Taiwan: Beitou to Airport

I woke up quite disorientated this morning.  It felt late but it was SO dark. Not a lot of light spilled into this luxury apartment during the night, but there was more than this during the day yesterday. Something was up. Checking my watch, my first assessment was right. It was LATE. Almost 9am.  On opening the curtains I could see why it was so dark.

It was storming outside.  Heavily.  So much so that it looked like late evening. Opening the balcony doors proved to be illustrative of how good the apartment’s soundproofing was.  With the door open, we could hear the heavy pelting of the rain and the ominous thunder. We could also now see the lightning strikes.  Yikes.

We were counting our lucky stars that we had done all our sightseeing of Beitou yesterday.  It didn’t look like today was going to be an ‘outdoors’ day.

Heading down to breakfast, we were delighted by the spread the restaurant (which we had dined at the night before) had arranged for each of us.  For variety’s sake, where Nick had ordered the traditional breakfast I ordered the western breakfast (this worked better for me as there were peanuts with the traditional).

I really enjoyed my rosemary chicken though the standout for me was a raspberry compote and fromage frais – normally I would call it yogurt, but it was so creamy and delicious it really has to be called by its proper name.    Nick favoured his salmon dish but also really enjoyed his green bean salad which had a yummy sesame sauce.  Neither of us were able to finish the feast before us but we put our best effort in!

After our breakfast dishes were cleared away, we headed back upstairs and had one final hot spring bath.  The water looked even more mineral filled today that it had the previous night – potentially due to the storm outside?  We were able to keep the windows open and enjoy the ferocity of the rain, even as I was feeling dismayed at the prospect of checking out and braving it!

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Eventually we did have to do exactly that.  We headed downstairs and as we had time to kill before our shuttle bus we decided to sit in the lobby and storm watch (anything to delay actually going into the tempest). The hotel staff treated us really nicely still, even though we had checked out, and kept bringing us nice cups of hot tea.

I really have formed a new appreciation for tea on this trip though it will never overtake coffee as my favourite.  Still, there is something very comforting about drinking a nice cup of tea. I’ll try to have it more often once I get home.

Soon enough, the scheduled time for our bus rolled around.  The hotel gave us a couple of umbrellas and the shuttle bus dutifully ferried us to the station. ‘Ferry’ is kind of an apt word to use here as a few times we could see where the heavy rain had flooded the streets.

I was honestly amazed.  The previous day it had been clear, dry and hot.  Now it was dark, wet and simply torrential. How could the weather turn on a dime like this?  As Nick drolly pointed out though “that’s the tropics for you” – something I will remember.

Arriving at the station we attempted to hand the umbrellas back but the driver waved us off and allowed us to keep them.  It was then that I realised that they were actually the umbrellas of a different resort so our hotel wasn’t being as generous as I thought and they wouldn’t miss them ha ha.

It was much appreciated by both of us though as we still had some fair ground to cover before we could turn in for the night.  It was nice to have some means of not getting entirely soaked through as well.

We had both dressed sensibly enough for the weather, me in a t-shirt and skirt as I knew anything from the knee down would get drenched and uncomfortable. I also wore my trusty thongs (or flip-flops as every other country seems to call them). Nick was similarly attired in a t-shirt and shorts.

Once we got on our train (we could see other lines shut down due to the electrical storm) and made it to Taipei Main Station we discovered an express train to the airport.  We would be staying a night in the Novotel Airport Hotel as our flight was early the next day. All in all, we managed to stay out of the weather really well.  Our purloined umbrellas were barely even necessary.

We had a small lunch of take-out sushi at Taipei Main Station, followed by the last custard buns we would have in Taiwan.  We then headed on the express train. I really liked the token tickets this line used – they were super clever and easy to use. You scanned them in at one entrance and then just dropped them into the gate at your exit station. Simple and much nicer then the Myki system back home. Also the token felt like a poker chip – I don’t know why, but I thought it was a little fun.

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Once at the airport, it was simple to check into the Novotel Hotel where we crashed.

For some reason, despite the sleep in and relatively inactive day I was exhausted. To the point where I was falling asleep sitting up on the bed.  I think it might have to do with the long soaks in the hot spring water and me not being used to that. At any rate, when Nick gallantly offered to bring me back food if I wanted to rest I jumped at it.

Its a wonderful man who offers to go out into a storm to bring you back a meal.  I have the best one in the world.  Thanks Nick!

Unfortunately, his outing didn’t go smoothly.  I was actively trying not to worry when he came back a half hour later then originally estimated.  As he reported “stuff happened… sorry if your food is a little cold”.  Expanding on ‘stuff’ the airport hotel is actually not accessible by walking.  Between us and the airport, where Nick went to scout food, there is nothing but highway.  Nick had taken the train to the airport terminal and on returning to the train station found that due to the storm, there were no trains running. After waiting a while to see if services would resume he headed upstairs to catch a taxi. Unfortunately, due to the train situation, every person at the airport was doing the same. He would have been better off waiting for me to come and join him tomorrow ha ha.

Eventually, the trains services resumed and he was able to make it back to the hotel. Poor Nick!

But he also gathered enough for us to have breakfast the next morning before our horrendously early start (5am). Safe and together again, there wasn’t much else to do but get ready for our flight and pack up all our gear.

It was a very early turn in in anticipation of our next day’s arrival to Hong Kong.

Stay tuned!

P.S sorry for the lack of photos this update – besides floodwater, there wasn’t really much to see today! We will try to make up for this tomorrow!

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