The last time I stepped foot in Taiwan was more than six years ago, so when I booked my flight to Taipei in February, a rush of excitement and memories inundated my mind and all I could think of was being on Eva Air’s economy green seats, sitting through an extensive 18 hour flight. But I always enjoyed my time because the flight attendants were classy and respectful and they pampered to my needs.
This time, with my essentials: journal, chapstick, and GoPro, I waved goodbye to my parents and rode up the escalator until their faces were out of sight. A sad moment, but exhilarating at the same time to be a lone traveler. With my soft miniature pillow and throw, I wrote in my journal, watched a couple movies, played “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, and time instantly flew by. Little did I know, I had flown across the globe to my beloved country, with mountains and blues below me. It was unreal. I was finally back, and I could already feel the blazing sun and slight humidity that reminded me of home.
My intention for day 1 was clear. Eat, eat some more, and eat. Taipei is not the ideal place for spectacular, cheap food since it has become more cultural and modernized, but the food options were still quite amazing. I took a quick taxi cab to Taipei 101 and wandered around the streets, buying $1 tapioca milk tea, red bean pancakes, and daikon sesame buns from street vendors. I had devoured carbs on carbs on carbs and the food baby was about to burst, but I entered Wu Pao Chun Bakery, Taiwan’s most famous bakery, greeted by the scent of sweet, savory gluten. Forget about a candy shop, a bread shop is where you should be. I was encompassed by creamy cheese bread, pesto sausage bread, taro swirl bread, Portuguese egg tart, mango souffle, ALCOHOLIC CUPCAKES FOR THOSE 21 AND OVER!!! As you can tell, I could not contain my excitement. I was rather annoyed by the massive crowd of people in the petite shop, but with bread this aesthetic, everyone was just as thrilled as I was. I hastily piled my tray with my selection of breads, and patiently waited in the check-out line for what felt like an hour, but was probably actually only 5 minutes. I found a seat outside and shamelessly devoured my bread with little to no self-control. It was only day 1 of my trip, and if I continued engulfing everything I saw, I may return to the states unrecognizable. No shame though. Who knows when I will be able to return? Ignoring that thought, I trekked through the streets and examined the locals’ behavior in this bustling city. Businessmen and women speedily slithering through crowds juxtaposed tourists with cameras and visors, strolling and pointing at objects. The hustle and bustle was overwhelming, and so I settled down on an egg chair in Taipei 101’s Chen Ping bookstore and “read” through a few cookbooks for 3 hours, mainly bread-baking books. “Read” because I mainly looked at the photos. Yup. I looked at bread pictures for 3 hours!
As the sky began to dim, I made my way to my hostel and plopped onto the bed provided. I turned my Spotify playlist on and relaxed with my legs crossed, thankful for being here. It was only day 1 and there was more to come.