Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On Being an Alien & Getting Lost

So I went to the intl students orientation and found that it was less useful than it sounds and escaped early for a delicious Thai lunch with a few friends from my program. Tim, Igor, and I had a great lunch and then decided that Tim would drop Igor and I off at the Immigration Office on his way home. Igor wanted to see where the office was located and I needed to get my ARC (Alien Resident Card). I entered the country with a resident visa, which allowed me a single entry on the promise that I would apply for an ARC within 15 days.

Side note: Apparently, an ARC is needed for just about everything (opening bank accounts, getting a cell phone, etc), and if you don't go get one within 15 days, trouble occurs!

So Tim drops Igor and I off and then Igor writes out instructions on how I should get back to school from the Immigration Office and we part ways. After dropping off my application I leave the Immigration Office and start what turned out to be an epic journey back to NCCU.

I was told to take the MRT (what they call the metro) from Xiaonanmen, switch trains at Chiang Kai-Shek, and go to Gongguan. At Gongguan, take Bus 236 and go back to school. It sounded simple enough.

I found the Xiaonanmen MRT station and headed towards Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall station, and then got on a train headed towards what I thought would be Gongguan station, but sadly, it wasn't. Igor had told me to change trains at Chiang Kai-Shek, but forgot to mention 1. you need to head towards Guting and 2. you need to change trains at Guting. In Chiang Kai-Shek, I went the wrong direction and headed towards the hospital instead of Guting and had to jump off and switch directions at the next station to return to Chiang Kai-Shek. I eventually got to Guting, but I stayed on the train instead of getting off and switching and found myself quickly speeding off in the direction of Dingxi (and the Lenhua Night Market) and not Gongguan! So at Dingxi, I switched directions again, and headed back to Guting to figure out what exactly went wrong. After a few moments of confusion, I noticed that there was a sign with some faint green trim with an arrow pointing up, and realized that the upper platform was where I needed to catch the MRT to Gongguan and the other green line stops. By the time I finally made it to Gongguan, I felt like I had ridden the MRT for quite a while and was only too glad to catch the bus back to school!

The rather frightening thing is that all those steps must be duplicated in reverse to get me back to the Immigration Office on the 23rd to pick up my official permission to live as an alien in Taiwan!

4 comments:

KrysTina said...

"I was told to take the MRT (what they call the metro) from Xiaonanmen, switch trains at Chiang Kai-Shek, and go to Gongguan. At Gongguan, take Bus 236 and go back to school. It sounded simple enough." HAHA! I miss random bus adventures in foreign countries....

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