Yesterday I arrived in Taiwan. The trip was ok, but I couldn’t sleep on the plane. So I was rather exhausted when I arrived at the airport in Taipei. But there my trip wasn’t over: I had to take a bus to Taichung. At the airport I first bought a local sim card for my phone. That was really easy and quick. I now have a prepaid card that also includes 300 MB Internet for the 6 months that I am here.
Then I bought my ticket for the bus to Taichung, ChaoMa for I think 240 Taiwan Dollars. It took me a moment to decide which ticket counter i need to go to, but in a document from university they mentioned the Ubus company. There I bought my ticket. I had to wait only 30 minutes for the bus to depart. The bus had two TVs on the front and I think I could have used ear plugs on the arm-rest to get the sound to the TV. (Which wouldn’t have helped me much as it clearly was in chinese language). My stop was the first one the bus driver made. It took us 2 hours to get there. The bus driver was so nice to announce the stop and I also saw the name of the station on a sign outside. So I knew for sure I had arrived.
Out of the bus at ChaoMa I was immediately addressed by two guys asking if I want a Taxi. At first I was a bit surprised and unsure what they ment. But after we said the word “Taxi” in different pronunciations several times, I agreed to follow them to a taxi just a few meters further on the street. At that moment rain started falling so we quickly got into the taxi. I had already texted my partner student that I was on my way to the dormitory and it didn’t take long for the taxi to arrive. In the rain we quickly carried my suitcases inside.
In Han Lin dormitory I met a lady working at the front office of the dormitory. I had to fill out a paper and pay deposit and maintenance fee for my room. She then showed Daisy, my partner student, and me to the room. The dormitory is in two buildings facing each other on opposite sides of a small road. I am – i think – in the main building. It has seven floors and my room is on floor 7. Luckily there are elevators 😉 In the basement there are several washing and drying machines that can be used for 20-30 Taiwan Dollars. Right now I am testing them with my new bed sheets and towels. On the ground floor there are several water dispensers which offer cold and hot drinking water. The room that I will share with my roommate looks ok. We each have a desk, chair, wardrobe and a bed. We even have a telephone in the room. It was generally clean besides lots of dust and hair (yuck!) in the drawers of my desk. Luckily I brought a small bottle of Sagrotan spray from Germany 😉 Now I think my desk is clean enough.
The two pictures above show two views of the dormitory standing at elevator exits. One from the seventh floor and one from the ground floor.
As the room was empty besides the bare furniture, it was absolutely necessary for me to go shopping. So Daisy took me to a large Carrefour in walking distance of the dormitory. There we bought a thin mattress and stuff like a summer blanket, a towel, shower gel, laundry detergent and so on. Of course we forgot many things such as a waste bin. But it was enough to spend my first night in Taiwan.
After my partner student had left I just really wanted to take a nap. Unfortunately it turned out, that my newly bought mattress smelled horribly! I covered it with the blanket and my raincoat but still it was really uncomfortable. I didn’t manage to really sleep for a while. Also it was a bit too hot for me. Luckily the air conditioning works fine. After lying awake and reading for a while i finally found sleep and passed my first night in Taiwan.
Today I felt much better after a night of sleep – even on that stinky mattress… I went to university in the morning and used the wireless internet connection to send messages to my family and my boyfriend back in Germany. Then I went back to Carrefour for another round of shopping. This time took a bit more time to think what I need to buy. I got scissors and other stationery items. Most importantly I got a cover for my mattress and pillow 🙂 It is 100 % cotton and I hope after washing it will make my bed more comfortable. Unfortunately I wasn’t really paying attention after I had paid for my purchase… I packed most of the items in a plastic bag and wanted to take the mattress cover and a towel in my other hand… which I didn’t. Which means I walked home with my shopping only to then discover that I had left my most valuable item at the store!!! – That’s so typical me! I didn’t have time to directly go back to the store: First I went to university for a Skype session. Then I walked back to the store, unsure if I had a chance to get my forgotten shopping. At least I had kept the receipt. Entering in the store I first addressed a security guard to see if he speaks English. As he didn’t, I continued through the store towards the check-out. There all the cash desks were occupied but I saw a Carrefour employee walk past me. I addressed her in English and while she answered “a little” to my question if she speaks English, she couldn’t understand me and kept talking to me in Chinese. When she realized that this doesn’t work she was so nice to ask a younger colleague to talk to me. The girl understood a bit more English and after some pointing at the item on my receipt and some gestures she understood my problem. She brought me to a desk where her colleagues immediately recognized the item on my receipt. Wow! They had actually kept it for me! 🙂 So after signing my name and my phone number I got my lost shopping back. Phew! Good that I know how to say thank you in Chinese! After this excitement I went back to my dormitory.
The only thing left to do for today was to get my internet working. Daisy came over and together we looked at my laptops settings. It turned out that I had to enter specific IP and DNS information … and that the Lan cable that I had bought the day before was broken! At an electronics store nearby we bought a new one and now everything is working just fine – as you can see 😉 Now I will go down to pick up my washing and hopefully find myself in a better smelling bed tonight.