We are landing in Taipei. Katalin is on her solo trip for a couple of weeks in Southeast Asia. She is traveling with her small backpack only, but she made space for me as well. Taiwan is her last stop before flying back to Europe in a week.
Her plan is to spend few days in the capital, Taipei, and then head to the Taroko National Park near Hualien. But let’s focus on the capital, Taipei, lot of things happened there. She spent few nights couchsurfing with a young host who likes surfing. He picked us up from the train and we really enjoyed his rooftop apartment. The view was pretty nice – but we were very far from the center.
Without any specific plans for the city, we were visiting some night markets and wandering around the center was our general program. Sometimes she took me outside of the backpack to have a peak of the nightlife. My favorite shot was on the top of Taipei 101. She is not that much fun of high buildings – especially not alone – but I tried to give her my support. She wanted to send few pictures to Karol. And also postcards. Actually her first worries came that time.
One of Katalin’s biggest fear was she will be left without cash when she travels alone. It kind of came true. Although she brought some cash with herself, she planned to use her card as she did it during the previous weeks, without any problems. The entrance ticket to the tower was quite pricey, so she decided to pay by card, but it didn’t work. She had to use most of her cash as none of the five ATM’s let her take out money. After taking me up to Taipei 101 and making selfies of us, her thoughts got back to the money problem.
She considered her options in case she can’t take out money. She is traveling solo, but maybe she can borrow cash from her couchsurfer and transfer money to him. Borrowing from someone you know for a day or so may not work. Or ask Karol from Singapore or her friends in Finland to send money through WU. Or just simply panic that she runs out of money and she needs to survive 5 more days. She was close to the latter one, but I did my best to support her. It worked.
She decided to forget about the problem for a day, enjoy the city she still has enough to buy some food in shops for that time. Next morning had an eating-out breakfast with her host in one of the best and most local places in a tiny buffet. Luckily her host accompanied her as the menu was only in Chinese and you had to make crosses what do you want to order and then drop the paper to the cash desk. She trusted herself as she used the leftover of her cash to pay for two. But a good food was important before the big task.
After the breakfast she said goodbye to her host and she planned to visit few more banks and ATMs. She tried all of them that listed her card, but still no luck. After an hour she was typing to Karol to send the money to her while she was putting her card to ATMs which didn’t even listed Visa. And then magic happened! She got her cash and relaxed finally. Since that time she always keeps emergency cash even for the last days of her trip and does not take granted that her card will work in all countries.
Finally it was time to take a train to the Hualien and visit the Taroko National Park. We were excited!