It Wasn’t Supposed To End This Way
I am in line to buy some amazing steamed buns from a street vendor when I make my discovery. My little change purse is gone. Looking like an insane idiot on the sidewalk,I tear apart my backpack but I already know the truth. 4400 in New Taiwan Dollars – about $130 – plus my transit card with another 125 NTD are gone. Probably I dropped it on the bus seat as I was exiting because I remember seeing it on the bus. Damn.
This was not the plan. In an already long travel day, I was scheduled to have a 7 hour layover in Taipei, leaving me several leisurely hours in the city. But that plan got partially thrown in disarray when my plane sat on the runway with no explanation in Manila for close to 2 hours. Then heavy traffic meant my bus from the airport into Taipei took well over 90 minutes instead of the usual 45-50 minutes.
So much for my plan of finding a few small last minute gifts with my extra money, having a nice dinner somewhere better than usual, searching for the bakery which sells an amazing pumpkin bread (in the shape of a pumpkin!) and buying more of Taiwan’s excellent tea. Instead, I rush to find an ATM as I need enough money to buy a small dinner and buy my return bus ticket.
I make time to have my favorite Taipei meal again, at a small no-name diner. Noodles and pork dumplings with a delicious sesame sauce. It calms me down, as do the smiles from the staff. After 4 trips here during my trips to Taipei, they recognize me now. One more trip and they probably wouldn’t even need to ask for my order.
(I can be a creature of habit. Just ask the ladies at my regular Thai restaurant in Washington. They know that every time I am there I will have Sen Yai with vegetables and tofu, medium spicy. But that’s another story.)
Not much time left. The bus trip to the airport will probably be quick at this time of night, but there is no way to know. Probably I will sit in the airport for a long time, but that’s better than another possibility.
I find the bakery. Alas, no pumpkin bread.
Back to the bus station. I take a last look around the area. I certainly hope to return to Taiwan, but it’s possible this is my last trip. One never knows. I buy my bus ticket to the airport. 125NTD (about $3.70 US). The bus leaves 3 minutes later. If only public transportation in the US worked this well.
On the bus. Always on the damn bus.