I’m here in Hsinchu for my third day. It’s a beautiful day today so I decided to exit the room and sit on my balcony with a bottle of water. I should have bought some beer I guess but I forgot. I’ll deal with that tonight. Anyways, sitting on the balcony on a Wednesday with nothing to do, gave me some positive feelings about writing on the blog.
The sun is shining here in the city’s central district. Blue skies have small battles with clouds off in the distance but I think Mr. Sun is winning and the blue skies are gonna declare victory. If you have not been to Hsinchu its a peaceful and quiet place with its share of interesting city blocks, parks, and historic sites. I’ve been lucky each day to just walk a different way after a hot latte and have found interesting, provocative and even funny things. I went this morning to the big mall and helped two pretty Chinese girls take their picture together in front of Christmas decorations. They smiled, flirted a bit, and of course spoke very good English. Most of the people here do speak English I think. In a few places like smaller noodle stands, they find the young guy to help me but pointing at the menu helps as well.
So what is it like after leaving the busy, tourist friendly metropolis of Taipei you may ask and why even bother you may speculate. I will tell you. I am doing this for no reason at all. I just decided months ago to ride the high speed rail north to south and spend a week in 4 different cities. I did not know then that each city would be completely different in history, culture, social scene. I had never been to Taiwan so each city was a dot on the map connected by the high speed rail. In retrospect, that is what did it I think. I wanted to ride another high speed rail in another country and get that wonderful feeling of moving along at over 150 mph. Watching the sights disappear in front of me replaced by new sights. Sitting in a comfortable chair with attendants offering coffee, dessert items, cold drinks and enquiring very often if I am okay and happy with the travel.
The first stop was Hsinchu. It took about 40 minutes to arrive at the high speed rail station and then I got a taxi for about $7 to take me to the hotel. I found out upon getting to the hotel I had been upgraded and that I was early. Check in time was at 4pm so I left my backpack and went out for a walk and some food. I got back after 4pm and my room was ready and that’s when I found out I had an upgrade to a corner room with a balcony and I can sit out now and see the afternoon slowly propelling itself to evening here.
It’s a relaxing, wonderful, retired type feeling for this old retired guy. It’s the “have no place to be and all day to get there” feeling. It leaves me wanting less and less except for the steps and the iPhone 11 camera recording a thing now and then. I can sit out here until the evening and the temperature hovers around the low 20s so the weather is just so beautiful. A cooler breeze echoes around and I can see off in the distance that the clouds are done battling with the blue sky enemy and they are moving out. Retreating and the evening with the always gusts of wind that makes this the city of winds will come back. Hats blow off of heads. Local people wear warmer jackets but its not cold here. It’s the same but the city of winds lets you know its not fooling around. I can sit on the balcony with no AC on and feel so good now. The sun strikes down on my face warming a spot and I feel this rather calm and peaceful and restful feeling. I know I have only 4 days left in the city of wind to enjoy the balcony and the walking here. Each day is different but the city reveals little things to me and the camera. It shows me a side of itself that is hidden from others that do not come this way. I don’t think there are many that do although I did see a whole bunch of European guys walking the street from a taco stand the other day and have not see them again. An interesting sight nonetheless. The city also has blocks of restaurants and its a city of small parks and the moat and remnants of a gate still guard the city. Perhaps doing silent homage to what was here before and what shall remain after I go.
Go I shall because another city awaits my patient touch. Another city along the rail journey of the western side of Taiwan. A journey with no preconceptions so there are no misconceptions. I told the kind lady at the beef noodle shop I had no destination in all this and she agreed it was the only way to go. The train is just a vehicle not to just move me along at 185 mph but to move my thoughts along to other train trips in January 2020. I’ll board the Amtrak train then but it will not go 185mph. We don’t have that in the USofA. Maybe never will. China, Japan, Taiwan and other places have bullet type trains. It’s sad that we have bullets and guns but no bullet trains.
So now I sit and the sun retreats itself to the buildings and casts the evening shadows darker and darker across this city of wind. Soon it will be dinner time in Hsinchu. Perhaps a chophouse restaurant for a ribeye steak dinner tonight and a few beverages. I will also talk with my darling L tonight because I have found I just need to see her and her smile and her wink. She tells me of her day at work and I tell her of my day at play in the city of wind.
So with the days left and the days spent, my time slowly ebbs away in Taiwan. They are nice enough to give me 90 days but I only use 60 of them. I could have just stayed another 30 days. I don’t have expectations for three weeks in Philipppines so I will just go and slowly prepare to leave the edge. This city gives me a day and a night and a few more to not think about leaving. I’m sure I will have culture shock going back because things in the edge are a certain way. It’s perhaps as I wrote before, the “same same but different” thing. There its just different. California is different. Texas is different. Florida is different. I go because I have to go but I also want to go. There is a daughter force waiting to see me in Florida but that time will also go away and I may not make it back to the city of wind but the edge calls me. Vietnam knows my name. It beckons on the same wind that playfully took my cap off today and swirled it down the street I was on. I hear it you know. It’s the same wind, same sun, but so different.
Same same but different.