Journey Home, part 1

I’m sitting in the Sky Club in Narita International in Tokyo, having just emerged from a SHOWER – yes, you read that correctly! Let me back up…

My day started early. I set the alarm for 0415, having fallen asleep somewhere around 0200. Needless to say, I stumbled out of bed thinking “this is waaaaaay too early to be up”. I had arranged a ride to the airport with a driver I found on Tealit.com: Mike Wang. Since the entrance to the apartment is down a one-way alley, he’d arranged to meet me across the street from Watson’s, and sure enough, at 0524 he texted saying he was waiting. What a pleasant ride that was! (I highly recommend Mike’s limo service; 1000NT each way and  you get to learn a little about Taiwan’s history as you drive.)

At the airport, Mike jumped out and got a cart for my luggage. I waited in a short line at the Delta counter (while I was in line, a friendly staff person took my passport and returned with my boarding passes.) Luckily I’d packed well and the ONE allowable free bag was under the 50 lb. limit. Then I went in search of food/coffee/the Delta Sky Room. Unfortunately my Sky Room membership had expired and in TPE, China Airlines runs the VIP lounge and could not renew it for me. A little over 2 hours later we were landing at Narita where I of course went in search of anything Hello Kitty for my oldest granddaughter. (Mission accomplished!)

Next, I found my gate (Terminal 1, gate 26) and then headed to the Sky Room. The super friendly Japanese staff offered me a one-month membership for a price I could not refuse. Then to make things more interesting, they asked if I wanted a shower. (A shower? Do I look  in need of one?) At any rate, in the spirit of adventurous travel and new experiences, I said “Yes!”. Half an hour later, after consuming rice crackers and tea, I found myself in a lovely LARGE private bathroom area and, despite having showered only hours previously, took another one. Heaven! It must be something in the water because I emerged totally refreshed. (They even had a hair dryer for use.) Ah….

Photos to follow

Preparing to return home

In just a few days I’ll be heading back over the ocean, headed to the country I left 8 months ago, to work in Taiwan. I’ve been writing about my experiences here on this happy, friendly island westerners seem to confuse with Thailand!

I think about what I’ve missed (in addition to the obvious – friends and family and my sweet little conure, Neptune):

  • an oven
  • a “large” refridgerator
  • a clothes dryer
  • licorice (strangely, the Taiwanese don’t like this healthy treat)
  • my car

And what I really like here:

  • how well behaved, honest, polite, and self-disciplined people are
  • no tipping – ever!
  • the plastic covering on cups that prevents spilling
  • the HUGE variety of really inexpensive food
  • the HUGE variety of restaurants
  • how safe it is to walk everywhere any time of night/day
  • the amount of fun activities available within walking distance
  • walking
  • the reliability of public transportation
  • how inexpensive any form of transportation is
  • the different shopping districts
  • my apartment
  • Temples are on nearly on every block
  • the all-you-can-watch movie theater
  • the fact that I can pay ALL my bills in a single hour, every month
  • incredible customer service

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