Day three was the least planned of all the days. We decided to go to the park, but unfortunately it was raining, so we did a bit of shopping in an underground subway market instead. The subway, by the way, we must have ridden about a hundred times. When we first got to Taipei, they asked us if we wanted a student card that had 500NTD worth in it (about $17). We didn’t take it but we probably ended up spending more than 500NTD on the subway rides.
Later, we tried for the mountain park again. After about an hour of subway and bus rides, we finally made it. By that point we were quite hungry, so we headed to one of the only restaurants up there—MOS (Mountain Ocean Sun) Burger, a Japanese chain restaurant. You know how there’s Americanized Asian food? Well there’s also Asianized American food. Such as the fried burdock and carrot rice burger. Can’t say I care much for it. So I just ordered some fries and a raspberry drink that turned out to be soda. And several of us got scallion pancakes from the vendor across the street. Gotta love street food
When we finally finished the hour-long walk to the mountain path, several of my friends didn’t want to go up anymore. But I felt that it was too much of a shame to come all that way and go to all that trouble for nothing, as did three of my other friends. So the four of us headed up.
The first part of the trail was completely awful. The climbing was not at all tiring; The problem was the millions of tiny caterpillars hanging from the trees on gossamer strands. Oh god, it was awful. It was completely disgusting, and they were everywhere. When we finally got to a rest stop after what seemed like forever but was actually fifteen minutes, I wanted to go back. But there was no way back except through the caterpillars again. And the road ahead was another 45 minutes.
But I did decide to keep going. I knew what was behind me; I didn’t know what was ahead. The lesser of two evils. And I’m so glad I chose to go on, because that was the end of the gross caterpillars. Well, sort of. We found a beautiful garden just past a parking lot. It was like something in a dream, with butterflies fluttering through the air and everything aglow with the white sunlight.
After that there were more caterpillars. But the descending staircase was much wider than the ascending one. While we were admiring a narcissistic butterfly, an old man swinging his walking stick walked by and offered to take our picture. He then went on ahead swinging his stick, knocking down all the caterpillars in the air. SMART. Why didn’t we think of that?
We finally got down to the bottom and waited about fifteen minutes for a bus. The driver was quite nice; He chatted with my Chinese-fluent friend and he gave us mosquito ointment for all the bites we accumulated on the mountain.
We rode the subway back to the Taipei 101 area to watch The Great Gatsby by suggestion of one of my more literature-inclined friends. Never having read the book, I asked one of my friends on subway to explain it. She got halfway into the plot when we decided we knew enough to follow the movie. Five seconds later she blurted out, “GATSBY DIES!” Classic facepalm moment.
Anyway, I did not enjoy the movie. Partly because I didn’t find it too enthralling, partly because I was exceptionally tired and fell asleep on two separate occasions. I’m not too great at watching movies.
The bus stopped running at six, so we walked back to the subway. It was about nine or ten by then, and not too hot. It was quite lovely—reminded me of tranquil night lights in Boston.
We were starving by the time we got back, so we went to Family Mart around the corner from our hotel room. We very much enjoyed their quick-warm meals and extremely innovative bags!
Photos taken by my lovely friends.