Adventure of a Lifetime: China to Taiwan by Ferry, Part 2

Morning came. It was difficult to leave my cozy bed at JinJiang, yet an unwritten day was ahead. I placed things out the previous night, had a packing sequence all set, and began in earnest to launch my intention to enter Taiwan by boat first, and god knew what else. Airplane? Another ferry? Events from the day before left me hopeful that things would unfold to a good conclusion yet travel days mimic life in a microcosm. Sometimes, intentions just don’t pan out. I told myself to wait and see. First, get there. Getting on the Bus in Fuzhou Really, Matsu was a geographical name to me. All I knew was that it was located in the Taiwan Strait, is comprised of a series of islands and the major township where the ferryboat docked was called Nangan. Fuzhou began to fade from memory as I checked out of my room. I slid that monstrous pack across my back and clasped the straps over my stomach. I felt hyped and bouncy – thirsty for action. I refer to this as the “gunslinger coldness”. Just as the gunslinger suspends his emotions – devoid of empathy or fear – the only goal being his target, the backpacker can succumb to the same affliction. We must get somewhere, so we shut down doubt and steel ourselves for what’s next. Early morning in Fuzhou was nearly deserted, save for a few signs of life. There was the compact woman in a stained apron handing out doughy sesame balls, her drowsy customers savoring the hot sweetness, jolting them into wakefulness. An alien figure in a yellow jumpsuit and a pollution mask darted out, shoveling garbage onto a metal plate. The creature’s hands were encased in thick cotton gloves, its motions clumsy. I imagined heavy breathing behind the mask, exaggerated and repulsive like it often is in horror movies. My mind flashed to disease contamination workers, and if this were one he or she was doing a piss poor job of clearing the hot zone or warning me to stay away. […]

By |December 15th, 2011|Fuzhou, Taipei, Taiwan|21 Comments

Adventure of a Lifetime: China to Taiwan by Ferry, Part 1

The HostelBookers search results flickered against the dim light in my hostel room. A tremor of panic made my hand quiver against the track pad of my laptop. Fuzhou does not exist, at least in the backpacker’s realm. Hostels were a zero search result for this southern Chinese city. I vaguely wondered if the Wikitravel page about entering Taiwan by ferry was a joke, a myth created by a jester holding the Internet thrall with misinformation, cackling at how stupid someone is for even trying such a half-baked idea. I guess that stupid someone is me. Maybe I was so primed to sniff out a new adventure, that defeat was unspeakable. No one in my circle had heard of entering Taiwan by this method, which was reason enough to pursue this unique way of leaving China. I staved off the panic threatening to sever my hope of crossing into Taiwan and reverted to my former ways of making travel plans, by googling Hotwire. Budget and logistics forced me to book the JinJiang Inn, near the Fuzhou Railway Station. The railway station was located by the very bus station I needed, the one that would spit me from one shore to the other. This was worrisome to me, it sounded mildly dangerous. Areas where railway stations are situated often attract nefarious characters, the kind who enjoy raping solo females. I re-tasted this mild panic, sensing something familiar – the tingling of the unknown. I was use to traveling to places where scads of other backpackers had been, a well-worn trail for me to follow. This time it was blank. […]

By |December 12th, 2011|Fuzhou|22 Comments