On December 31st 2017, I flew from Australia to Taipei.
It was a night flight, which meant I spent New Years Eve in the air and New Years Day with my feet on the ground. I prefer these flights because, if you can sleep on the plane, you can have almost a full day in your destination.
Unfortunately, I did not sleep on the plane.
I arrived at 4am and my hotel was not going to let me check in until 2pm. It was also not going to let me loiter in the lobby for 10 hours so, after quickly changing clothes and slapping some makeup on my tired, dehydrated face, I hit the city.
With absolutely no idea where I was going.
The city, for its part, was still asleep.
So I wandered the Ximending district, waiting for a coffee shop to open while cleaners swept streamers, spent sparklers and empty KFC buckets from the streets.
Occasionally, I saw something I knew must have a story behind it. Like this…
And then I stumbled across a place that was actually on my list for the trip: Graffiti Lane. The street art hub of the city.
With its Godzilla made of aerosol cans…
brightly decorated store shutters
and the largest ad for Suicide Squad ever
And while there was a lot more to see (and photograph) I didn’t stay long enough to take it all in. Local cafes had started to open, the subway was operating and bleary-eyed folk were leaving their homes and hotel rooms to go have breakfast. I decided to join them. I could always return to Graffiti Lane later, I reasoned. When I was better rested.
For some reason though, I never went back.
I saw a lot of other areas of the city while I was in Taipei. I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in more than a decade and with her guidance was introduced to some fantastic restaurants and sightseeing places. Hidden gems of the city.
We ate Chinese hot pot, the world’s greatest high tea…
And I travelled via cable car to the tea growing regions of the island. Where I explored what I think was an old abandoned theme park.
It was a great trip.
But right now, being stuck at home, with minimal income and future travel postponed for who knows how long, I can’t help regretting not taking full advantage of Graffiti Lane while I was there.
Perhaps there’s a lesson in that.
Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.