Day 4: The THSR and Tainan
It’s time to slip into Taiwan’s second city, Tainan. I grab a pork floss bun for breakfast, refill my reusable bottle at one of the widespread water stations outside most Taiwanese washrooms and take a seat in the Taiwan High Speed Rail departure hall at Taipei Main Station.
In an era with increased consciousness around indigenous issues in Canada, I was particularly impressed by how prominent linguistic and cultural diversity figure into Taiwanese life. Transportation announcements come in four languages: Mandarin (the clearest and foremost), Minnan (a.k.a Taiwanese), English (any guess of which level of language mastery you’ll get) and Hakka (unfailingly with the most unfortunate audio quality as if it was shouted into a metal can). A stroll through Taipei’s Yanping Riverside Park is a stellar example of this rich language mosaic, too. Amateur singers belt out pop beats in native Amis spilling into the neighbouring line dance session in Minnan.
By the time I catch the Hakka translation of my train departure to Tainan, it’s time to line up on the platform. The high-speed train takes off and in an hour and forty-five minutes, I’m in Tainan.