Where were we? Puli, 8 of us packed in a room supposedly for 4 people at Jin Shan hotel. In case you missed how we arrived there, you may read the whole story here.
When we finally got a place to sleep at 1 a.m., we all said that we wanted to sleep until 10 a.m. No one’s allowed to put on their alarm clocks. Well, all those sayings turned out to be just talk, because around 7 a.m. I could already hear the sound of some of my friends awake and talking and deciding to take a shower. :-P
We left our hotel at 11, just on time for check-out. The plan for the day was to find some interesting tourism spots near Puli or at Taichung, and get back to Zhongli by train or bus at night. We decided to eat first near Puli bus station, and in the meantime search through the internet for information on tourist destinations around Puli.
We thought about going to a place called Paper Dome. It’s supposed to be a church built using paper material, located some short distance from Puli’s town center. We took a bus from Puli bus station, and got down at Taomi. The Paper Dome was in the middle of some kind of village.
We didn’t get inside the Paper Dome area. Due to the Chinese announcements written at the entrance, we didn’t understand why there was an entrance fee of 100NTD. So we just went round the area to take pictures from the outside. :D Just next to the area, there was a free photography exhibition of butterflies. We then spent some time there, writing wishes on postcards, looking at beautiful photos of butterflies, and taking more pictures of ourselves.
Afterwards, we decided to leave and head for Taichung. We went out of the village, crossed the highway, and waited for Taiwan travel bus to Taichung.
When we arrived at Taichung train station, it was already 5 p.m. To spend time before taking the night train home, we wanted to visit one of the night markets in Taichung. The most famous and biggest one is called Fengchia. We had to take Taichung city bus #33 from in front of the station. The night market turned out to be very far from the station – it took us more than half an hour to get there. But it was worth it, I think. It was very big and crowded. The biggest and most crowded I’ve visited so far in Taiwan.
After we went around the market and ate, we took a bus back to Taichung train station. Time to go home. It was around 9.30 p.m.
We were all tired and eager to go home, but contrary to our will, the night turned out to be complicated for us. There were no more trains North-bound (to go to Zhongli from Taichung, we have to take a North-bound train). Lucky for us, the bus station was just outside the train station. So we quickly looked for bus tickets instead. Our luck didn’t get any further, unfortunately, because there were no buses available that night. Our only option was to take the morning bus that departs at 6.40 a.m.
We were stuck in Taichung. Our tired minds started to think : where were we going to rest that night? Earlier, one of us had seen a hotel for backpackers just outside the station (later on we suspected that him seeing it might be a sign that we wouldn’t be able to go home that night). But we didn’t want to spend anymore money on hotels. Another of my friends then said that he’d seen a KTV nearby when we arrived at Taichung in the afternoon (later on also suspected as being a sign of our unfortunate night). Three of us then decided to check out the KTV to see how much it’ll cost us to go there instead. It should be more convenient, since KTVs here provide free food buffet. :D
Since the price of spending the night at KTV was almost the same with getting a hotel room, we then decided to just stay (and perhaps sleep) at the train station. LOL.
However, things still didn’t stay so smoothly. At 12 p.m., an officer of the station started shouting words that I don’t understand. Apparently, they didn’t allow anyone to stay at the station. Everyone was kicked out (not literally, of course :-P )
What did my friends and I do? We stood outside the train station and laughed at the irony of the night. It was 18 minutes past midnight. Finally we decided to rest for a while at a bus stop across the station. We thought that we could rest there until half past 1, and then go to nearby convenience stores to drink and sit inside for the next hour, and lastly spend the rest of the night inside McDonalds (thank you, 24-hours fast food chain service :D ).
In the end, we had to go straight to McDonalds by 1 a.m., because there were not enough empty seats for us inside 7-11. We just sat there, each person holding one food item to keep until the morning comes.
Tiredness set apart, we actually had a good time waiting at McDonalds. At around 4 a.m., I found it interesting that we run out of jokes and stories to tell every 30 minutes. At 6 a.m., I found out that McDonalds’ breakfast menu is yum-my. At 9 a.m., we finally arrived at our proper dorms, ready to compensate for our lack of sleep until well in the afternoon. :)
It was a one-of-a-kind experience for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for my friends. Of course, I’d prefer never to sleep at McDonalds again, LOL, but if ever the need arises, why not? :D
– cheers to all –