After the long flight Zurich-Dubai-HongKong-Kaohsiung, the first longer stay is in Tainan. I chose a hostel which is a bit further away from the center but the reviews revealed that the owner Kate is apparently very nice. I arrived roughly around 16:00 and was then chatting with some of her friends.
They met through biking tours. Actually I did not pay attention to the english name of the hostel which is exactly “Bike”. The guy on the right is working in Mosambique since 3 years on the farms. He knows the company’s owner through university who is from Mosambique and met his wife in Taiwan during his studies. The other one on the left used to be in the (Taiwan equivalent of) “navy seal” and now is doing super ironman to keep him fit. He wants to turn pro but the financial side is not easy to manage. He is now managing some cooling facilities and tries to earn more from selling seafood to premium clients. Usually seafood are prepared with some extra stuff to make them look bigger and more fresh. So he is selling more healthy seafood with no extra.
Now to other hostel guests.
The 2 girls on the right are from Sweden. Just graduated from High school, have been working in retail for some months, now they started to travel for 4 months in Southeast Asia. This apparently a common thing to do for the gap year and they already met a lot of the previous classmates. The guy at the bottom is from Spain. He works in Berlin as a vet but quited his current job (too) because he did not come along with the boss. He also spent some months in Changmai volunteering as a dog vet. He is rather a reserved guy and did not talk much. The guy with the glasses is an exchange student from Berlin from Qinghua. To describe him shortly, I would say he is the pretty standard German guy that I picture in my mind. After one day or two, you can only find out that much and of course there is so much more than what meets the eyes. The young chinese girl is called Ebby. She is in the 2nd grade High school and is currently helping out Kate in the Hostel. In Taiwan, such things are more common compared to mainland (which I wished I would have done something like that as well, one of the Swedish girls did a gap year in Illinois too in a guest family). She is very open and for her young age, compared to myself, will do just great in the future. Actually her mom sells insurances to Kate. That baffled me a bit that you can actually become friends with the guy that sells you insurance … where you know some profits are inbetween.
Of course, now to the main character: Kate.
The reviews of course prove themselves right. She is so warm and you almost feel like she is an aunt to you. Not sure what details make you feel this way but she just seemed authentic. Once she was even worried that we should hurry up to go outside and not to “squander” the day inside even it was freaking cold in Tainan (10 degrees). She would bring the guests to close by spots to show them street food from the neighbourhood. She would also invite her friends along to the hostel to chat with the guests. She would take guests to a local restaurant and order local food for them. And she is so uncomplicated, extending the stay, switching rooms and all are all not a problem. Maybe she just remembers me of the old days how my aunt was treating us.
More people of course. It was a short night chat just before the day we left Tainan. There are 2 canadian chefs on this picture who work in Hyatt. One is hold back and the other one has a lot energies and is the kind of the loud and crazy person in the group. There is an English guy who studies in Beijing because he thinks Chinese will be useful. There is Danish guy with Arabic origins who is now living in Taiwan since roughly 4 years and his Chinese was pretty impressive. He met his girlfriend through his roommate and adopted a dog who was put in front of one of his friends house. His girlfriend actually knows Kate from picking one of her friend once in the hostel. Now they are friends and Kate would say that she is a bit of the crazy kind. (I would say this more just open minded and curious person). And of course there is my friend whom I know from Shanghai EXPO 8 years ago.
Well, this is a short summary of the people I met in the past few days and they are what make the travels special. And now I actually realilze that writing a blog takes time and you do rethink of what happened. This is a good way of reflection …
Me, in Kaohsiung again, waiting to eat more food. And this is what the next post will be about 😀