Tag Archives: MRT

Crazy crazy traffic

My local friends warned me that I need to be more careful while walking in Taipei than I am in Finland. Really soon I noticed that it is true. Even thought this is not the worst traffic I have seen there is some differences I should keep in mind.

1. Scooters!

In Jyväskylä people use bicycles to go everywhere. Here people use scooters. There is so many of those kamikaze-like drivers with their scooters here that I really need to keep my eyes (and ears) open every time I cross roads. With a scooter it is not that serious if you drive in orderly fashion or not. Scooters are small and they DO use it to their advantage. Too small for a car? No problem, scooter can go through. Not enought space to have two cars besides each other? No worreis, with scooter you can have three! I have seen whole familys on one scooter: Best this far is parents and two kids. On one scooter. Usually parents have helmets but kids don’t always have those. I have seen babyseat on scooter (you know the space where you would usually put your feet? It was there). I have seen people riding with their dogs ar with their work equipment. One day I saw a man riding a scooter with a ladder and some painting equipment. I don’t know how they do that.. 😀

skootteri

Some scooters waiting for their turn.

2. Busses..

Okay. You might think that it is scary if someone offers you a ride with a scooter. I have mainly declined from those, but I tried once and actually it felt a lot safer than some bussrides I have had. There is quite a many people living in here, so when you take a buss usually somebody else is taking it too. There is some seats so if you are lucky you can get one. Of course trying to be polite and offer the seats for the older people. After that there is some hook thingies coming from the roof that you can hold on to. And after the bus is full you really don’t need to hold on to anything because there is so many people that you wouldn’t move anyways. Yeah, well it is not that nice to have some sweaty fat old man leaning to you even when it is not neccessary. And prepare yourself for lining up on the buss stop. Even though the first buss might not have enough room for you.

3. Trains.

Everybody in Finland always says bad things about VR (our railwaycompany). It is true that trains are too costly and thay are sometimes late. Before this trip I never thought that being late could be from something good. For example here, if you have lined up fot train and you haven’t even got to the train yet but train needs to leave. Then you just need to wait for the next train. In Finland trains wait for people. No wonder they are sometimes late.. With seats trains are the same as busses. You can get a seat if you pay more or are fast enough. Othervise you will stand. There are some trains that you need to buy the seat ticket, but for the slower ones you don’t need to.

juna

Insides of a moving train.

junakartta

Trainroute map.

4. MRT!

Mass rapid transit aka metro or subway or whatever. Really convenient! Goes almost everywhere and you don’t need to wait for long tome to get one. Just remember that it is not allowed to eat, drink or chew gum in the MRT. I will really mis this one when I get back to Finland.

portti

Don’t jump under the train gate and waiting line. Oh yes, you need to line up!

kielto

Don’t do this!

All this is quite easy, because there is EasyCard. It is kind of travel card where you can load money on it and use it to pay for MRT, train (some of them), busses and Ubikes (rent a bike).

Bu the way. I have noticed that people think you are strange if you want to walk somewhere. Or climb stairs.

First day in Taipei

People here are amazing! We had a really nice day yesterday. One local girl showed us the school cafeteria. It even has some food we can eat.

One of the local students who had his exchange period in Finland met us aroung noon and showed the campus area. I even felt a small urge to study. It was interesting. It seems like the facilities are quite okay here. The library is big and there is a huge activity center. Even the university president lives in the campus (in his own house) and he invites some students to his house for dinner every month to discuss about how to improve university.

pääportti

The main gate. Name of the university is written from right to left, in “a old way”.

 

kampuskartta

The campus area. I live in the top part of the blue area.

We used the MRT for first time. It seemed easy and we got an english version for the MRT map. Inside the MRT they have all stops in chinese and in english, so finding the right place is relatively easy. Although all the places sound similar..

ruoka

Our nice lunch place. Nomnom food!

Later we went shopping and tried to find thicker blankets. We were really lucky and bumped into two other students familiar from Finland. They helped us to communicate with the salespersons. Actually we were in one a bit pricy place at first and then Alice and Jerry showed one other place for us. It was closed though. That seems not to be a problem here, because some women who had a small food booth at the street started yelling to one stairway to the shops owner. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the owner came to open the shop just for us!

After walking back to the uni we agreed to meet later for dinner. The cafeteria closes already at 7PM and so we agreed to meet at the Family Mart. Couple hours later a surprise waited for us when we met Jerry and Alice. Jerry has a scooter so he had driven to the night market to buy a lot of different foods for us to try. So amazing! Food was good and we had fun evening.

illallinen

Nightmarket food including some fruits, shrimp omlet, chicken soup, tofu etc..

Only problem for me at the moment is jetlag. I still don’t fall asleep easily and time is usually past midnight before I can sleep even if I feel really tired. But that should fix itself in a week or so. I’m feeling more excited and less scared all the time. This will be a great adventure!