Flight to Taiwan, bus to Taichung [YQasia Day 12 Oct 7]

to taichung

Location: Shanghai, China -> Taipei -> Taichung, Taiwan

Background: My flight to Taiwan was cancelled yesterday because of typhoon. However, the airline company gave us each a bed in a nice hotel far away from the airport.

I set the alarm for 4:15am since we needed to check out at 5:00am. But I woke up before the alarm and spent 15 minutes lying in bed, not willing to get up before the alarm. Is there a word for this situation?

The hotel lobby was dark when I went down to check out. It wasn’t until 5:32am when the shuttle bus came to pick us up to the airport. Yesterday, there were 2 buses which brought us to the hotel. Today there was only one as many had probably left for their home in Shanghai.

Shanghai Airport

When we arrived at the airport, only one regular counter and the first class counter was opened. The queue snaked out of its boundaries. Soon, someone managed to put the queue in order.

As I was reaching my end of the queue, a lady with a ponytail went to the counter and made a loud fuss. Between her fake-like, dry crying, she asked the airline employee to “please, please let [her on]” since she wanted to “bring [her] kid home”. Then she dropped to her knees and started really begging him for help.

The airline employee looked uncomfortable and replied that he couldn’t help her if she did not bring her identification with her. Hearing this, the woman let out a loud moan. In the end, the employee said he would see what can do.

In the end, I did see her and her kid at the boarding lounge. So thankfully for that.

Another flight delay

When we were all gathered at the boarding lounge, we were still not asked to board the plane. I overheard that the flight would be delayed yet again. This was confirmed when the airline folks asked us to queue for our breakfast since the flight would be delayed again.

I never say no to free food.

I ate some of the biscuit and drank all my Coke and waited. Suddenly, we were asked to queue up for the shuttle bus to the plane. Hurray!

My seat was in the middle with four seats in the row. My seat mate was on the other end of the row so I sad comfortably.

For breakfast on China International Airlines, there was a choice of Chinese and Western breakfast. Chinese food was porridge while Western was eggs with one sausage.

I fell asleep for most of the flight so the 2-hour flight so it was very fast.

Back in Taiwan!

The last time I was in Taiwan was in 2010. It was a business trip so I didn’t enjoy a lot of the island. This time ’round, I will be joining my mom on a 9-day trip where we will see a lot and eat a lot.

Buy your 3G SIM cards at Chunghwa Telecom booth at the airport

Mom was already at the airport when I arrived. We headed to the mobile company booths on the left corner of the arrival doors. Here, we each bought a SIM with unlimited 3G internet for 10 days at a cost of NT$500.

We bought bus tickets to where we would meet our aunt. The bus journey was long and I even caught a few winks.

My aunt was waiting at the bus stop when we got there. We went to her place and settled our luggage before taking the bus to central Taiwan–Taichung.

Since I didn’t need to do any travel planning, travelling from Taipei to Taichung seemed easy. We went to the bus company and bought tickets for the bus leaving in 10 minutes.

Off we went to Taichung. Of course, this is also the best time for napping.

Tong Lian bus company

Let's go pray with incense

Miyahara ice cream in Taichung

Miyahara Eye Specialist Ice Cream

When we reached Taichung, my aunt brought us to a famous ice cream place. The building was previously a hospital but now it’s a really beautiful place selling ice cream and biscuits.

We bought three ice cream flavors (82% Ecuadorian chocolate, “half-dreaming-half-awake” and local guava) on a wafer bowl. With three flavors, we got four free toppings including cheesecake, pineapple cake, pumpkin seeds and caramel.

The shop also has a lovely space selling all sorts of wedding cookies. However, these cookies are packaged like books and are arranged on shelves.

Miyahara Eye Specialist cookie store

After desserts, we took the bus to the National Museum of Natural Science. While we were there, there was a promo for paying bus rides using payment cards. The first 8km of the ride was free when you use payment cards. Luckily, Taipei’s prepaid cards work here too.

Public bus in Taichung

National Museum of Natural Science holds fond memories for me. The museum was a place my mom brought my sister and me to frequently when we were in Taiwan as kids. Unfortunately, the museum was closed on Monday so we ended up sitting at the garden behind the museum.

Dinosaurs

After bumming around in the garden, it was time to meet my uncle. When we got on his car, we found a walking sticks. Turns out he was knocked down by a motorcycle on his way to take the bus. He added that he rarely takes the bus.

Since my uncle could not walk far, we chose to eat inside a shopping mall. Our meal for the night was Hunan food, a bit funny since I just came from China and ate a lot of Chinese food there.

After dinner, we head back to uncle’s place.

Have you been to Taichung? Do you have a favorite sightseeing spot?

Flight to Taipei cancelled because of typhoon [YQasia Day 11 Oct 6]

china flight delay

Location: Shanghai, China

My flight to Taipei was originally scheduled at 2:30pm and I was supposed to reach the destination at 4:25pm. However, I learned that the flight was delayed till the next morning so I would be Google, Faceook and Twitter-less for another day.

This is the story of the day my flight was delayed. (There’s a happy ending, don’t worry.)

Breakfast at Xiao Yang

After eating at Xiao Yang’s Dumpling yesterday, I still wanted to have more of it. The dumplings themselves weren’t delicate works but its rough, doughy texture and soupy filling makes it a great meal. This was why I decided to wake up early to head to a Xiao Yang branch before finishing my luggage packing and checking out.

As my phone didn’t have mobile Internet, I copied out the directions given by Baidu Map and took a look at the road maps for that area.

Rainy Shanghai
Rainy Shanghai

When I stepped out of the hotel, it was drizzling. I had to head back and grab my umbrella since I would be walking quite a distance later. The bus stop was right next to the hotel, which was convenient, but the bus that I needed to take arrived much later.

Taking the bus in Shanghai is very easy if you know Chinese as you will be able to read the destinations listed at the bus stop.

Even if you don’t know Chinese, there are announcements of the next destination of the bus once you are in it. However, sometimes the announcement comes too late (one second before the bus leaves the stop) so you’ll have to memorize how many stops there are before yours.

The original Xiao Yang
The original Xiao Yang

I reached my destination without a glitch and found the restaurant. The Xiao Yang Dumpling branch at Huanghe Road (黄河路) is the main branch and it even has an upper floor.

As with yesterday, I paid for my dumplings and went to queue. Unfortunately for me, the last dumpling in the pan was given away right before my turn. I waited for the next batch and suddenly realized that I was standing in the wrong queue. Thus I joined the second queue.

Again, my luck ran out and there were only 3 remaining dumplings by the time it was my turn. It was déjà vu as the same situation happened yesterday. I was a bit whiny so the employee told me to find a table and she’ll let someone send it up.

Only 3 dumplings
Only 3 dumplings
Wantan soup
Wantan soup

So up I went the upper level which smelled like a musty table cloth. My wanton soup arrived and I happily dug in. The fried dumplings were still as oily and had a strong taste of pork, making me wonder why I actually like them. As I ate, I realized that the best part about these dumplings were the soup inside.

Unlike xiaolongbao which are tiny, these shengjianbao are much bigger. Nibbling a bit of the upper part off, you can slurp out the scalding hot soup inside. It takes several deep slurps to suck the dumpling dry. Then comes the crunchy bottom part (which is actually the top of a regular Chinese bun). This is the most oily but I cannot help not eating them.

After I finished my meal, my single dumpling hadn’t arrived yet. I waited and waited and still there was no sign of my dumpling. Since my stomach was stretched to its limit, I thought I should just leave without it.

As I walked down the stairs, I thought I heard the employees say my table number. Too late to turn back and finish that little rascal.

Off I went in search of my bus back to the hotel. Again, it was the slowest to arrive but at least I had a seat.

Taking the metro to Shanghai airport

At first, I thought about taking the Maglev train to Shanghai Pudong Airport. However, Nicole who went to the airport last night reported that the time it takes to reach the airport wasn’t very long so I decided to take the metro and save 33 yuan. Plus, the distance from Longshan Station to the airport is really quite short.

Off I went with my luggage to Yuyuan Station. The rain had stopped but the ground was still wet with puddles.

The train station wasn’t as crowded as it was yesterday. I couldn’t find a seat so I stood most of the way. At Guanglan Station, everyone got off and switched to another train.

Flight delayed…until tomorrow

Sorry that your flight is delayed
Sorry that your flight is delayed

Finally, I reached Shanghai Pudong Airport. But when I reached the check in counter, there was a note saying that the flight had been delayed to 8pm and we should check in at 2pm. Hey! We were supposed to leave at 2:30pm. The airline would get us a room to rest.

There wasn’t much to do in Terminal 2 so I walked around, bought a stamp for a postcard home, walked around some more and sat down to read before it was our check in time.

At check in, Air China employee told me to wait at Gate 26 for the shuttle to the airport. As you have guessed, the bus–buses actually since there were too–came late.

We were driven around for a while before finally stopping at a fancy hotel. Is this where we will be resting?

Yes, it was. The hotel staff said the rooms were for two people so I paired up with a lady who spoke with a Taiwanese accent. After putting my bags in my room, I head out for food and some toiletries shopping.

The little ramen place that I visited was run by Muslim-Chinese. Many of them run noodle shops such as the one I went to. The father of the house was rolling dough and pulling it into thin strands of noodles.

Ramen rolling
Ramen rolling

Unfortunately, the noodle wasn’t that good. I couldn’t finish half of it. When I asked how much it was, the son even charged me a large bowl of noodles although I think it was a small one. That’s only 1 yuan difference but it’s annoying to be overcharged.

Then it was toiletries shopping. I bought several bars of soap–something I’ve been buying as souvenirs for some time–although I’m afraid that people might think I am hinting that they need to take a shower if I give them any.

Hotel for the night due to flight cancellation
Hotel for the night due to flight cancellation

So back to the hotel I went. While I went online in the lobby, I spotted my roommate who was getting her luggage out of storage. Turns out, she was returning to her home in Shanghai city as the flight was delayed until tomorrow.

Back in my room, I found out that the internet speed was really fast. Wonderful! I have been plagued by slow internet speed since returning home.

In the middle of j-drama bingeing, the reception called to say that I could go for dinner at 5:30pm. Dinner was pitiful but at least they tried.

Later, the reception called again to say that check out tomorrow is at 5:30am and we will leave at 6:00am.

Wonderful.

Follow my (2 weeks late) adventures in China:

Day 1 Misadventures at Hangzhou Airport [YQasia Day 1 Sep 26]
Day 2 Swindlers and bicycle misadventures at West Lake
Day 3 Bike returning at West Lake/ Staying with a cute baby [YQasia Day 3 Sep 28]
Day 4 To Thousand-Island Lake by bus [YQasia Day 4 Sep 28]
Day 5 Tour of Qiandao Hu (Thousand-Island Lake) [YQasia Day 5 Sep 30]
Day 6 Buying tix to Shanghai/ Eating on a floating platform in middle of nowhere [YQasia Day 6 Oct 1]
Day 7 A very Chinese wedding [YQasia Day 7 Oct 2]
Day 8 A very Chinese hotel/ 7-hour buses to Shanghai [YQasia Day 8 Oct 3]
Day 9 Exploring Shanghai: Buffet, the Bund and Nanjing East Rd [YQasia Day 9 Oct 4]
Day 10 A day of food and coffee in Shanghai [YQasia Day 10 Oct 5]