Life's Like That: Taipei 101 Adventures (in which we freeze then are crushed by crowds)

I spent last New Year's in Taipei, Taiwan, watching the fireworks off Taipei 101.

It was interesting, to say the least. We arrived at 7pm, and discovered way too late (too early?) that we didn't need to get there that soon. Also that it was freezing. Aaaand also that we didn't bring enough warm clothes. 

There was a flood of people, and every time we wanted to cross the street I had to grab my sister's backpack to avoid being swept away. The police had closed off the streets to cars, and it was far too easy to become lost in the sea of people. 

We found a spot with a view of the building. If you look back on our videos of the evening, you'll watch a slow descent into madness and hyperthermia. (Also, Bear Grylls voices. Don't ask.) (At this point, we had run out of cash and couldn't find an ATM that worked (we would fix that the next day) but as a result we couldn't buy a hot drink. It was not fun.)

I was wearing nothing but a dress, a light winter jacket and a scarf. The wind made it almost unbearable, but we stuck through the wait and enjoyed the spectacular fireworks off the building. It was beyond amazing, and sometimes we couldn't see the building through the brilliant flashes of light and the resulting smoke. 

Then, the mad rush began. Taipei has a fantastic transportation system, but it was built to only handle so much. My sister and I headed to an entrance to the metro, but found nearly five hundred people crowding around the entrance. On the other side of the street, there were another five hundred people around another entrance. And down the street, another five hundred around yet another metro entrance. 

The police had barricaded the entrance, and were only letting about 30 people through at a time. We were quickly squashed in the crowd of people trying to shove them way through. For the most part, people were respectful. I made eye contact with a few people and we laughed, not speaking each other's language but both in the same ridiculous situation. However, whenever they let people into the subway I was almost lifted off my feet and dragged along with the crowd. 

After two hours, we'd moved maybe two meters. Eventually, eventually, we managed to hop aboard a train and head back to the hostel. We were separated by the crowds, but a few guys from the Ivory Coast watched out for us and made sure we didn't get separated further. I attempted to have a conversation with one of them in French. (It went less than fabulous, to say the least. It was about 3am, the train was busting with passengers, and it was difficult to hear but between my French and his English we made it work.)

The fireworks on New Year's Eve in Taipei were an adventure I'll never forget, that's for sure. 


  1. It was nice that you attempted a conversation with the guy from Ivory Coast :)

    1. Hahaha, thanks! It was a bit embarrassing to be honest.


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