|I looked so enthusiastic about traveling, right?|
You know, I've been on many flights to several places over the years. To Beijing, London, San Francisco, Chicago. Some were long, some were turbulent, some were delayed for hours and hours (like my flight to New York three years ago). But none of them - not one of them - were as torturous as my flights to Taiwan!
|These shoes were made for travelin'|
Before I get to my flights, I suppose it's pertinent to talk about my experience checking-in at Houston. I got there around 8 o'clock, and checking in my bags was rather simple because I had already paid online the day before for my extra luggage. I flew
Continental - United - throughout, so I had to deal with their baggage fees. One checked-in luggage was allowed for free, a second for $70 (about NT2,100). As I said in a previous post, they both had to be 50lbs (about 23kg) or else more fees would be applied.
After I checked in my luggage, I spent about 30 minutes with my parents before I said goodbye and went on to security. It wasn't a tear-jerking goodbye at all, not that I won't miss them! We all knew that I'll visit during the next summer and I had already made a personal resolution to myself that I wouldn't cry (although I suppose it's no longer very personal because I just told you!)
Security wasn't that bad at all. They had several lanes open and since I knew where I'd put all my electronics and liquids it wasn't much of a hassle to get my belongings through security. However, I was irritated that everyone was made to go through the x-ray scanner.
Anyway, after I got through security I only had a 30-minute wait before boarding my first flight.
Houston (Bush Intercontinental - IAH) -> Tokyo (Narita - NRT)
For my first, longer flight, I had the misfortune of getting the window seat. Not only that, but I sat next to one of the largest people on the flight! So, a large part of that gentleman's arm leaked over to my seat for a large portion of the flight. In addition, I had both my large backpack and my purse by my feet during the flight so a lot of my leg space was taken. I'm taller than the average girl (5'7") so I was greatly irritated by that!
My uncomfortable situation along with my renewed nervousness about leaving home made my first flight so miserable. I think the only bright side was the food - it was actually quite good. The first meal included rice, chicken, and pickled veggies, and I choose gyoza and soba noodles for brunch (versus the American selection of an omelet and fruit).
Alas, I have no pictures of the food because I didn't feel like taking any! Besides eating, I slept during most of the flight. No, I didn't even watch a movie, although judging by what the woman in front of me was watching, there was a film on-board that had Ikuta Toma in it. Still, I was in such a sour mood that I didn't feel like tuning in.
Finally, during the afternoon (Japan time) we arrived in Tokyo!
|The view from my plane after landing at Narita airport.|
This picked up my spirits a little.
When I got off the plane in Japan, I had to make a short trip through security ( a lot more lax compared to how it is in the States), then I made my way to my gate. A pair of really nice Taiwanese ladies helped me find the right gate. I found out, after arriving there, that I would have a 4.5 hour wait for my next flight, an hour longer than expected. It turned out that my flight to Taiwan got delayed due to the pair of typhoons (Tembin & Bolaven) that were circling south and north of Taiwan, respectively. Luckily, my flight was not canceled. A flight to Incheon, South Korea was.
My long wait gave me an opportunity to explore Narita airport a little...but I didn't. I was so sick and tired of traveling that I decided to hunker-down at my gate, use the Internet, and read a book. (I'm so lame, right?)
Tokyo (Narita - NRT) -> Taoyuan (Taoyuan International Airport - TPE)
By the time I took my seat, I was tired. Honestly, I don't know why though, I had slept for most of my first flight. Either way, I was quite fatigued. The good thing though was that I was able to store both my carry-on luggage and backpack overhead so I had adequate leg-room. Also, I had an aisle seat, woohoo!
I ended up sleeping for most of this flight as well (and nearly missed the meal because of that) so it wasn't a very eventful flight. It got a pretty uncomfortable when we started to experience all the turbulence though caused by, I assume, the typhoons. At least we made it to Taiwan in one piece, although we were late.
I landed in Taoyuan Airport, which is a little ways outside of Taipei. I needed to get to Danshui which is a district in New Taipei (the city that surrounds Taipei). It's about an hour from the airport, so after I went through immigration and got my luggages I still had quite the journey. Thankfully, one of the two Taiwanese ladies I'd met before in Narita let me use her phone to call a friend of a friend who came all the way from Danshui to pick me up! I am forever grateful and in debt to them as they also helped me find a great apartment which I have been settled into since the first night I've been in Taiwan.
Being able to travel halfway across the world and then ensconce myself into a home was more than I could ever ask for.