I wanted to see Alishan, Taiwan's most popular mountain resort, on my way back to Taipei.
There was a morning bus, but I asked if there was one in the afternoon. The young girl wrote down '15.30' and pointed to window ten.
I returned just after 3pm. At window ten we had comprehension problems. I opened the map and pointed to the mountain resort. She said the same words in Chinese that she had said before I opened the map, and talked to her friend. I tried again.
She shook her head: "Tomorrow morning."
"No, no," I wanted to go that day. There was a 15.30 sign in her window. I pointed to it.
She took my map and pointed to Chiayi. It was the changing station for the mountain train, I said: "ok."
The 15.30 came and filled up, two places short of my position in the queue. I asked two boys next to me, whom I thought probably learnt English in school, what time the next bus would depart. They laughed and shrugged their shoulders.
Two more buses pulled up at stand ten, but they weren't going to Chiayi.