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New Adventures in Asia

Quick stop in Taipei

all seasons in one day 68 °F

01 January 2019

Leaving USA

03 January 2019

Arriving Taipei

So here we go again. As the saying goes - for us, staying home is just not an option.

I've been asked where we get inspiration for our trips. Some locations have been on those wish lists we've had since we were young, others are places we've learned about from fellow travelers but this one was from Jim reading an article in one of those airline magazines. You know the ones in the pocket in back of the seat. This time we have Garuda Airlines to blame.

We were flying, to or from, Kalimantan (our Orangutan trip). It really doesn't matter - he read the article, absconded with the magazine and brought it home. The article was about Raja Ampat - an area of eastern Indonesia.

With this idea planted, he also talked with a couple fellow travelers who happen to be in the "industry" and both spoke highly about how absolutely beautiful this area is. That was all it took. It would be hard to get to, it would be sailing to and through islands which have few or no inhabitants and hardly anyone we knew had ever heard of it. Just Jim's type of place.

So here we are on New Year's Day 2019, we've rented our house for two months and we're on our way back to Indonesia. But...why Taipei you might ask??? We'd never been there - seemed like a good reason to us. We also found a good airfare on EVA Air and for just a little extra we could stay up to a three days on a layover.

Flights were Tucson to LAX on Southwest and then on to Taipei on EVA. We'd never flown EVA before but it got good reviews for safety and travel. Might as well give it a try. On the flight from LAX we booked in Premium Economy class. With Jim's long legs, for long flights we've decided to try and do that as much as we can. EVA's Premium Economy is very nice - good sized, comfortable seats, plenty of legroom and good service. Those 14 hours just flew by...well, at least it didn't seem quite so long.

We arrived at 0600 feeling fairly rested. Leaving the plane and heading towards Immigration we came upon a VERY long line of people. Ok, we thought, this will be quite the wait. Wrong!! The long line was for those who were transiting to other flights (they don't have to go through Immigration). Staying left, we continued to walk past this long line, being thankful that we weren't in it. Once we were past the line, we thought - this can't be....there are almost no people. Seemed a bit lonely. For Immigration, we were the 2nd in line, our bags were there when we got to the carousel. This never happens!! Now, off to the Metro. We took the train into town. ($150NT = abt $5USD). We got off at the Main Station and made our way to our hotel - Amando Inn. We arrived about 0800 - a quick trip, almost seemed too easy.

The Amando Inn had really good reviews and the price was good for Taipei. (abt $80USD). Aly greeted us with a big smile and got us signed in. We were prepared for our room not to be ready and it wasn't.. but we were given tickets for breakfast. The hotel works with a small cafe down the street. Breakfast was good - not really what we would call breakfast but good just the same. Jim had the "Chinese" breakfast (kind of hard to describe - think omelet wrapped in a tortilla chopped into slices, sliced pork and a tarot cake smothered in a bbq sauce) and I had the "American" breakfast (hamburger on a roll with a fried egg, lettuce, cucumbers and tomato)??? But they were pretty tasty and we just needed a little sustenance for the next few hours. After breakfast, off to find a SIM card for our cell and by 10am our room should be ready.

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The telcom store we were looking for was closed but Taipei was just starting to wake up. It was about 0900 and many stores were still closed. We'd learn that opposed to many Asian cities that rise very early - not Taipei. It seems to slowly open it's eyes about 10 ....or maybe 11...ish!

Passing a tea shop that was open and we wandered in and after attempts to ask questions of an older man and then a younger woman we were introduced to a young man who spoke English. We were able to taste a couple of different teas and chat with Chin (the owners son who, of course, learned English at Carnegie Mellon). He also let us know where there was a telcom store that should be open and again out wandering the streets of Taipei. With our brick of tea in hand, we headed past the President's Office Building where there was one lone protester standing in front of the entrance in front of the machine gun armed soldier silently holding his banner.

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On to the next corner and there it was - the telecom store and yes, it was open.

I have to say that so far Taipei has been an "easy" city. People have been incredibly helpful - from the young lady who got us going in the right direction in the train station, Aly behind the desk at our hotel, Chin at the tea store and now we were to meet Mickey - the young lady that made sure I had the best SIM for what we needed and that it worked correctly and that I could make calls to the USA if I needed......and all this before 11am. And her name English name was Mickey...because she likes Mickey Mouse.

SIM in phone and yes, working great (72 hours of service - $100NT for voice calls, unlimited internet for about $10USD)...and just as we're leaving I received a message (Whatsapp is big over here) that our room was ready, it was time to make our way back to the hotel.

We got settle in our very nice room and CRASHED!!!! Jet lag had caught up with us. Just a couple of hours of sleep to push through!!

Tonight the Shilin Night Market!!!!

Posted by pjburke 18:51 Archived in Taiwan

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