Live from Taipei: 14 hours and a lost Sunday
by disillusioned
(656 views) - 4/5/05
(recorded 4/5/05 @ 4:31:28 AM)
Boarding our flight from LAX was exciting. For one thing, I was tired. This would mark my first time on a 747, which was cool, and it would only get better. I was fretting a bit that they'd check my passport, but that soon became more of an inside joke between me and me. As in, no one cared what my birthday showed. I'm too cute to bomb anything, anyway. (*eye roll*; and funny.)

My first surprise-cum-pleasantry (which I'm hoping you read in terms of magna-cum-laude and such, you sick bastards. It means "becoming". Dammit, that's still. Aw, just stop already; you're ruining everything with your filthy minds.) was the hot towel service. (Yeah, that sentence was doomed from the start. I can't even blame you, really.)

The cute stewardesses brought out a tray of hot towels and handed them to us. You generally wipe down your hands a bit and then your face and apparently feel invigorated or something. It's free; what do I care?

Side note: Apparently, to be a stewardess for EVA Air, and most Asian airlines, you need to be able to fit into their ONE size of uniform. Heh. And boy, do they. Ahem.

My second surprise was: SLIPPERS!


Hehe. I'm amused easily, but I swear, I think I shouted "SLIPPERS!" in the most girlish tone I could muster. I was probably channeling someone else, I'm sure. Who, you know, does that.

So with my "World's Greatest Travel Pillow Ever, Thankyouverymuch" new travel pillow in tow, I sat there, happily on the left of the center aisle. 747's are generally laid out like this in coach:
D, for you detectives-to-be out there, is my dad, C is me, and A is random asian woman. (Trust me- there will be a LOT of these come the week's end.)

Either way, we both happily had nobody to contend with in our immediate proximity, which, for coach, is a godsend. It means more leg room, and the ability to literally keel over from alcoholism or exhaustion or a complicated mix of the two. Regardless, awesomeness.

Before the flight took off, and therefore, before the stewardesses began their ninja-like reverie, stealing away errantly "on" cellphones, ridding the plane of their plague... well, before all that, I took this picture:

A subtle dichotomy from the earlier Southwest flight. I'm not sure if there's supposed to be some sort of social commentary here that I'm missing or maybe withholding, so I'll just leave it to you to interpret. I thought it made for a great photo, either way.

Now, the flight from LAX to Taipei takes 14 hours, roughly. This was, by far, the most enjoyable plane ride I have ever been on. Note that I've never ridden above coach, this flight included. I've also flown upwards of 50 times. And this was the longest flight by at least 9 hours.

After takeoff, I fell asleep rather quickly. I was awoken by my dad and a Chinese women asking me "feesh or poahk wit noodles". I also had major numbness in my hands; I must've slept on my corotid artery or something. Anyway, the first meal surprised me as well. (If you couldn't tell, it's all about being pleasantly surprised this trip.) It came on this nice little tray, and I, having ordered the feesh was eager to eat; I hadn't had anything all day.

The fish wrapper was tore back and revealed, well, breaded fish, rice, and a few veggies. In another cup, there was fresh honeydew and watermelon. In a third cup, oreos, and in a fourth, a salad. There was also a roll. And a coffee cup (ceramic or plastic; not disposable, any of this, save the feesh tray) and a small glass. The first thing the next stewardess asked me was what I wanted to drink. More, she asked if I wanted red wine. I wasn't in a wine mood and just settled on Sprite, as per my airplane usual. Suffice to say, alcohol was complimentary for the trip, and my dad had a glass of wine and a Heineken here and there throughout.

After the first meal, I rather slept throughout. Travel pillow in tow, I just conked out for several hours until woken up for something else that just barely met my qualifications for my earlier stipulation "wake me up for food only." It was a Ramen run. I wasn't in a Ramen mood, so I passed. A few hours later, I'd wake up in between one of the five movies and doze off again. Still, hours later, I woke up and they were making another juice run—several times throughout the flight, they'd bring down a tray with apple, orange and tomato juices and offer them.

There was a second meal as well, which looked roughly as such:

Yeah, I know. Not as good as the fish. It was some form of chicken on some form of chicken rice, with some form of weird noodles thing whose taste actually scared me wholesale. Still, I ate all the chicken and the fruit. Oh, and the roll.

We landed a few hours later, at roughly 10 pm Taiwan time. There was much sleeping and assuredly some numb limbs in between. And another hot towel.

After landing, it took us awhile to get our of the airport, and we got a cab to our hotel. The cab ride over was a bit... disconcerting, if for no other reason than our driver burping both boisteriously, consistenyly, and with complete and utter impunity. I mean, in the twenty minute ride to the hotel, he must've achieved a rate of close to 3 a minute—in non-peak times! This wouldn't have bothered me so much if he didn't keep smacking his lips after each and every one, as if savoring whatever curry flavor was revisiting him, with an enunciating click. Eww.

We arrive at the hotel, and found the room to be on the eighth floor. And the elevator to stop at floor seven. Ha. Ha. Still, we have what's arguably the biggest room, with a gigantic bathroom. (Including an unused whirlpool bath tub and a full glass shower stall. No expense spared, assuredly.)

The room itself was, well, a hotel room:

Quaint. Or, something.

From left to right: Bathroom light switch, thermostat, "Do Not Disturb/Make Up Room" switches, room key card slot, to turn things on. Thrilling, I know. (Also: "American Taco" flavored Doritos. Thank you, Frito-Lay.)

Because seriously, I need to make a call. *shudder*

After setting up shop and settling down, it was midnight on Monday. My dad and I, having slept some on the plane, decided to voyage out into the Taipei nightlife.

On my way out, I noticed a charming little gift in the endtable ashtray:

I shuddered once again, but figured it's the thought that counts, and it's nice that they're being somewhat proactive in the area.

I think what surprised me most was that it appeared as if every single store and stand on the stretch of road we walked was alive and open.

It was about 2 am by this time, and there were boutique clothing stores with names like "Danga: For the curious woman" and stuff like that, bright sterile flourescents beating down on an older Taiwanese woman reading a battered issue of Cosmo (translated, natch) and waiting for someone to come buy a $200 sweater... at 2 am. Most of them didn't look up, of course.

Seen at the Circle K. If I have to explain it to you, you should obviously be taking what's pictured in the middle. Cracked me up.

Snoopy Milk! For seven times the strong bones! (I kid.)

One of the (still open) food stands. Take your pick; I don't have a clue.

The night ended a decent time thereafter, and thus, so does this entry. More soon, but it takes time to crop and edit the pics, and to write them all up. Keep noting me, it's encouraging. And I might buy you things. TaiwanESE things!

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Buy me things that DANGLE (and not in the predictable way...).

Fun pics. The food looks scary, but you're into the "new experience" kind of thing, and it'll be great for stories. "So this one time in Taipei, I ate seven dried octopus eggs before I realized they were stuffed with kelp and crab eyes..."

Hee hee... can I have the condoms?

   [enlite (J:: M) 4/5/05 2:48 PM]

yea, just in case you fall into a drunken taipai stupor, don't eat street seafood.... bad news

~Cut and print~
   [noprotein (J:: M) 4/8/05 6:19 AM]

Oh Chris... I'm going to be envying you through this whole travelogue! Thanks for the pictures; nice phone!

lol, social commentary... psh. You're on a plane to Taiwan! ;)

   [TCcookie (J) 4/9/05 10:53 AM]

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