It was a very nomadic weekend.

Over the past couple weeks, my routine has started striking some level of consistency. I wake up, eat a 蛋餅(dànbǐng), which is a sort of egg-crepe, then homework, workout, class, dinner, vibes, etc. Besides my daily Chinese class, on Thursdays I do a classical painting class, and on Fridays I play the Guzheng. The consistency has been quite nice, and I feel a lot more comforatable in the city than at first. I know how to navigate it all a lot better, both physically and culturally. I’m certainly doing a lot better in my day-to-day interactions–I’m embarassingly proud of having perfected my check-out responses at the grocery store, and today I returned to the bank to fix a problem opening my online account, which went off without a hitch. Finally comfortable with the little things. All that said, it was a good weekend to mix things up.

Me, Berk, and three other friends took the highspeed rail at 7:30 on Saturday morning from Taipei to Tainan, which was around a two hour ride. Tainan is the oldest city in Taipei and a former Dutch outpost, so there were plenty of historical sites to see. Berk was more or less our own personal tour-guide for Tainan, and planned out our stops in a line so that we could see all the sites most efficiently. On top of that, he also gave us detailed information about each site (thank you, Berk!). We saw the old Dutch Fort Anping, the oldest Confucian temple in Taiwan, Snail Alley, and I stopped by the Tainan Art Museum for a couple hours, which was pretty great. Of all the stops, though, my favorite had to be the Battleship sponsored by Shaun the Sheep.

When we had our fill of Tainan, we hopped back on the HSR to Kaohsiung, only a 15 minute ride when you’re moving 300km/h. In Kaohsiung, we met up with two of our friends from Taipei, who had come down to join us. The rest of the night included dinner, Old Fart DJ Bar, a walk on the harbor, a beer tower, and finally a Kaohsiung club. The next morning included a briefly missing wallet, last-second checkout from our hostel, and a desperate hunt for food. Somehow, vibes were great. We spent the rest of the day wandering around Kaohsiung with no real itinerary, which was perfect. We enjoyed the city with no real pressure to be anywhere, doing anything. It felt like the epitome of what it means to be young and traveling. We went back down to the harbor we had been at briefly the night before, which boasted shops and a huge market during the day. We saw a suspension bridge that turned sideways to let boats through, and lounged in the grass with market snacks listening to live music. It was a real highlight. We had Mexican food for dinner (unexpectedly great), and got back on the train around 20:30 for Taipei, arriving around 23:30.

We certainly jam-packed the weekend, and it showed on my Monday quiz… Still, it was well worth it. It was a cool feeling, traveling with everything I needed in a backpack, totally in control of our own trip. For a couple hours on Sunday, I thought about staying in Kaohsiung another night, which was fun just to know I could.