Taiwan Day 1: Flying

Man am I regretting the show last night, the food or water has given me a serious case of the “delhi belly”. Great timing with the flight today to Taiwan. I decide my best course of action is to just fast and let my system work it out.

It took us longer to pack than I expected and planned for, so we didn’t have much time for breakfast. Jenn grabbed some cereal and I grabbed some croissants that I tucked away for later. As usual I’m anxious about being on time for the flight hearing horror stories about the traffic at 8am and 8pm with our taxi to the airport being right around then. It’s stupid, I get worried we’re leaving 10 minutes behind schedule when I have a nice buffer built in just for that reason.

We went out to grab a taxi waiting outside and they each asked for 10k. I know it costs 8k, so I was resolute on that price. The bellhop didn’t seem particularly interested in helping us negotiate a good price. But when I got the price I was after he looked at me impressed and I pressed some of the difference into his hand as a tip. Now we know we have 6000 kyat left.

Immigration was slow out of Myanmar, not as bad as going in, but it definitely eats up time.

Our flight is a good 5 ½ hours with a 1 ½ hour time zone change loss, so we land at dusk, and it’ll be dark before we’re out of the airport.

The first stop after landing is to pull out some cash out of an atm. The first one asks me if my card is a Visa or Mastercard. I don’t know. I can’t even look at my card now. I pick visa and no money comes out but I get a receipt. I ask the teller next to the ATM and he reads it and somewhere it says an error happened in Chinese. Ok, well I’m going to try a different ATM just in case, so I find another one and this time correctly enter Mastercard. I’m a bit concerned I pulled out the wrong amount because the maximum is 4 times larger than what I pulled out which would be quite a large withdrawl limit, but no it looks correct.

We had talked with Pam and Chuck and done investigation beforehand, and since we have more time we’re going to scope out the bus system. It’s really not bad leaving TPE airport, and takes about an hour, but once we’re dropped off we’re above ground trying to find our hotel and are a bit lost. I had been able to load Google maps when on the airport free wifi, so with it still in memory I can see my dot and the hotel’s dot. Only I realize the hotel location in google doesn’t have a building number, so it could be anywhere on 3 blocks this street exists for. First we had to figure out how to get across the road which was divided without a crosswalk. Jenn found an under pass that connected and below ground was a full on mall with connections to everything else in the Taiwan rail and subway system. On our street we walked past our hotel once, but then pulled out our reservation forms with the building number and figured out which direction the numbers went. We then walked past it again and realized it was poorly marked.

That last bit from the bus drop off was really complex, so we decided to make it easy on Pam and Chuck and had the hotel send a cab which would cost the same as one picked up at the airport. We then sent them messages and hoped Pam would do what she has been doing, and log onto the free airport wifi and get our message to expect a car. Sure enough they got the message and were on their way.

We were able to pay for the hotel with the emergency card, which was great, so maybe it’s to do with just Myanmar?

We watched the film Limitless while we waited for them to arrive.

By the time they arrived, it was late and most of the shops and restaurants on our block had been closed for the night, so we sat at a Japanese chain restaurant open 24hrs a day that had a line and had an ok meal. The best part though was the frantic exchange of stories. We hadn’t seen each other for an action packed week and had a lot to catch up on.

By the time we finally got to bed it was midnight!

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