Quest for Trees, Part II

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Jun 242010

Sitou (Thursday, June 24, 2010)

I awoke early for a change and thought I might catch a sunrise. Being surrounded by trees was quite disorienting; which direction was East? After roaming the grounds for a while, I hit the shower and packed. We would be leaving immediately after breakfast. Continue reading »

Quest for Trees, Part I

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Jun 232010

Taipei (Wednesday, June 23, 2010)

After a lazy breakfast and extended packing, Chang rushed us down to the curb to take a taxi to the Taipei main train station. Incredibly, this one station connects the traditional train system, the MRT, and the new High Speed Rail (HSR) modeled on the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train system. We had not left a wide margin of error, and the line at the “Today’s Ticket” window for the HSR looked prohibitive. Fortunately, there was a short line to buy tickets using a machine. With its easy touchscreen interface and excellent English, buying tickets from the machine was a breeze. It couldn’t do a senior discount, so we just paid full price and rushed to our platform. No problem. (Although HSR trains depart almost hourly, in order to meet our guide at the promised time, we had to make this particular train.) Continue reading »