Is what my fiancé, Ruby and I nearly were this past Wednesday when we went to the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou. This is the largest hospital with the best equipment and facilities in Taiwan. You can get there very easily from many places, including the San Chung Bus that you can take from the Kuo Kuang bus stop located near the Taipei Main Station just out the South entrance and across the street to the right. The ticket costs around 40NT$ and it's about a forty minute ride (depending on traffic of course). But we live in Zhongli, so we took a cab to the shuttle bus on Zhong Yang E. Rd. In front of the 7-11 and hopped on. The bus-ride is about thirty to forty minutes long, depending on traffic and the fare is 35NT$ per person.
(A view of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital from afar taken from http://www1.cgmh.org.tw)
One interesting thing about hospitals in Taiwan, and hotels for that matter, is that they never have a fourth floor. Their floors go like this: one, two, three and then they skip to five. Now we all know that Chinese have a reputation for being good at math, right? So what the heck's going on here? Well, as I wrote about a while back, Chinese people are very superstitious, and a lot of their superstitions stem from how words can sound like other words very easily in Mandarin (Believe me, just try saying forty-four stone lions without screwing the whole thing up and you'll thing Sandy and her seashells are a joke!). The word four, or sì(四) sounds very close to the word sǐ(死) which means death! So would you want to get operated on on the forth floor? I didn't think so? Moving on. So, despite it being a Typhoon Day, Ruby and I were at the hospital for her surgery(a very minor and routine procedure, so calm down already!). She had already booked her appointment, and I had taken the day off from work to accompany her. It was a quick visit and we hit up the hospital's food court, or měishíjiē(美食街) for lunch after she was fineshed. She had beef noodle soup (broth without the beef chunks) niúròutāngmiàn(牛肉湯麵) and I had Subway. Are you kidding me? Yes we have Subway in Taiwan! Bellies full and feeling satisfied with the trip, we headed back to the shuttle bus to Zhongli…or we tried to! Somehow or another we got turned around in the hospital's maze-like corridors and ended up leaving by another entrance. Rather than going back the way we had just come, we decided to walk around the building to the bus stop. We hadn't gone a hundred feet before it started raining down hard. Another few feet and our umbrella was broken by the strong winds. It sucked, but strangely, even though we were being pelted like there was no tomorrow, our reaction was to laugh. Seriously, it felt like the rain was punching us!
("Momma said knock you out"-LL Cool J)
We eventually made our way around the building, but rather than finding the shuttle bus waiting to take us home, we were back where we had started out from! It was too ridiculous a situation to get mad about, so we went back in and squeezed as much water out of our clothes as we could in the bathrooms, then we did what we should have done in the first place. We went back through the basement level of the hospital and eventually found the bus terminal and got in line. Cold and wet, with the bus's AC blowing in our faces, we made ourselves as comfortable as we were able and we took the forty minute trip back to Zhongli. Once we had arrived, we got off the bus, took a cab back to the house, followed by a hot shower and then a two hour nap! Adventures are tiring!
Chinese phrases of the day:
měishíjiē(美食街)= food court
niúròutāngmiàn(牛肉湯麵)= beef noodle soup (no beef chunks, just soup and noodles) ———————————————————————————————————————————