Saturday, March 13, 2004

Hanoi, Vietnam--Taipei, Taiwan--Day 43

Today it was off to Taiwan. I woke up this morning and felt better but not all together with it. I god breakfast in the hotel and felt pretty good but as I filled out some post cards and went back to my room to pack, I started feeling not so hot again. I wanted to go around the Old Quarter and take some pictures though so I made myself go out and walk around for a bit, but then went back to the hotel and caught a cyclo (which are really like glorified chairs with bikes attached to them so that your driver cycles around with you being pushed in the front) and he dropped me off in the Old Quarter where I headed over to the pagoda to take pictures, where unfortunately I realized that I had left my data cards in my hotel room, so I couldn’t take any pictures. Dang it. I picked up a few things in a shop nearby and by this time it was time for me to head back to catch my ride over to the airport at 11 o’clock. By the time I checked out it was 11:15 am and I realized that my plane was supposed to leave at 1 o’clock. Hmmm, I hope that we would have enough time and for the life of me I couldn’t remember just how long it took to get to the hotel from the airport when I was picked up, let alone where I was flying and where I was at that point. But we made it to the airport just fine. I checked in and was standing behind a man who definitely had personal space issues. He was practically on top of the man in front of him who was checking in, and obviously didn’t see the WAIT BEHIND THE RED LINE sign smack dab in front of his face. He had his ticket out and was resting his elbows on the ticket counter and it wasn’t even his turn. I almost wanted to say something but didn’t. After Personal Space Man checked in, I checked in with my 4 bags of carryon luggage (much to the dislike of the immigration security man) and waited for my flight to board to Taipei.

The flight was fine and it appeared that the woman next to me had never been on a flight before. She asked me to fasten her seatbelt for her (more gesturing than asking really) and I showed her how to use it. I was at the window and while we were taking off and landing she was practically on me this time looking out the window which I probably would have done too if it was my first time on a flight. I got up to immigration and guess who was behind me! Personal Space Man. He kept inching forward and forward (even though I wasn’t moving) and when I was next up I made sure that I stood very clearly BEHIND the red line, making myself as wide as possible to show him that this is where you are supposed to stand. Either he got the point or just paid attention to the rule this time and stayed behind the red line.

I was picked up at the airport and whisked back to the hotel where I checked in and had a little difficulty with the girl checking me in (she asked me about a zillion times if it was my first time at the hotel then loaded me up on free drink coupons and a free sauna--which could be interesting since women are supposed to go in the mornings and men in the afternoons…hmmm) and then I unloaded my stuff in my room and headed to find the closest bookstore to buy my guidebook and some recordable cds for the photos. I tried to get money out of the cash machine but had no luck, but was given receipts every time along with my card, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the amount hasn’t been subtracted from my account! I tried three times so who knows. I walked along and found the same store that I was in the Brazil called FMAC and picked up everything that I needed. I headed back to the hotel and had some dinner at the restaurant in the hotel and have feeling much, MUCH better that I was earlier today and yesterday. Now I am getting this ready for the zoo tomorrow!

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.