Continued from Background/Prep.
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If you are waiting for my typical dosage of travel photos, I wouldn’t expect them until I reach India because Taiwan is more of a pit stop than part of my travel schedule. With that said, let’s get on with whatever I can scrap out of Taiwan.
Picked up at the curb by my sister to head to the airport. She took this photo and said that I looked like a kid going to his first day of school. I will be flying to Taiwan with my sister. I think of Taiwan as my Base Camp. I will spend a few days here to visit family, run some errands, get over my jet lag, get some last minute supplies, and fill myself up on food before moving onto serious traveling and sightseeing.
Upon arriving to the Austin airport, we headed to the self check-in counter. The computer couldn’t locate our tickets, which was fine because this has happened many times to me before for international travel. We waited at the counter, gave the agent our record locator, to which she replied that we had no tickets for our domestic flight….Err….WTF. She said that we had to call our international carrier EVA Air and have them figure out what the deal was. Sigh. This is not the first time I had to deal with this sort of screw up. To our urging, the agent tried different ways of looking for our tickets, and to our surprise, she was able to find them. She mentioned something about us having tickets but no reservations or seat assignments. Anyhow, we were finally able to get our tickets, but had to get our seats at the gate when they opened for boarding. We were just relieved that we can actually board the plane.
I had instructed at the Audi State Meet track event this morning. Two students plus my own driving meant that I had been in a car fighting G forces for close to 3 hours. I was physically exhausted when I boarded the flight and fell asleep before the plane even took off. When I came to, I looked outside and saw the lights of LA sprawling for miles beneath me. That may have been my fastest flight from Austin to LA.
I am outside walking towards the international terminal. To this day, I am still perplexed that the domestic terminal isn’t connected to the international terminal. Having to walk outside in the elements to transfer to an international or domestic flight just seems really odd at such a popular airport like the LAX.
Saw a big group of Japanese solider at LAX international. No idea why they were there, but I do know that they are Japanese due to the flag stitched to the back of their fatigues. My first thought was that the flags make great targets since they stood out so much.
For a while now I’ve wondered how loud it is in an airplane. I’ve always figured it be quite loud due to how loud I have to talk. Handy little App on the iPhone answered my question. Yup, it’s very loud aboard an aircraft. Do air stewardesses develop long term hearing problems?
Weird route to take from LA to Taipei. I’ve flown this route countless times, and we always fly in a parabolic route where we go up along the coast of Alaska and drop back down around Japan. That’s actually the shorter distance than a straight line due to the Earth being a globe instead of flat. I am not a pilot, but I am guessing that we are taking a more straight shot this time due to the jet stream that usually operates off of Northwestern US being stronger than usual.
Taiwan is a pretty ungainly country. Weak zoning laws, regular hurricanes, and lack of care for aesthetics makes for a plethora of mismatched ugly grey buildings. I know this is my motherland and all, but ugly is ugly. I will say, I love the smell of Taiwan. It smells like my childhood.
Another uninspiring photo of a building taken through rain covered window of our cab. This building is special to me though. This is a hospital and yours truly was born in one of the rooms here.(correction. this is the newer building of the hospital. I was born in the older part of the hospital in another part of town.)
Arrive at my sister’s apartment to find that part of my backpack had been damaged. One of the plastic clips that manages the unused length of a tie down strap broke. I guess if something was to break from rough handling, this wasn’t too bad of a hit.
It’s about mid morning after we had unpacked our luggage in my sister’s apartment. We decided to go to the mall to eat some lunch and buy some items that she needs for her apartment.
Sister and her friend shown here. Driving in Taiwan is chaotic, but I thought my sister did a pretty fine job considering that she’s only driven on the streets of Taiwan a handful of times before this.
We drove to the mall, got stuck in traffic, couldn’t find parking, so decided to drive back, park, and call a cab instead. Doh.
I was impressed by this. A soy sauce dispenser that does not drip! The spout had the bottom cut away, and on the top portion of the spout there were these small channels cut into it. When the soy sauce poured out, it would follow the channels by surface tension, and when you tipped back, since there is no bottom to the spout, the sauce would just follow the channels on the top of the spout back into the container. Crappy explanation, I know, so just take my word for it that it works. There are better ways of doing things, and this is one of them.
Stir fried cabbage. This plate of cabbage is 8 times the price of any other plate of cabbage that you would find out on the streets of Taiwan. I thought it was just ok, but my sister is a huge fan of it.
Well, that was lunch. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I didn’t spend most of my energy just trying to stay awake.
I spent the rest of the day visiting with my cousin, watching Amelie with my sister and writing this blog. I had a discussion with my sister and cousin about tourism in Taiwan. My thought is that for anyone visiting Asia for the first time, Taiwan is not worth visiting. Taiwan just isn’t that fun or interesting, but I do think we have wonderful food that can hold its own other Asian countries. Therefore, naturally most of my photos from Taiwan will be food heavy.
To be continued at Taiwan Day 2.