Travel Diary

Taipei and Asia

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  • Dec 28, 2010 – Back to Taipei
  • Dec 29, 2010 – But wait! There’s Hong Kong
  • Dec 30, 2010 – Shifen and Jiufen
  • Dec 31, 2010 – New Year’s Eve
  • Jan 01, 2011 – You are now entering Vietnam
  • Jan 02, 2011 – Ha Long Bay is a bay
  • Jan 03, 2011 – Oceans and Caves
  • Jan 04, 2011 – Back in Hanoi again
  • Jan 05, 2011 – Pattaya Awaits
  • Jan 06, 2011 – One night in Bangkok
  • Jan 07, 2011 – One day in Bangkok
  • Jan 08, 2011 – Strike One…you’re still in
  • Jan 09, 2011 – Exploring Taipei
  • Jan 10, 2011 – Floral Expo! Exciting? Well, interesting
  • Jan 11, 2011 – Grass Hill and Return of the Hot Pot
  • Jan 12, 2011 – The long road (flight) home

  • Heading into San Francisco was uneventful and calming. Traffic was light as it was late at night. My flight wouldn’t leave until 12:05am—a good time for a flight since I could sleep almost naturally. Going is often much easier, especially at night. Aside from being contained in an awkward position, it would (almost) be a normal night’s rest for me.

    Airport check-in went fast. I ventured to say a few Chinese words which I had studied over the past few months, secretly wishing I had studied much more, but knowing that a little of something beats a lot of nothing.

    One nicety of SFO is free WIFI and I used it well until the flight boarded. In short time, we were airborne and heading west over a great big dark ocean.

    Given that it was a very long flight and on a foreign airline, we were fed and fed well. I had chicken and rice with some bread, cake, salad, and a cookie. Obviously, I only ate a little of each, but did indulge much more than back at home. This would be a vacation of letting go—in terms of eating. While I wouldn’t go crazy, I wouldn’t starve myself either. I could continue that when I returned home. Why starve in a place where food was so cheap and so fresh?

    I quickly found that my “As Seen on TV” pillow which I bought at Fry’s was of little use. First of all, Cathay Pacific had us on a nice plane (747-400) with a comfy headrest. Secondly, they provided nice pillows for us. Having a third cushion just seemed silly. But I kept it with me—for the time being. I spent $15 on it. Hated to just toss money away.

    I read a little, but reading is tough on planes, even with earplugs in. Shockingly, I watched very little movies (and even after griping online about the lack of good choices). I tried out a few TV shows that I hadn’t seen and time passed. I begin to get sleepy.

    As thin as I am, it’s hard for me to sleep on planes. Perhaps a little body fat would help as the seats aren’t exactly soft. To put it plainly—my butt usually hurts in short time. I think the secret is to just get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s frustrating, but eventually, sleepiness conquers all, and one dozes off. I’m not sure how long I slept, but it did seem like a few hours.

    Once I awoke again, we were having our second meal. I opted for the chicken, though the waitress said it was a certain kind of chicken and wanted to be sure I knew what I was getting. Yup. Bring it on. Turns out it was a rice soup with bits of chicken in it. I forgot what it was called. I could ask again, but I’d already forgotten the name twice, so what makes me think that this time would be any different. I just call it rice soup with chicken.

    Anyway, it was quite tasty. I ate almost a third of it!

    There wasn’t much time until landing, but I managed to squeeze in most of the movie Salt. It was very predictable, but still entertaining. Alas, the little warning upon starting the movie was correct–we landed before I could finish it. I mean I had about 10 minutes left. Still, it wasn’t good enough to bother finishing later. I suppose that’s never a good sign for a flick (or a book for that matter)

    Or a marriage, I would surmise.

    I had just landed in Hong Kong.

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