Hello fellow Trekkers! Things have been a little slow on the writing front lately, mostly because we’ve been settling into a routine at our latest Workaway. Still, I thought it would be good to give a little recap on what we’ve been up to lately.
We’ve been working at Duckstay Hostel in Taipei for the last couple weeks and so far it’s not too bad. We usually work opposite schedules so it’s been difficult going out for more than a few hours at a time together but we’re working on that.
Duckstay is located in Wanhua, the oldest district in Taipei. We’re right next to so some great spots like Longshan Temple, and the Taipei Botanical Gardens. Whatever isn’t close is just a quick metro ride away. Don’t get me started on their metro (called the MRT here). It only makes me loathe the “T” that much more we’ll just leave it at that.
Working at a hostel was one of my travel goals I outlined in a previous post, so that one is checked off the list! Someday I would like to own or manage my own so working in different ones around the world can give me an idea of the behind the scenes operations and help me design my own. Like everything, I’m keeping a mental list of do’s and don’ts for future reference!
The “work”, if you want to call it that, has been wicked easy. The hostel has been slow during the week, so cleaning is minimal. The business is very cyclical. During the week the hostel is dead but weekends are fully booked. Taiwan is off the radar for most western backpackers so the majority of guests are Taiwanese. Since most of them work Monday-Friday they can only visit on weekends, hence the weekly cycle. I work mostly nights in the common room, hanging out with guests and making sure people have a good time. When there’s nobody around I’m working on my dart skills, which I’m happy to say have been progressing quite nicely!
Small World Moment : One of the guests, John, lived just 3 streets over from Breada and I when we lived in Dorchester! What are the odds!? I thought meeting the kid who went to UMass Boston while in Vietnam was a small world moment but this is even more so! I’m telling ya, the more I travel the smaller the world gets.
One of the highlights of the last week was meeting up with my buddy Tom. Tom grew up in Taipei and eventually came to the US for college. We met my first semester at UMass and hung out throughout my time there. He’s now serving in the military (it’s mandatory here in Taiwan) so finding a time we were both free has been tough, but we finally met up for beers a few days ago.
I always say hanging out with locals is the best way to get to know a city and Tom was a great host for the night. He took us to a little Japanese bar and we got to try some delicious beer from Okinawa. Taiwan was under Japanese occupation for the better part of 50 years so there is still a strong Japanese presence on the island. I managed to have a makeshift conversation with the bartenders about baseball, despite not being able to speak Japanese and them not being able to speak English. We got to listen to some great 90’s Japanese rock. Picture No Doubt sung in Japanese.
To cap off the night, we went to a great dumpling spot we would have never ended up at since the entire menu was in Chinese. Overall, it was a great night and we hope to see him again at least a couple more times before we leave for Thailand.
As this trip has progressed I have realized I enjoy staying in one spot for a long time much more than bouncing from place to place every couple days. Maybe it’s just fatigue from being away so long or maybe it’s because I’m getting older. It’s probably a mix of both. Some days I feel like doing nothing but reading a good book (I’ve been cranking through books at a record pace!) and that’s perfectly fine.
Being in Taipei for over a month gives us enough time to get everything we want to do done without feeling rushed. I always feel bad for guests who come and only have 2 or 3 days to see everything so they rush around, jumping from one thing to another and by the end are absolutely drained. I used to be that guy, and I’m not sure I ever want to be again.
We have some big things lined up for the next month: dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant (sorta), a couple of business class flights on one of the world’s best airlines, our “tour de lounge” at Hong Kong International Airport, and finally meeting my sister Brittany and her fiance Chad in Thailand! Stay tuned for posts about all of these and more!