[Ruifang District, Taiwan] ~ An almost lantern festival

  For this day will always be one of my what-ifs – 02.22.16

In general, I have always been fine with my lack of solid plans because it allows me to be impulsive and just go where that ‘itch’ takes me. For my last day in Taiwan though, this disposition backfired on me.

The overall plan that day was to go see the lantern festival in PINGXI for a few hours and make it back in time for my early morning flight the following day. Badly surprised by the crowd and the complex, limited train schedule, that plan suddenly became a bad and/or too risky one. I ended up chickening out and not pushing thru. I then stayed in this ‘in-between’ town called RUI FANG – walking past through homes, street food stalls until that now-just-funny-but-then-depressing moment at a bench in front of the station.

My panic started as soon as we reached the station in Rui Fang wherein I was supposed to transfer to another train. I know that that lantern festival is popular but I did not anticipate that that many of people go. On top of this, train schedule that day was not as simple and frequent as I expected.

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Okay. 

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Despite panic though, at first it was a go. I even already paid for my ticket and went to the platform. While in line though, I was already doing mental math on how much time I can spend in Pingxi and the answer was “assuming I get to ride the trains on time, I have about an hour”. And by the looks of it then while we were waiting for a train, the condition is less likely. So okay, I let go of Pingxi.
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I made it this far

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This view when I chose ‘no-go’

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A bunch of people also trying to go

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… And so I decided to just walk around –

finding refuge in the interesting-looking street food and unique clutter in every home. I have read just now that this town’s name originated from a shop travelers would stop at while traveling. Feeling back now, indeed it has that feel of a big stopover station. Within reach are various options to fill the stomach and this plaza at the center with benches for people with tired feet.

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Even if I’m from a country with rich street food culture, stalls like this when abroad still fascinate me

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Station from the end of the road

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If only I can speak in Taiwanese, I would ask what each of these are

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Inner parts 

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Maybe this is blood? In the Philippines, we call this  “betamax”, called such because blood is shaped in rectangles, like the Betamax tapes

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And this one looks like some filled biscuit

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Options

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Bacon-wrapped asparagus! 

(Perfect combination of ‘healthy’ and otherwise)

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And because it’s that kind of mix, it was what I tried

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An interesting structure this was. 

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And this dog was just the cutest – as if he is the one in-charge of the stall

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When stuff are put in random

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I wonder whether those oranges are supposed to be for good luck or sometime or was it out of convenience those were placed there?

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More food inside a food center towards the end of the perpendicular to the station

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Because those green chairs stole the scene for me

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How can I forget then where I was

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These cats were on a staring contest with me

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Food center from outside

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Most creative beer name yet

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… and from where I was sitting here was where that drama happened

In hindsight, it could be the beer talking (or hormones maybe), but when I sat in one of the benches overlooking the plaza, I just started crying. Most likely, a part of me really felt unhappy with how the day went. Maybe, it also had to do how tired I was at that time. Looking back now, I can still imagine myself sobbing in that bench with everyone else busy with their lives. If crying alone in a foreign country is part of my bucket list, then I ticked off a box. :p

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They had no idea there was a sobbing lady behind them :p

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And in my sadness, how can I even take a panorama photo?

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😦 I could have been there

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Because it was time I was fighting against

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Yes, I was standing the entire time

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kristina Correa (or more known to almost all people in her life as Teng) is based on the city of Manila in the Philippines and whenever she can, cools off with routine and gets her doses of happy someplace else. She doesn’t mean to inform and help plan (as obvious with her laziness with details) but hopes her stories and photos can inspire you to create your own.

 

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