Wednesday, June 15, 2016

EER R&R: Taipei Part One

So this R&R ended up with some really serendipitous planning. It was postponed from February to March to April to accommodate other people's leave in my office, and then I wanted to be back before Eastern Easter so that other folks could take advantage of a four day weekend (plus if I was on R&R for those days I would have to take leave since they are local holidays). But then the week before I was leaving (on a Monday night after a work day), the Lebanese government declared a holiday on Monday. So... a three day weekend, three+ weeks of travel, and then a four day weekend for recovery. Best. Decision/Accident. Ever. I spent the three day weekend packing and planning and resting and playing with my cats and watching movies and then was able to actually shower and dress right before leaving for the airport. Never have I started a long journey quite so rested - it rocked.

I flew from Beirut to Dubai on Emirates, which was fine. I watched Sisters and something else I can't even remember right now. (I just Googled. It was The Good Dinosaur.) The flight into Dubai took off late, so I had a relatively short layover (albeit in the middle of the night) and was ready for sleep when the meal was over on the second leg, right after I finished Room. Then I slept most of the rest of the flight, waking only in time for a snack and some mindless television. I have this new contraption that I adore - I got it right before going to Germany last month (have I blogged about that yet? maybe by the time this post is uploaded...), and it works like magic. SOOOO much better than a regular travel neck pillow. Buy one. Now. I present - the J Pillow.

We landed a bit early in Taipei, and I made it through immigration, baggage claim, and customs pretty quickly. D was there to meet me (coming off her own four day weekend), and we took the bus into the city. Cheap, easy, quick. Her apartment is in a nice location and absolutely lovely. I settled in and then we took a walk around the neighborhood so I could see the neighborhood and find the metro. I wasn't hungry so we grabbed snacks from 7-11 or the equivalent and then gabbed until well past our bedtimes.

Wednesday I said I might go out and explore or I might just sleep. I just slept. It felt great. I've said this before, but jet lag sleep is some of my favorite sleep. I was up and showered and dressed by 1:00pm, and I revised EERs (the real ones) and caught up on emails until D got home at 3. We (predictably) gabbed for a few hours and then walked to Bei Fang (Northern Dumplings), a phenomenal local place nearby. Their dumplings, which were the equivalent of $3 for 10, were amazing. Hands down the best I've ever had. With some fried rice, it was a delicious and filling meal for $5. Tonight we gabbed a bit less and made it into our beds at a decent hour. Except I needed to be up at 4:00 to catch my taxi to the airport. And D insisted on making sure I got up. She's pretty amazing that way. I was up at 2:30 with a really sore throat, which I hoped was a reaction to the air pollution. Nope. It was, predictably, the beginning of a cold.

Anyway, I made it to the airport in plenty of time and checked in - painful because the luggage allowance online was NOT what they were saying at the airport, so I had to pay extra. I was miffed because I'd decided to bring more since the allowance was so generous, but now I faced paying on the way there AND the way back when I anticipated having even more stuff. Lesson learned for my Bali trip.

I had intended to grab a bite to eat at the airport, but I didn't realize there was nothing near my gate until it was too late. By this time I had been up for five hours with no food and an increasingly sore throat. A few gummy bears gave me some needed sugar, and once I had the meal on the plane I was able to take some Advil. I watched The Big Short on the plane. It was interesting and well-acted, but I still don't 100% understand the mortgage bundling and CDOs.

Perhaps making up for the luggage debacle, my seat was somehow business class. Except it definitely wasn't. I couldn't see farther back but am pretty sure the next section back had normal economy seats. I had a comfy seat, bottle holders, a foot rest and leg rest, and lots of armrest room. The section was pretty empty. But I know the flight didn't have a premium economy section since I asked (multiple times) during the luggage debacle. Plus the seat was allocated before I got to the airport when I checked in online. Weird. I will look for the way back.

And now, this is the end of Taipei part one. Up next - Bangkok!

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