Tainan (Feb 2-3): A Quick Family Visit

My trip to Tainan was a quick one, which was alright because I’ll be going there again in a couple of weeks. I have a cousin who has his own English school in Tainan, and he’s been living there for years. It just so happened that his parents (my aunt and uncle) were planning to visit him at the same time that I would be in Taiwan, so I decided to make an overnight trip to go visit since I haven’t seen anyone in my family for over a year. Yeh and Carina helped me get my train ticket from Taichung to Tainan, which we were easily able to get from a machine found in any Family Mart or 7-Eleven. The only problem with these machines is that there isn’t an English option, so I really don’t know how I’ll buy train tickets without someone who speaks Mandarin. Anyway, my ticket was 363TWD ($16.13AUD) and it would take two hours to travel to Tainan (I decided to save a bit more money by not taking the high speed train, as they tend to be a lot more expensive). Yeh and Carina took me to the platform and I got on my train at 12:15. I arrived in Tainan at 2:15 and my cousin, Mike, was waiting for me in the station. With a motorbike. Great… However, this experience was a lot easier than my first scooter experience, as this bike was a lot more spacious and I wasn’t as tense because I was basically an expert at this point. We arrived at his house in north Tainan about 20-30 minutes later, where I got to meet his wife Sandy, and see my Auntie Linda and Uncle Keith. The whole time I was there was basically a whole bunch of visiting, which is a normal family get-together. Mike, my uncle Keith, and I walked about 30 seconds down the road to a mom-and-pop store, where we got some beer to go with dinner. It was so nice to see such a small shop with all the basic necessities. We went back to the house and Mike grilled up a storm. I was delighted to have a western-style dinner, especially just being able to have barbecued steak and mashed potatoes, which I feel like I haven’t had in ages.

That night, I was finally able to see the Taiwanese garbage truck, which drives around playing music (similar to something you’d hear from an ice cream truck) and alerts everyone to take the garbage out and throw it into the truck as it passes by. After dinner, we walked less than one minute in the opposite direction of the mom-and-pop store to a little fruit stand, where there was a friendly woman selling many different types of fruit. We picked up a few and then went back to the house, where we visited some more before going to bed.

On Sunday morning, I got up and ready for the day, packed up my stuff, had a coffee and visited with my Auntie Linda, and then a taxi came to pick us up at the house. It dropped us off at Mike’s school, which had cute little classrooms and a huge assortment of books. We stored my bag in the school and then walked to the restaurant where we’d be going to for brunch. We also met up with one of Mike’s friends with his wife and two kids. The restaurant was a buffet place called 饗食天堂 (or Eat Together Buffet), and it had many different types of cuisine so that everyone would be able to find something that they liked. I actually stayed away from the western section, and I filled myself up on the Japanese section (twice!), the dim sum section, and of course the dessert section.

The food was so good, and I had been craving sushi for so long, so it was nice to finally have some that I knew was fresh! After we were all too full to eat anymore, I said my goodbyes to my aunt and uncle and then Sandy and Mike took me in a taxi to the train station.

Sandy (who is Taiwanese) went to the ticket counter and I ended up getting the last seat on the next train, which would depart in 15 minutes! My aunt and uncle ended up covering my train ticket to Taipei, and my cousin covered breakfast so I felt kind of spoiled while I was there. With Taiwan being the most expensive country of my travels, it definitely means a lot when I get the extra help!! I said goodbye to Mike and Sandy, who I’d be seeing again in a couple of weeks, and I waited for my train to come. The stop to Tainan was definitely worth it, and it was so nice to see some familiar Canadian family, especially after being away from Canada and Australia for a fair amount of time. I’m looking forward to my next time in Tainan in two weeks! Love always

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