I stopped at Taichung Harbor Station in Qingshui to check out the Gaomei Wetlands. They stood out in my mind because I once edited an English textbook on Taiwan and the article covering Gaomei was very interesting. Unfortunately it was a gray and hazy day (as per usual) and there didn’t seem to be a lot of wildlife on offer.
On the way back to the hostel I had a strange, near-disastrous Samaritan misfire. I was sitting outside a Family Mart drinking lemon tea when I noticed an extremely elderly gentleman with a walker anxiously looking up at the traffic lights. After a few red/green cycles, I went over and shout-asked if he needed some help crossing. He said “Yes! Thank you!” and then just took off crossing even though at that point it was still a green light. I shouted “OK! But we need to wait,” desperately pointing at the light, but he just kept going. I couldn’t do anything but turn towards the traffic and wave my arms to protect the little man as he slowly made his way across. And as he went, he kept asking if I was a Catholic. I said yes just because, and thankfully we both made it to the other side intact.
My hostel alone made the stop in Qingshui worthwhile. It was called Meixin’s House (美馨的家) and the family who runs it made me feel very much at home, inviting me to eat a huge dinner with them and drink several cups of tea afterwards in their open-air living room. A few of their friends and neighbors dropped by, and the conversation bounced all over the place, from why Taiwanese people love Canada so much, to the collapse of the welfare state, to why I should start learning to speak Taiwanese. It was a very memorable evening.
Oh, and they also told me that the room I was staying in was where the cows used to live. Neat.