Being back in Philadelphia, jet-lagging, and no longer surrounded by the tasty foods of Taiwan, the time to share pictures and whatnot has arrived.
My flight was astoundingly long - something like eight hours to Anchorage, Alaska and then ten to Taipei, Taiwan. Prior to that I had hopped a shuttle bus in Philly Chinatown to JFK outside of New York, so add another three (the shuttle had diversions, plus traffic) hours to the trip. In a happy twist of fate my cat-anxiety had kept me awake the night before leaving, so as soon as I hit the air-conditioned, mechanical hum of the airplane insides, I was asleep.
I flew China Airlines, which served the strangest Eastern/Western hybrid airplane food and showed the most awful movies imaginable. There were no individualized movies screens, so everyone was subjected to the awfulness of that Jennifer Aniston/Gerard Butler picture, the one where she has to go to jail, and he arrests her, but they're in love! (Blah.) One of the Free Willy movies. Some recent Meg Ryan flick, where she had duct taped her husband (?) to a toilet and then proceeded to scream at him and act the lunatic. At least this is what I saw when I groggily opened my eyes, peering around, hoping for some water and permission to stretch out along the aisles of the plane.
On the plus side I had the window seat and thusly got to watch nighttime New York, two massive night-time glowing cities somewhere in northeast Asia, and two sunrises: one outside Anchorage and the other someplace over the Pacific. Also - breakfast before we landed in Taipei was a Gigantic Hot Pocket.
Taiwan. Formerly known as Formosa. Thanks for the swell photo, NASA.
I moved right through Customs, where my answer to the question "where are you staying while in Taiwan?" was the extremely vague "w/ a friend." Multiple red and blue stamps later, I was crouched exhausted onto the floor next to the luggage conveyor belt, waiting for my suitcase to arrive. I didn't even have the heart to photograph the large comical sign welcoming visitors to Taiwan: four heavily made-up young men, of the boy-band variety, along with what Liang informs me is the current Taiwanese tourism slogan. Taiwan. Touch Your Heart.
Then I saw this:
Quarantine beagles! Always on duty! Nobly pictured on the sign!
It was then that I fully realized how awesome of a time it was going to be, there in Taiwan (touch your heart).
My suitcase arrived and I trundled out of the secure zone, where Liang and family were waiting! For me, but also for Liang's misdirected suitcase, which instead of arriving the morning before with Liang, arrived with me.
From there were headed south to Liang's hometown of Taichung, a city located along the western half of Taiwan, pretty much in the middle of the island.
OMG we stopped at a rest stop and it was amazing! Clean! Friendly! Full of tasty-looking streetmeat food vendors! And a fab convenience store!
Where they sold cubes of cubic pastry!