In Taipei: the Royal Inn Hotel, Nanxi - A Month in Taiwan - CycleBlaze

December 18, 2018

In Taipei: the Royal Inn Hotel, Nanxi

I think I’ll know when it’s time to give up traveling like we do - when I just can’t take the flights any more.  This one was really pretty tame, when I think about it objectively.  Just one stop, in Dubai.  Emirates, a decent airline with comfortable seats and better than average meals.  Flights on time, nothing that really went wrong.  But yet, when we reach Dubai I feel pretty well worn out already; and about halfway from there to Taipei I feel almost nauseous from sleep disruption.

Rachael made a new friend on the flight from Barcelona to Dubai. Nancy is a medical professional from Beijing who lives in Melbourne now and is just returning from her first visit to Europe.
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Dubai is an amazing city, seen for the first time from the air - a shiny golden blanket with this improbably huge needle soaring above it.  It is so startling at first that you can’t look away, but the longer I look at it the less I care for it.  It’s just too much, in the same way that Las Vegas is - a bright, audaceous playground in the desert.

We have a four hour layover in Dubai, the first time either of us has set foot on Arab terrain.  The airport is just as glitzy as the city as a whole, and feels like one large high class storefront after another.  It is interesting to see the cross section of travelers though - very multiethnic, mixed race.  It feels like we’re at a real crossroads of the world here.  Other than the people though, it has a surprisingly western feel.  Signs are in two languages, Arabic and English; and almost everyone we interact with speaks English.  In the cafe where we have lunch, Christmas carols sung in English broadcast from the sound system, there’s an NFL game on TV, and I’m served an enormous cup of coffee.  We really could be in Vegas, it feels like.  

Except for the prices, which are a mystery.  My meal of a chorizo omelet and toast costs 77.  77 what, I have no idea.  I don’t know what the currency in Dubai is or the exchange rate, and have no idea what the meal is costing us.  We could look it up, but we decide to go on faith that we’re not being robbed blind here and just hand over our credit card.

One real concern though is Rachael’s left foot.  Her big toe is a bit swollen and warm to the touch, and painful to walk on.  She’s considering whether to seek out a doctor when we get to Taipei, but after we research it a bit we hopefully conclude that it’s a simple inflammation and decide to give the recommended first treatment of ibuprofen and ice a try for the next day or two.  We’ll be in or near Taipei for the first five nights, so if this doesn’t work there’s still time to get a professional opinion.

The Dubai airport, like the city as a whole, is super-glitzy - over the top, really.
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This is almost startling, after staring at teensy espresso cups for the last two months.
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Bruce LellmanI know you don't want to know but I kind of did so I looked up what the currency is in Dubai and what the exchange rate is. They use the Dirham and 1 Dirham = .272 US $. And that means your meal cost $2o.94.
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3 months ago
Ron GrumbyNow that’s a manly cup of coffee!
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There’s not much to say about the second leg of the flight - long and wearying, and we’ve both had enough by the time we land in Taipei.  We spend a few anxious minutes watching baggage roll by on the carousel without including any of ours and are starting to fear the worst when finally everything shows up.  We’re worn down by the day, but in the end it’s all gone fine, just as it needs to.  We’re just spoiled, we take it all too much for granted.  Why should it be easy to travel halfway around the world, after all?

The Taipei airport is quite a ways west of the city.  The MRT runs from the airport to a stop near our hotel, and at first we consider taking it until we learn that there’s a stopover on the way.  We think again, and decide to eat the cost and take a cab instead.  Somehow that’s just enough to feel like more than we care to cope with.  We’re tired enough that it feels worth the added expense to get to our hotel a bit sooner and not have to think too hard about what’s going on here.

Perhaps 45 minutes later, we pull up at the Royal Inn Taipei Hotel, just a few blocks from the Zhongshan MRT station.  A helpful curb attendant, much shorter than me and perhaps as old, hustles to help unload our baggage and port it into the hotel.  We check in at the hotel desk, and after a short discussion and a look at our passports they ask to see our reservation documents.  We’re at the wrong Royal Inn New Taipei Hotel.  We want the other one, also near the Zhongshan MRT station but about ten minutes away by foot, if were walking fast, weren’t exhausted already, and weren’t wheeling and toting all our luggage.  They helpfully call a cab for us, and by the time we reach street level it has arrived.  The same guy rushes to help us with our luggage again.  I’d leave him a tip, but all we have are 1000 new Taiwanese dollar (NW$) notes, which I think seems far too much so we just express our thanks. 

Ten minutes later we check in at the correct hotel, which welcomes us warmly and is expecting us.  The two hotels are affiliated, and the first one nicely called the second one up to warn them we were on our way.

A note about costs, by the way.  It cost 100 NT$ for the second taxi, which is equal to $3.25 USD.  After checking in and dropping off our luggage we went down to the street again to find a beer and a bite to eat, and ended up in a food court.  My meal (far much larger than I could eat) and a beer set us back 220 NW$ - not quite seven bucks.  If you’re prudent, you can travel quite inexpensively in Taiwan.  I still don’t know what lunch cost us in Dubai though, and I’m not inclined to do the research.

We arrive at our hotel, after only two tries. We are booked at the Nanxi, but our first taxi driver dropped us off at the Linsen. Who knew there were two Royal Inn Hotels in town?
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Our hotel is well positioned, with a bike lane directly in front of it. Interesting that the biker isn’t using it though.
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Andrea BrownI wouldn't use it either, there are no ramps at the end of that sidewalk. This is some very lame bike infrastructure. We have a whole collection of "bike lane" photos that are aspirational but hilariously non-functional.
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3 months ago
There’s a food court below our hotel, with a dozen or more food booths. This is going to be easy, at least here in Taipei - we can see the meals, and they’re labeled in English.
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There’s more available in the food court than just food. We’re not impulse shoppers though. We’ll be here for six weeks so there’s plenty of time to decide which Super⭐️Mini we can’t live without.
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Jen GrumbyI think one if those pink fluffy (cat?) creatures would make a good handlebar companion.
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Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOoh, a handlebar buddy! I’ll have to give it some thought.
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3 months ago
First meals of the tour! They’re way too big though, and we can only finish about half. We should have had the pancakes.
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Jen GrumbyGlad you made it to Taiwan safely, with a tasty meal to start your journey there.

Hope Rachael's toe heals quickly with the ice and ibuprofen!
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesPlease monitor the toe carefully. Urgent warning signs would be increasing swelling, warmth or redness, and especially red streaking going up the foot beyond the toe itself. If you see that you really need to have it looked as soon as possible. Just a thought, did Rachael trim her toenails recently? Perhaps it is a localised inflammation/ingrown nail? Hoping it resolves on its own and soon. Love, Dodie
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