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…

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