One Saturday, we decided to go into town to eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant (which was surprisingly good) and afterwards some of us wanted to go to Costco to pick up a few little luxuries. After using Google Maps to find directions, we chose to navigate the city on foot; after all, the app said that the store was only 1.6km away. Confident in our abilities to remember the course, we set off in the direction we were sure would lead us to Costco. We walked for several minutes, gabbing and carrying on as we kept an eye out for the cross street we needed to find. Occasionally we would come to a tunnel or intersection that challenged our route, but we thought that we circumvented these problems with a fair amount of ease. I did lead us slightly astray once when we came to an overpass that seemed to have no pathway for pedestrians, though. Sure that there must be some way to pass through perpendicularly without needing to deviate from the main road we had been travelling on, I convinced my two companions that the street to our right contained a suitable path for us to follow. I still maintain that I was right, seeing as we made it without too much difficulty; however, it may have been a less orthodox route, considering that we did have to pick our way around a questionable junk filled “alley” and navigate some low, jagged walls.
After about 50 minutes of walking, we concluded that we had definitely gone farther than 1.6km and must have gotten a little bit off course somewhere. We tried to flag down a taxi but sometimes they don’t like to pick up foreigners, so the driver of the first one that we saw slowed the car for a moment, waved at us, and then continued on his merry way. Frustrated, we chose to cross the intersection in order to get a better view of oncoming traffic. Once on the other side, we walked a short distance and ended up next to a couple of cops that had pulled over to give someone a ticket. With a slightly apprehensive air about him, one officer walked over to us to see if we needed help. As he tried to use his broken English and decipher our fragments of poor Chinese, he was finally able to understand what we were looking for and pulled out his phone to show us a map of the city, indicating that we were “here” and Costco was waaaaay over “there”. Surprised by how far off we were, we chalked it up to bad directions and Google Maps giving us an incredibly erroneous distance estimation. We thanked the man profusely and continued to walk in the same direction we had been, hoping to find a taxi sooner rather than later. After 10 or 20 yards, we came to a bus stop with a route passing by Costco, so we decided it would be best to stop here and wait for either the bus or a taxi, whichever came first, to take us to the store. Much to our surprise, the cop car appear in front of us, pulling over beside the curb where we stood. The officer told us that he and his partner needed to go to that part of town and could give us a ride if we wanted them to. Not about to let such a randomly fabulous experience pass us by, we tried to keep our composure as we excitedly hopped into the back of the cop car. They only drove to the first intersection before flipping a u-turn and going back the way we had come. This was the point in time when we used our brilliance and reasoning skills to realize that we had been walking in the wrong direction that whole time, even after they had corrected us and given us new directions!
They were very sweet and tried very hard to mask their amusement as we told them our story and where we had started our walking journey that day; however, upon realizing how greatly we had underestimate the distance and how far we had walked in the wrong direction, one of them accidentally let slip a good-natured giggle at our blunder. 15 minutes later, we finally arrived at Costco! They were so nice, they even drove around for a few extra minutes looking for a parking spot so that we could get out and take a picture with them. The two other teachers and I are thoroughly convinced that the officers had no need to go to that part of town that day, but rather took pity on us poor girls who were so clearly turned around (even though we didn’t know it ourselves). Honestly, this is just one of many examples that I could give to describe how willing, and even eager, the Taiwanese people are to help us. I have found them to be such kind, loving people, and I love them in return!
I hope all of you are doing well! I would love to hear from anyone interested in leaving a comment here or messaging me on Facebook.