Monday, 6 August 2007

Taiwan trip Day 0 (June 23 - 24)

The day we were leaving for Taiwan was also the day I had to get together with some friends. They have been rare guests and I was probably not going to see them for a while if I didn't go. So my flight was at 9 pm, which meant we were leaving at around 6, but I got home at around 5 pm. No wonder my parents were getting a little bit anxious.

Our flight back to Taiwan took 3 separate flights - Toronto to Vancouver (5 hrs), Vancouver to Taipei (10 hrs), Taipei to Kaohsiung (1 hr). Whenever there are this many connections I always get a bit tense because of all the regulations and the passport things I had to worry about. Well, this time the worry was valid. At the Toronto airport, the person at the baggage claim was checking my passport and was wondering if I could be allowed in Taiwan. She said that airline companies are responsible in making sure that passengers have the right legal documents to go to their destination(s). She was checking the regulations for Taiwan and my documents just didn't match. I gave her my Canadian and Taiwanese passport but for some reason she just didn't think they were right. I was thinking to myself: "well, if I have a Taiwanese passport and I'm going to Taiwan, shouldn't that be enough?" She called others to help and at the end she sorta believed me and let my brother and I through. We stood at the counter for about half an hour, but it was a good thing she did let us go. Maybe she was new but man, that was not very good customer experience. I think she probably got China and Taiwan mixed up. Oh well.

Our flight from Toronto to Vancouver went pretty well. We got to Vancouver without a problem. It was at night so there weren't too many people at the airport at that time. Everyone we saw were going on the same flight as us. The design of the airport seem more Asian, with warmer colors and more shops. There were also lots of Asian people, even amongst the airport staff. I saw some cute carts just hanging around in the airport and took a picture. We were taking Eva airline, and they even had tea and hot chocolate for people to drink at the gate to the plane.

Daniel and I sat down to wait for the plane thinking all would be well, but little did we know that there was something else awaiting us. We were required to have our boarding passes re-printed at the gate so we lined up. Just when it was our turn the printer broke down. It took them about 30 minutes to fix it but in the end I only got one boarding pass when I was supposed to get 2 (one for the flight from Taipei to Kaohsiung). Daniel was luckier - he got both. What's with us and standing today?

Finally, we got onto the plane to Taiwan. As we were getting on we noticed that people weren't exactly following instructions. When the staff called for passengers from row x to row y, most of the people just went up. I'm not an airplane expert but I know for sure 10 rows can't fit THAT many people. Does it really make that big a difference to be on the plane first?

After we got on the plane it was all good. The flight attendants were all really nice. The food was good (I finished every single thing in my plate), and the best thing was the in flight entertainment system. This was the culprit for my lack of sleep during the flight.

From that point on our plane ride all the way to Kaohsiung was really smooth. I got to see the Taoyuan international airport. It got renovated and is quite nice. There is even a food court with lots of expensive food - even some 小吃 like 小籠包 can cost quite a bit. While I was there, I heard lots of people speaking fluent English - American fluent. I guess they were born in America. I finally realized how many visa students or ABCs (American Born Chinese) there are. According to my friend, during the summer there are lots of such Taiwanese that come to visit. They're mainly in Taipei. This explains the American style I see in Taipei.

When we got to Kaohsiung our uncle came and picked us up. None of our luggage was lost and we are on our way to my grandma's place!

No comments: