July 23, 2011

Topsy-Turvy

Wow. It has been ages since I have updated this poor blog. If it weren’t for one reader who asked me “no new blog entry?”, I wouldn’t have been motivated to write anything. Thanks for the nudge, Dee.
My life has been totally chaotic the past couple of months. In April, I was busy writing my thesis and preparing a presentation for a colloquium. In May, I went to a conference in Taiwan and left the kids for 6 days. In June, when Alden started school, I had to support his transition by popping in during recess, every day. What else? Oh! Earlier this month, before mum went back to KK, we brought her to Queenstown and then to Dunedin where I attended a colloquium. So yeah. Things were pretty crazy for me.
For this post, let me just talk about my Taiwan trip okay?
My first few hours in Taiwan was a near-disaster.  I arrived  as scheduled but it took me ages to get my luggage and go through immigration. After that was done, I started on my mission to see my sister. She was in Taipei on a company trip and was staying at Rainbow Hotel in Xi Men Ting. 

A guy at the airport information centre told me  the best way to get there was via a shuttle bus. His English wasn't perfect but he managed to tell me which bus to get and how long the journey would take. What the dude forgot to mention was that at some point in Taipei, I was supposed to get down and board a connecting bus to Xi Men Ting.

The bus ride to Taipei was quite pleasant and relaxing. After an hour journey, we arrived at Taipei’s cosmopolitan area. Without warning, the driver stopped at Point X and asked me to get off immediately. This freaked me out cos it sounded more like “THERE'S A BOMB IN THE BUS!” When I asked  “che pen is Rainbow Hotel?”, he responded in a Chinese dialect I couldn't understand. It was a good thing he pointed at the bus in front of us cos that's how I figured out what he meant.

I got off quickly and so did a Japanese girl who sat behind me. She looked lost so I told her my big revelation: we needed to catch the white bus. She nodded and said ‘Oh’. When we finally got on it, I asked the driver whether he was heading to Xi Men Ting. To my relief, he said yes. Finally, I was on the right track. I quickly sat on the second row behind the driver while Jap Girl picked a seat across from me.  
I began to relax a little and started texting sis. Moments later, the driver told us there were more passengers coming in so we had to wait a wee bit longer. Consumed by boredom, I turned my attention to the Jap Girl. When I thought she wasn't looking, I stared at her nails, hair and make-up. It was hard not to gawk cos she was a walking piece of art. She's got these beautiful fake eyelashes that made her smoky eyes pop dramatically. She also had these gorgeous acrylic nails decorated with beads and tiny diamonds.  Her toes had the same design too. But that wasn't half as interesting as her footwear. She was wearing a pair of animal-printed, 5-inch, strappy platform heels. I was totally wowed.  How could she walk around on those??? Oh well. At least they matched her animal-printed handbag. She must be travelling light cos that's the only thing she carried. Where's her luggage? I wondered.

Wait a minute...Where's MY luggage??

OH SHITTTTT!!!!
Like a woman possessed, I stormed out of my seat to talk to the driver:

WO TE BAG!!!! Wo wang chi wo te bag  (sign language)  Ni ming pai ma?  Luggage? (sign language) wo luggage chai na ke bus !!!! (more sign language)

My Mandarin must be really atrocious cos his face showed no sign of comprehension. Luckily there was a passenger who understood me. He told the driver why I was acting like a madwoman and what the sign language meant.  I never felt so stupid in my life. The driver made a call and told the other driver to hand over the luggage at Point Y. Phew! I could suddenly breathe again. 

After a lapse of 7 or 8 minutes, Jap Girl stood up, came to me and said "Oh!! My luggage too!". Now she remembers? Doi dogo. I quickly told the guy who spoke English to tell the driver to tell the other driver about Jap Girl's luggage. Driver 1 probably had a meltdown after that. Anyway, everything turned out fine in the end. We both got our luggage back.
Soon afterwards, the bus stopped at Xi Men Ting. I got off and walked to the hotel which was only a few yards away from the stop. From that point onwards, everything went uphill for me.

I finally found my sister and we had a great time catching up. It was so wonderful to see her cos her presence felt like home. We had dinner together and even spent some time shopping at the night market.




The next day, I took the high speed train to Taichung before taking a cab to the  National Changhua University.


My presentation went well and I met quite a number of interesting people at the conference.



After the conference, I checked-in at Holiday Inn Taichung Park.




and later that evening, I went for a stroll through Fong Jia night market.





I left the very next day and spent the rest of my trip in KL.
With Nina, my ex-coursemate

I guess that wraps up my entire trip. My time in Taiwan was short and chaotic but it did not lack in experiences. The most important lesson learnt was to never ever, EVER forget my luggage again. I know what my sister is saying: Good luck with that! :)

16 comments:

Tina said...

Great post, Lizee! You never fail to make me smile. Re the Jap girl, what was she doing when you were frantic with your sign language and all? I could almost visualize her with her popped-up eyes (credit to eyelashes) and her most interesting nails. Pity you couldn't steal a pic or two!

I'm one of those who missed your updates. I guess you had been busy. Cheers!

Lizeewong said...

Hi Tina! Thanks for the visit :)
Ya ba. She was in her own world. I guess we were both disoriented after rushing from one bus to another. Bikin panic ba the 1st bus driver. I think she figured out the whole thing AFTER she heard me talking to another passenger. Hehe. Anyway, I didn't think of taking pictures at that time..Too worried n exhausted :)

Isabel said...

Wow, that was absolutely near-disaster! I would have acted like a madwoman as well if I were in your situation. Lol! Glad everything went well and you got your luggage back. And the part about the Jap Girl quite amused me. Haha.. You know what, Lizee? I think you have the talent to be a writer. Really!:)

Lizeewong said...

Hi Isabel! Yeah, that Jap girl was really something. I told my sister about her the first chance I got!

WOW. Thanks for the compliment dear. I am flattered to pieces :)
If only my supervisor could see this comment ^____^

chegu carol said...

Odoi bah hahaha...u and that Jap girl really tickled my bones lah liz...buli2 duarang kamu lupa pasal your luggage. Perhaps the Jap girl was also looking at you when she thought u weren't looking. Kan???

Lizeewong said...

Kay- Kami BLUR abis bah lepas kena halau dari bus no 1. That's why we forgot everything. Disastrous juga lah..Ndatau la if Jap girl did the same thing Kay. Mcm tiada saja tu XD

Amanda Christine Wong said...

lolz. and also, do not stare at every detail of a weird person :D

Aemy Shamy said...

Hey you're back! Thanks for visiting my blog. :)
Oh gosh, I'd be freak out if I lost my luggage, in a big city where I'm a stranger. Hehe. The Jap girl is funny. Hahaha.
Great trip you have, dear. ^^

CathJ said...

Wah.. reading all your story. What a busy day for you.... :)

Sempat tengok2 kuku org sampai di kaki ah...hihihihi... and nasib baik you remember about the luggage! hihihi..

Lizeewong said...

Manda- hahaha..ya..shouldn't stare at people but I couldn't help it ba :P

Aemy - Yeah, that was one memorable trip. Hehehe...Thanks for dropping by!:D

Cath- Telampau boring gila ba tu Cath. Lgpun sakai tgk kuku dia lawa betul. Hehe..Ya, sa teringat my luggage cos sia nampak the girl lenggang kangkung teda luggage hehehe..

debrajill said...

hi kak! its been so long since you last update ya~ hows things there?? hows den2 and vava?? ur story is so hilarious! I have this things too staring at people's "Work of art" just cant help to look at it! hehehe..

JIPP said...

Astaga. Haha! the part ko lupa ko punya luggage is damn hilarious. And the Japanese girl, lol! Lesson to be learned there. :-D

LaViaP said...

Hahaha sya ikut2 cuba cakap Mandarin. Mcm nothing wrong tu. Pandai2 la komen tdk salah padahal yg sya faham cuma "wo" sama "Ni ming pai ma?".

Lizeewong said...

Hi Deb!! Adui, like you I've been busy with lots of stuff. Hehe. Den2 and vava are well, thank u. How's little Derek and his sisters??? Cepat besar kan dia? Hugs to the little ones :))

Jipp - Dua2 pun blur at that time hehehe. Tu la pasal.

Paival- HAHAHA..Ngam kan? Haiya. I think the problem was my intonation la. I didn't go to Chinese school so my Cina tu pun 1/2 tiang jg. Anyway, the way they speak Mandarin over there pun lain mcm lain ba (blame org punya slang lagi! hehe)

Enniebelle said...

OMG! This reminds me to an incident when I was visiting Geneva. One of my friends totally forgot that her credit card was already maxed out. So, we entered this watch shop, she got interested into a watch and decided to buy it. When it times for the sales clerk to swipe her card, the transaction was of course barred, despite several attempts. In the end, she paid for it in cash. After that, we went around the city, exploring and all the while we had this premonition of being tailed up (only that, there weren't obvious signs of the person tailing us) So, we went back to the hotel and hanged out at the lobby to peruse the travel brochures and suddenly, three persons in plainclothes strolled in and made a beeline towards our group and started asking questions.
When we inquired what's what this all about, they finally got down to business. Turned out, the sales clerk down at the watch shop reported to the police about the suspicious purchase. She was suspecting us of cred card fraud and well, I'll tell you, getting quizzed up by the local authorities for this is not a pleasant addition to your itineraries!
I think, the next time you travel abroad, do check your credit card whether the credit limit had been maxed out or no!

Lizeewong said...

Ennie- Yadada moi! mesti nightmare oh kan. So what happened in the end? The sales girl ba, punya la penyibuk.