As unconventional as it is, the lodging that we got from Airbnb was unlike a hotel where you’d wake up, go down for breakfast, and when you go back to your room, it’s all made for you and your set of toiletries is replenished. Here, no morning paper waited at our doorstep, no one made our beds or vacuumed the floor for us. We did our own grocery, made breakfast in the kitchen, and most of all, we took care of home for 6 days like it is ours.
Aside from being able to buy freshly baked goods from a local bakery beside our flat, or get rice, eggs and gallons of water from the grocery down the street, the off-the-beaten paths that we visited, also added to that nice a feeling of being at home. That we belong.
Communing with Nature
Tucked under a blanket of concrete jungle are Chi Lin Nunery and Nan Lian Garden. Although their popularity to tourists continues to increase over the years, these two adjacent destinations are still less-travelled routes compared to Disneyland, Ocean Adventure, The Peak, or Ngong Ping 300. We went on a Wednesday morning and both were surprisingly almost empty of visitors if it wasn’t for us, the lady I saw at the souvenir shop, some sightseers who passed us by, and a couple wandering the exhibit hall next to where the bonsais are neatly lined. It was as if we owned the place!
If you need deep contemplation or a simple escape from city chaos, these are the best places to be. They’re a well-kept oasis that’s altogether peaceful, refreshing and calming. Tip: The souvenir shop at Chi Lin Nunery sells 100% bamboo-fiber, anti-bacterial face towels. They’re the softest, finest thing that ever touched my face! I swear I’ll get a dozen on my second visit!
Total Darkness for an Hour
No, it’s not Earth Hour. It’s Dialogue in the Dark. With a walking stick on one hand, and all senses but sight, the four of us, together with two more guests, walked through the pitch black exhibit guided with our visually-impaired host. We crossed the street, went to a cinema, boarded a ferry, ordered food at a snack bar and ate while chitchatting. Everything happened in total darkness.
As much as I want to share how the exhibit went, I don’t want to spoil the fun for those who have yet to try it. So I’m keeping this short. All I can say is, despite lights-off, Dialogue in the Dark enlightened us as we saw the world in a clearer perspective. It was such an unusually overwhelming and unforgettable experience.