Just got back from Taiwan late last night. This has been a trip three years in the making. We’ve been postponing it because I didn’t want to spend $20,000 going to a country that I wasn’t really interested in visiting in the first place. Yes, my mother is from there, and since I don’t want anything to do with my mother, I had no inclination whatsoever to ever go there.
But, my husband’s father wanted us to go and he rarely asks anything of us, except to eat more fruit, so how could I say no to him. By the way, my in-laws treat me better than my own biological parents.
I don’t know where to start. First, it was awesome. My kids loved Taiwan and want to go back. They wouldn’t mind living there if we could. I don’t know if I want to live there, but I certainly want to escape there during the winter months here. Second, the people are nice and polite, some aggressively nice. Third, the city is clean, especially their metro (subway). Fourth, and most memorable is the incredible tasty food that was also cheap. Bad baby on the airplane said he felt fat since being in Taiwan. I asked if that was a good feeling. He replied, yes and no. I told him not to worry because back in the states, there won’t be as much good food so we’ll go back to our skinny selves in no time.
First born keeps telling us how much money he has in the bank, making the point that we can afford to go back to Taiwan sooner rather than later. He, now, wants to learn Chinese whereas he was never interested. Bad baby said he wanted to go to Taiwan instead of our annual ski trip. Middle daughter also loved it. They all want to go back as soon as possible. We will have to wait until our finances recover. Overall, for an international trip it didn’t cost as much as you would think. In fact, this Taiwan trip is cheaper than our Disney World trip a few years ago and I would much rather go back to Taiwan than Disney World. The kids agree with this.
What made it so financially feasible? The airline tickets cost us around $800.00 per person. The usual cost for a ticket to Taiwan would be around $1,200 during this time, but because the gas prices dropped, so did the airline fares. There’s also more flights to Taiwan. I’m thinking of going to work for an airline to get discounts on airline tickets. I want to travel more and this might be one way to be able to do that. With a family of five, I need all the help I can get.
We were able to find a place to stay for $350.00 for the week. This is an extreme discount and we got it only because of my sister-in-law’s friend. The friend’s boss owns three condos in a building. The last tenant left and the boss didn’t want to rent it out again, so the friend asked if we could do a short term stay. It was win-win for everyone.
The subway was so cheap. They use a card system. You scan your card when you enter and scan when you leave. When you leave, the computer determines the distance you’ve traveled on the metro and takes the appropriate amount for that distance. Wow, how advanced. Most of our trips cost around 50 cents. We hired a van for two day trips for around $130.00 each. On one of those trips, the driver acted as a tour guide and took us to several stops. It was so worth it.
The food was amazing and cheap. Everywhere you go in Taiwan, there is good food and lots of it. There’s stalls everywhere that sell some kind of food. You can go from one stall to another and eat your way down the street. There’s something for everyone, especially if you love dumplings.
The people were so nice. Our trip’s main purpose was to meet family. My husband’s family is extensive. I can’t remember everyone’s names. Next time, I’m bringing a polaroid camera and taking each person’s picture and labeling the photo, then putting it all together on a family tree chart. It’s the only way to keep it straight.
I’ll write more thoughts about Taiwan in the coming weeks as I get time to let ideas settle in my mind. Suffice it to say for now, I loved going to Taiwan and want to go back as soon as I can.