Robert Whiting In search of awesome

Taiwan day three


beach day

Day 3 began with a hearty breakfast of fruit and eggs from our local fruit stand. Afterward, I went on a morning walk to grab some eggs, bread, and more fruit from 7-Eleven and our local fruit guy. We would need our strength up for the “beach day.”

breakfast fruit

All of us took another covid rapid test. All still negative, but still not fun for the kids. They also didn’t enjoy the morning school time.


We watched the kids play at the nearby park while I setup an appointment to visit a local boarding school that I’d heard of growing up in Indonesia. Grace Christian Academy and Morrison Academy are the two “famous” boarding schools in Taiwan similar to the school I went to in Malaysia (Dalat International School).

playground swing

to the beach

With that done, it was time to pack up for a day at the beach. We almost missed the bus because I tried to unblock the sidewalk with my unrully army. Luckily, I was able to flag it down (we were the only people at the stop, so they almot skipped that stop). The process for the bus is the same as the metro: Dad hands out metro cards, Mom enters and scans the card first, kids follow suit each waiting for the happy sound, Dad last to wrangle stragglers. We watched out the windows as we drove through downtown Taipei pointing our cool buildings, scultures, and 7-Elevens. Based on the estimated costs, I realized that we had enough money on our MRT cards to get to the beach but not back. Hopefully I could find a place to top up our cards out there. We pushed the button and scanned our MRT cards as we exited the bus–shouting thanks to the driver.


Once we arrived at the train station, we had to walk up and figure out how to buy a train ticket with only a few minutes to spare. Fortunately, it had an English button on the screen, and I was able to purchase 4 adult tickets (apparently children are only children if they have student IDs). The printed tickets were different than our MTR passes, so we watched as someone fed the ticket into the MRT entry machine (I hadn’t seen that slot before). As usual, Becca went first, but the gate didn’t re-close once she was through. The machine made angry sounds in a few seconds and we tried to figure out why. Just then, her ticket, now on the other side with her, sucked back into the machine. The protocol (we then realized) was to put in the ticket, walk through, and take the ticket on the other side. I wildy and appologetically waved to the information desk, and the woman in charge came out to inspect the machine. She opened two different doors on it before finding Becca’s ticket. After that learning experience, we went through without incident.


We briskly walked down to a sign that had our train number on it–we had made it with 1 minute to spare! We stood patiently, exhaulting in our triumph when the train whizzed by, stopped too far down the line for us to reach, then continued on its way. We compleltely missed it. We updated Google Maps, expecting another train in 10 minutes like the metro, but adding insult to injury, these trains only ran every hour. In order to avoid the same mistake next time, we walked down the line to where the train had actually stopped, and there on the floor, were painted ingress and egress arrows.

train instructions

I didn’t want the train to beat us, so I was tempted to wait an hour for the next one (the tickets are point to point not for a specific train number, so as long as we entered and exited at the right stations, it would be ok). Becca pointed out that we’d be most of the way to the beach by the time the next train left if we took an Uber. we had to take a walk of shame back up to the station hub and called an Uber. We took in some beautiful views along the way.

the beach experience

Feeling a bit hungry, we stopped at a café in the beach visitor center that had some delicious smoothies and weird pizza (there were claims that it was pepperoni, but it was not). After fueling up, we finally made it to the beach, where we played in the sand and collected shells. The water was cold and the wind was strong, it was definitely not beach season. We were almost the only people out on the sandbar. Normally, it’s a paid-entry beach, but it was so off season that no one manned the ticket counter or entry area. I was surprised at how much trash littered the shores.

than cafe

jack cafe

kids beach

jack shells

us beach

We didn’t want to be covered in sand on the way back, so we rinsed the kids’ legs off in some large public sinks only to find public outdoor showers around the corner. The people that passed us must have thought we were idiots. The kids changed clothes in the bathroom and we put our shoes back on.

the return

Once we were ready to head back, we caught the return train successfully and stopped at a playground between the train and metro, this playground had a fun (and loud) metal box suspended in the air. We finished our ride home on the metro where a suit-wearing gentleman approached me and asked if I was American. We chatted for the whole ride. It was a relief to speak with someone in English. He was on his way to pick up his daughter from school and talked up the America-Taiwan ties in business and employment (he’s an index advisor).



After a long day, it was time to clean up and do some laundry. I used Google Lense on the washing machine to figure out how to start it, and Becca’s laundry soap sheets came in very handy. We had some leftovers for dinner and then settled in for a good night’s sleep. After Becca went to sleep, I remembered the laundry and hung everything up on hangers in the living room to dry.