It’s already the end of DAY 10 of this trip, and it’s the first time I’ve had a chance to write a blog post about the trip! Amazingly I only have gotten through 1 day of it; will try to catch up over the next few days!
I’ve been stressed-out getting ready for the trip; figuring that once I was finally on my way I would have no choice but to relax. This has been true, to some extent, though the pace of this visit has been much faster than usual because (1) there is a big family double-event involving the extended family on my father’s side and (2) there were two big “around Taiwan” trips planned. At least I got almost everything updated in my BIG TRAVEL CHECKLIST (above).
We boarded at the NEW LARGE AIRCRAFT terminal at Boston Logan airport, which I think might have been new. I don’t remember boarding here two years ago. According to the signs posted around the lounge, the NLA terminal is specifically designed to service the current generation of larger planes. Ours was on Cathay Pacific flight CX812, which was serviced by a Boeing 777-300ER. The economy section was thankfully a 3-3-3 seating arrangement; Cindy in the virtual coworking chat room mentioned that some of the flights were using 777s with a 3-4-3 arrangement that was very cramped. Our flight was not bad at all. The MEALS were rather disappointing, compared to previous flights on ALL NIPPON AIRLINES (Japan) and EVA AIR (Taiwan).
Arriving at HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 15.5 hours later, we had a few hours to kill. I had specifically booked Cathay Pacific because I wanted to show my sister the new Hong Kong Airport. While I prefer other airlines over Cathay Pacific, they at least use Hong Kong as the hub (as opposed to ANA’s rather lackluster hub airport). Also, Cathay Pacific’s flight times are much better for arriving and leaving Taiwan by myself.
While we were killing time at HKG, there was a CHEONGSAM (Chinese-style western dress) exhibit in the airport. I happened to catch one part of it, and my sister saw another part elsewhere in the airport.
There were examples of the prototype dress (essentially, a Chinese-style dress that was constructed with techniques from the West) and this neat MODERN DENIM VERSION (above left). There were other exhibits showing the most popular period in the 50s and 60s (above middle), and also the various tailoring instruments. This particular PATTERN MEASUREMENT FORM (above right) caught my eye, because I love forms.
Then it was time to find our departing flight gate. The departure gate was newly renovated (above right) since I’d last flown through Hong Kong, which was a nice upgrade from the crappy temporary one. And then it was short flight to Taiwan aboard a sweet AIRBUS 320 (below).
This was a totally cute little jet and I loved it.
Arriving in Taiwan, we bought DATA CARDS and went through Immigration and Customs. We took the new AIRPORT MRT subway to TAOYUAN STATION (above left) and transferred to the High Speed Rail to go to TAICHUNG.
While we were waiting for the train we checked out a nearby 7-11 which had a proud display of SQUID SNACKS (above left) that I found delightfully off-putting (I don’t like sea food, which makes me a really weird Taiwanese person). There were also several VENDING MACHINES but they didn’t take coins; perhaps the vending machines here all use digital payment cards now.
Dad picked us up (above right) at the TAICHUNG HSR station. He’s 90 years old, and I didn’t want him to take the bus all the way to Taipei just to meet us. I’d been doing to Taiwan every year for the past few years so I could learn how to do it myself.
You wouldn’t think Dad us 90 years old from the looks of him. His mind is still sharp, and he still moves around with great vigor. It’s pretty darned amazing. My sister gave him this commemorative desk sign so Dad won’t forget this important detail.
After that, it was around noon time, so it was off to my uncle’s house in the country. We had lunch at a nearby Japanese restaurant (this onion salad was amazing, above left). We also stopped by a 7-11 to pickup supplies, because we would be at my uncle’s house for several days by ourselves while the family prepared for the BIG 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION. I took particular interest in the ICE CREAM varieties (above middle+right), but didn’t get anything.
There’s a lot to catch up with! I’ll try to get them all out over the next week…wish me luck!