Robert Whiting In search of awesome

Taiwan day six


bullet train to Tainan day

We spent the morning packing and panicking. After church and lunch, we were going to take the bullet train from Taipei in Northern Taiwan to Tainan in the far South West corner. After a night in a hotel, we were going to meet and take custody of our adopted children!

church in Taipei

We found an English speaking church relatively near us via Google and set out. On the way, Jack demonstrated his solidified confidence in metro travel when he confidently jumped off at the wrong stop. We easily had enough time to get him back with us before the door shut, but it definitely shook us. With the looming 4-child travel coming, it was a stark reminder that felt the world like foreshadowing.

A short walk from the (correct) metro stop, we found the basement church in a skyscraper. The people were so warm and welcoming. The worship had some unfamiliar songs, but we were all together praising our faithful God in Jesus’ name. The pastor spoke on perseverance, which felt especially applicable, and we spent some time talking with people afterwards.


After a week with no english contact outside our family, I was overwhelmed by the sudden freedom to speak and be understood and to hear and understand. Being with other followers of Jesus in Taiwan also reminded me of my time in Indonesia and Malaysia under similar circumstances. We chatted with people from Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa, Uganda, Holland, and Singapore–a beautiful cross-cultural family with one Father. It felt like a home away from home.

Based on a recommendation from church, we went to a nearby local place for lunch. The order was a struggle; but in the end, we had some delicious local cuisine, and the kids had rice.


to Tainan

We took an Uber to the bullet train station, which also doubled (tripled?) as a metro and bus station. I stressed more than necessary now that we were traveling with luggage and nearing our goal. We purchased 4 tickets from Taipei to Tainan and were turned away at the turnstiles (is there a name for a turnstile that doesn’t turn?) for purchasing incorrect tickets. We waited in a couple lines to refund and purchase correct tickets (we weren’t departing from Taipei Station but Banqiao Station). I felt foolish and ignorant through both lines because the words Banqiao Station were clearly plastered across most horizontal surfaces. In my defense, Banqiao is part of Taipei.



We went downstairs and waited for the High Speed Rail (HSR or bullet train). We purchased “unreserved” seats. We’ve since been told that under normal circumstances, unreserved seats would have been a non-issue because weekday trains are fairly empty, but on Sunday afternoon, everyone was going back to where they worked for the week. It was standing room only, and the kids sat on the floor as we approached 300 kph (185 mph).

After a few stops, we found some scattered seats, and we promised ourselves that we would buy reserved seats for the return trip.

hotel and goodnight

We took an Uber to the hotel and had some surprises. From the pictures, we had expected a fairly western-style hotel. It was not.

The portion of the large building dedicated to the hotel was slim. And by slim, I mean that only 3 rooms fit per floor all the way up to the top floor with a buffet breakfast on floor 9. We checked into the room and had second thoughts at the musty smell before going to eat KFC (across the street) for dinner. I was so sick of fried chicken and french fries, but it’s what the kids would eat.

hotel hotel

When we returned to our room, I turned on the small tv and watched a little Godzilla (a super old one) until complaints arose, and I switched it to a Chinese soap opera that quickly turned into a freeze-frame style restaurant fight. I turned it off so the kids could utilize their tablets for more familiar shows.

I had to go provide for my family. Taiwan uses 110v electricity, which is convenient for Americans, but this hotel was old enough to lack the ground wire plug (they had the two prong instead of three prong hole). Unfortunately, we brought our USB hub that required a ground prong. I went downstairs armed with my 3-wire plug and a picture of the adaptor I needed and asked for one. The poor woman at the counter rummaged around in drawers muttering to herself for longer than I was comfortable and I lost hope. Then she emerged triumphant with an orange adaptor! We would sleep with full bellies and batteries for one more night!


Becca read Little House on the Prairie to us as we all drifted off to sleep.