As usual, our first stop on arriving in the northern port city of Keelung was the visitor information centre. Surprisingly, no one there really spoke English, but they made up for it by having a staff of about 8, all of whom fussed over us as we tried to find a cheap place to stay and how to go about buying our ferry tickets. The first was easy. The second, surprisingly, turned out to be perhaps even moreso. The visitor centre staff phoned a number, then gave the receiver to us. After a minute of trying to dictate our passport details to the gentleman on the other end he said “actually, I’m driving now. But I’m near where you are, so just wait five minutes and I’ll meet you there.” Lo and behold, the guy (his English name was Bevan, which particularly entertained me, since it’s such a typically Kiwi name) appeared soon after, took down our details, and told us to meet him at the ferry terminal in two days time where we could pay for and pick up our tickets. Sorted.
After a short walk through the city, we found the two hotels we were looking for and, after a quick comparison of the rooms, chose the cheaper (and nicer looking, if slightly smoky smelling) one.
Launching a sky lantern on (literally on) the Pingxi spur rail line