taiwan Layover Tour－How To Get Around Taipei Within Limited Time) and the habit of writing food articles, I got to know Fang Wang(王凡). The plan of visiting Taiwan unfolded during a casual chat. We started preparing the tour in May and set out on this journey in October. Eventually, “2018 Taiwan Food and Beverage Industry Tour from Atlanta USA” began.
(Lavender Forest. Photo credit: Connie)
During 16-day trip around Taiwan, I had more joy and less worry. Before starting off, I’ve read several Taiwan travel guidelines and had a superficial understanding of Taiwan (Also read: Ilha Formosa－ The Discovery of Taiwan And The Charm of The Island). When I saw the well-designed customized travel brochure made by the travel agency, most of the attractions I wanted to visit were included. With Justawiantour (台灣光彩國際旅行社) and our tour guide, Hung Yi Chou (曹宏頤), we, 21 members, traveled from North to South and turned Taiwan strait to the other side of Taiwan, Taitung, the Pacific Ocean.
(The entrance of Central Cross-Island Highway. Photo credit: Hung Yi Chou(曹宏頤))
The plane took off in Atlanta, USA and transferred at Narita Airport. When we arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan Airport, it’s 10 pm, Oct. 17th. Through the sprinkle, I stared at the Taipei night view through the car window. A piece of the familiar song, “Come to Meet You in Taipei in Winter 冬季到臺北來看雨,” sung by Ting Wei Meng (孟庭葦) whispered into my ears. It was Autumn then. It looked like it rained a lot in Taipei. On that day, we checked in June Hotel (Minquan E. Rd., Neihu Dist., Taipei City). The lobby was simple and warm. I surprisingly found out I could exchange New Taiwan Dollar here in the hotel. The exchange rate is reasonable and fair, and there was no handling charge, which solved our problem. The gym and the laundry room in this hotel were for free. We’d stayed in June Hotel for 4 days and gained much from it.
(Overlooking Rocky Mountain, Canada in the sky)
(June Hotel. The breakfasts are various. The room is neat.)
After finishing breakfast, as there was still one hour left, my roommate, Connie and I decided to take a stroll near our hotel. The streets in Taipei were clean. The flowers blossomed. The gardening was beautiful.
(The members were having their breakfast and chatting.)
During our 16-day Taiwan tour, the most important part was our tour guide, Hung Yi Chou. It was lucky to have a professional, responsible, knowledgeable, humorous, hard-working, honest, and considerate tour guide like him. He is the best tour guide I’ve ever met. I could strongly feel that “Taiwan’s most beautiful scenery is people.”
(Mr. Chou was explaining the Taiwan tour.)
Even now, memories replayed like movies. Taipei 101, Yeliu Park, Siaoyoukeng at Yangmingshan, National Palace Museum, Shilin Official Residence, Tamsui Old Street, the night view at Jiufen, Tropic of Cancer at Taitung, hot spring at Beitou, Taroko at Hualien, Eluanbi Lighthouse at Kenting, Cape No.7, Love Pier at Kaohsiung were unforgettable. In these 16 days, I enjoyed the poetic grace of Taiwan both in a familiar and exotic way.
Author: 若敏 / Translator: Justaiwantour