Day 1 am

It’s amazing how good 6 hours of sleep in a HORIZONTAL position feels! After unpacking last night, I sleep like a log! 0630 comes way too early but yet, I was up and headed down to my first Taiwanese breakfast: rice with corn, olives, and tuna – yum! Lots of fried things (tofu, “wheat cake”, something that looked good but I have no clue what it was). They serve a green salad for breakfast, along with fish, an assortment of side dishes (I recognized seaweed) that looked interesting. NOTE: must try new country’s breakfast foods! Thank goodness I’d packed some oatmeal. And I’m eating chocolate like there’s no tomorrow! I worked out in the “gym” (free weights and some cardio equipment). It took me a minute to figure how to get to floor 13, where the gym is located; the elevator only goes up to 12! (Kinda like how I’m feeling this morning.) There’s a rooftop garden even (see below). Wishing I had grabbed my camera from my bag and taken pics on the way from the airport to the hotel last night….oh well. Time to get ready for my first day of WORK!!

Another view from the roof of the Fullerton

Taipei as seen from rooftop garden

 

Non-Citizen

I’ve arrived! Dog-tired but safely ensconsed in the Taipei Fullerton South. As you might imagine, it was difficult to say goodbye to my folks, not knowing if/when I’ll see them again. (I never was good at goodbyes!)

Props to the LA-based SuperShuttle for getting me to the airport on-time (read: hours early)! Being early for my flight turned into a blessing because the line was already forming for China Airlines check-in when I pulled up and I only had to wait 10 minutes before check-in began and was able to get an exit row seat!  I knew my bags were overweight and was prepared to pay the fee at the counter. What I wasn’t prepared for was the weight limit for carry-on! Luckily the limit for carry-ons had only recently changed so the CI counter rep offered to check my carry on at no additional cost! (Try that on any other international carrier.) NOTE: Luckily there are all sorts of SmartCarts along the Bradley International terminal arrivals lane ($5.00USD non-refundable) so I did not have to lug my heavy bags anywhere!

Although I booked my flight through Delta, the carrier (CI) check-in (at LAX) is located several terminals away from the Delta Sky Room. It was another beautiful day in southern California so I walked….and enjoyed the sunshine.

Our flight was delayed but we were eventually ushered onto the 747-400 carrying us across the ocean. I found my “window” seat (38A) did not have a window but by leaning forward, I was able to watch the buildings of Los Angeles get smaller and smaller…

I have nothing but compliments for the CI crew – their attention to detail (the flight attendants actually cleaned the lavatories every hour, themselves!) and willingness to accomodate (and remember) requests was amazing. I hadn’t requested a vegetarian meal in time but they still managed to find an extra dinner and breakfast for me. (I have no idea what I ate but it was delicious and apparently not meat!)

The flight was uneventful. My seatmates all spoke Chinese so I was able to practice a bit with them. (Today’s word is hen hao which means “very good”.)

Arriving in Taipei, I wondering what the immigration and customs procedures would consist of. Would my luggage actually make it intact? Would I have to declare something? Actually, the process was simple: queue up to show your passport/visa, take the escalator down to the (very well marked) baggage carousel, pick up the (free) baggage cart and wait, wait, wait. Side note: why is the worst part of any flight the endless waiting for one’s luggage?

I found ALL my luggage intact and was able to find the rental car counter, my driver, and eventually (after a lovely 20 minute drive), my hotel. Now, SLEEP!

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…