Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Taiwan: Part 1

I'm now in Alpine, CA preparing to start play tomorrow in the WPBA San Diego Classic. I was a little too busy to blog while I was in Taiwan, so I will give everyone a quick recap of my trip...

Flying Out:

My husband, Harry, made the trip with me as this was, by far, the most interesting place that pool has ever sent me. We flew on China Airlines from LAX to Taipei (14 hours.) Luckily we had a row to ourselves and were able to sleep half the way there. Other than that, we watched some movies, did a lot of stretching and walking around and drank about 4 liters of water.

Funny thing about China Airlines...

What is the record of China Airlines?
Since 1970, there have been nine fatal events involving China Airlines. The three most recent China Airlines events involved the A300-600 and the MD11 and there were a total of more than 460 fatalities in the two events. The estimated fatal event rate for China Airlines is about 11.4 fatal events per million flights. This is more than triple the rate of most major airlines in North America and western Europe.

Yikes! My in-laws showed me that after I returned to LA. I'm glad I didn't see it before I left. No wonder the tickets were so cheap.

Arriving in Taipei:

For first time ever, I had a person at the airport waiting for me, holding a sign with my name on it. (Thanks, Mr. Tu, for making all our arrangements!) Harry and I were too disoriented to pay attention to too much, so we checked into the hotel as quickly as possible, only to find ourselves wide awake at 3 am.

Taiwan is a full 12 hours ahead of New York, so we had turned night into day and day into night. I didn't fully appreciate "Lost in Translation" when it came out, but maybe I need to watch it again.

Day 1:

Having slept through the complimentary hotel breakfast, we stuffed ourselves with a variety of steamed buns from the local bakery. Pretty much anything tastes good when surrounded by sweetened white bread: red bean and coconut paste; tuna fish salad; sweet potato. This same bakery had a tantalizing concoction called "Toast Pudding" which sadly I didn't get to try. I wanted to because it combines two of my favorite foods: toast and pudding.

After breakfast, we visited Taipei 101 - the world's tallest building.

We rode the world's fastest elevator up to the observatory and then back down and then we stumbled around the mega-mall (one of Taipei's many.) We gazed blankly at floor after floor of Western luxury goods (three times as expensive as in the U.S.,) trying to stay awake all day so that we would adjust to the time change.

It was raining very hard that night so we ended up at another mega-mall, the So-Go, for dinner at Din Tai Fung (which specializes in soup dumplings.) A very nice English-speaking stranger walked by as we were waiting to be seated and made some suggestions about what we should eat. By "made some suggestions" I mean "ordered our whole meal for us with little room for discussion." Luckily he had good taste and we had our best meal in Taiwan.

Day 2:

We headed out for a day trip to Wulai, to soak in the natural hot springs and eat indigenous foods.
Wulai is located about an hour and a half south of Taipei and can be reached by a combination of subway and bus (or in our case subway and psycho-taxi.) The subway in Taipei is much cleaner than the subway in New York, and we were less afraid when our fellow passengers struck up conversations with us. The 40-minute ride by bus took 10 minutes by taxi. The driver laughed when I looked for a non-existent seat belt and then he proceeded to pass every car on the winding two-lane mountain roads .

We had ourselves a good soak and afterwards we used pantomime to order lunch in a local restaurant. Our charades got us a wonderful meal of small fried fish, steamed glutinous rice filled with pork and tasty bamboo soup.

With my tournament activities scheduled to begin the next day, we headed back to Taipei. Back at the hotel I took a zombie nap and then had a massage. What a life!

More to come...


1 comment:


Bring me back a rock...