Saturday, May 16, 2009
Yes, I am writing this entry from Taipei, Taiwan. Pretty exhausted from a 30+ hour journey and missing a day somehow (damn you, international date line!) but happy to be here.
I left my little hamlet in Virginia on Friday afternoon, driving a spiffy rental car to the airport. As luck would have it, I've never driven a Prius and it took me over 15 minutes to figure out how to turn it on. Major panic...omg, I am going to miss my flight because I can't even get out of town! Thankfully, I called the dealer and they explained that one has to hold the power button down for a few more seconds than I was doing....ohhhh. Now I feel dumb. Anyways, made it to the airport, checked in and made it through security and to my gate on time. Five and a half hours later, we touched down in LA. I joined the disorganized mass of people waiting for the EVA Airlines check-in counter to open. Quite a mix of people, many Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodians taking the flight to Taipei to connect to another to points beyond. After a successful check-in, another three hours were spent sitting and killing time at the gate. By 1:30 am (LA time...my body was saying 4:30am) we were ready to take off. Thankfully, EVA Air has more legroom and individual entertainment consoles even in economy class, so the 13 and a half hours spent in the plane weren't too unbearable. That said, spending 13 hours in one place is never a barrel of laughs. We arrived here at 6 am Sunday and after clearing customs (interminably long lines) and grabbing my bags, I found a bus to take me into the city and then a taxi driver to take me to my hotel. When I walked into the tiny lobby, the clerk assured me that I had a reservation...but that the hotel was full and I wouldn't be able to check in until 2pm. UGH! So here I am operating on very little sleep, in an opposite day/night time zone shift, don't know the area and not really great at speaking Chinese (although I am starting to remember some from my one year of language study). The joy of international solo travel.
Lucky for me, my Taiwanese friend whom I'm meeting later on this evening called the hotel to check and make sure I made it, and when she heard that I couldn't check in, she called her brother who lives in the area and I'm hanging out at his place in the meantime. We just ate egg sandwiches at a street vendor's stall and are now watching CSI subtitled in Mandarin.
Hope everyone is well and reading lots of great books. :)