I have just gotten back from Taiwan for my CNY vacation. I spent days going north and south. I had the most fun in a town called Chiayi.
Chiayi is not mentioned a lot in the guide books. It is most famous for being the starting point of the Alishan Rail Way and for being a large bus port for several buses to several hot spots such as: Guaziling (hot springs) or Sun Moon Lake.
I was going to Chiayi to see my friend, Amanda. I met Amanda in Luxembourg after my 10 hour train ride on Christmas Eve. We bonded over a hatred of our Russian room mate and love of Taiwan. She invited me to come back to Taiwan and visit her and my room mate Michael and I took her up on the offer.
We got to Chiayi a little later than we planned. The Chiayi HSR station is located about 20 minutes outside the town of Chiayi and then we had to wait about 20 minutes for the free shuttle bus to Chiayi main town. So, we got there late... We felt bad about it! We were going to have a driver for the day. New Friends Wilson and his girlfriend Miranda (I hope I am spelling her name right!!) along with old friend Amanda were going to take us on the great Chiayi Road Trip!!!
Chiayi is famous for Turkey and Rice.
I did not know there were so many turkeys in Taiwan! We had wild turkeys at our hostel the day before flying in trees and making scary noises at sun rise! This meal was very yummy and highly recommended!
Now, despite the yumminess of the meal I had an unfortunate event happen in Chiayi. I have a peanut allergy about 10 minutes before the meal began I ate a piece of candy. Apparently, this piece of candy had peanuts in it because about 30 minutes into the meal despite it's yumminess I got very sick! WAH! I was very sad because this was the most delicous meal of our entire trip and I couldn't enjoy it. I really don't know what was in that candy but my eyes swelled shut, my nose ran everywhere and i broke out in hives.
Oh yeah and the puking sucked also... My beautiful turkey rice! Luckily Amanda and my new friends took very good care of me and helped me find Benedryl. Between that and an alka selzter I was fine about 30 minutes later.... Turkey Rice I miss you!!!!
Next we went to a beautiful park where there was a park and a baseball field. This made Michael very excited because he loves baseball. In the market there was a lot of food and games, Michael almost won a giant bear in the game where you throw baseballs through numbers. I don't know how we would have gotten that giant bear home had he won it, though! Guess it was meant to be!
We thought the park was beautiful! There were a lot of statues, lots of trees and flowers (unlike hong kong), some beautiful old structures, an old house from WW2 Japanese occupation of Taiwan, and the Chiayi Tower.
We had fun walking and talking and looking at nature. Then we got back in the car and went to the Lake, which is famous for being a lake, according to Wilson. Stupid question, stupid answer...
There were many people there walking, taking in the fresh air, flying kites and walking dogs. There was even one lady walking a cat!!!
We were flying a kite! I haven't flown a kite in years. Some people were very good at flying the kites. My favorite kite was the one that looked like a squid! It was very funny!!! We flew kites, ate ice cream and Miranda bought a bubble gun which was pretty fun!
I think Chiayi was my favorite day of this trip.
I know it sounds very simple but it seemed like the most authentic and simple local experience. Hanging out in the car with my new friends I felt: this is what it must be to be a young person in Taiwan. We laughed, we enjoyed the sun, the weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed each other's company!
Later Michael and I totally cheated the HSR train system to Taipei to make our hostel reservation... But that's another story...
Written and contributed by mmcgurgan