Monday, May 12, 2008

Here's the Not-So-Fun Stuff

We went to bed at 6 p.m. Taiwan time. At 1 a.m., we heard knocking at the door. Then the phone rang. Alia was running a temp (she was rooming with mom) of 101.1. Stuffy nose. Of course, you immediately worry. So the night was broken with checking her temp, giving her meds, and hoping it blows over soon. Her temp this morning is 100. We will get a mask for her today for meeting her sister. We are pretty stressed about this.

More later - with pics of Alivia and update on Alia!!
Hotel pool -chilly temp!

Rest of Day

After Taipei 101 and buying groceries for the hotel, Alia was worn out and took a nap. Todd and I went to the bottom of the Howard shopping and then down the street to SOGO, which we thought was a grocery store/WalMart combined. Boy, were we wrong! More shopping!! Nice shopping!! We found the thermos we needed for Alivia, headed back to the hotel, and basically crashed.


One thing we realized while unpacking - we didn't pick up Alia's baggage from the airport!!!! The staff arranged for it to be delivered for $11 US. Whew! So much for the 3 of us keeping track.

From our hotel, we took a taxi to Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world. You have to watch out for the taxis and drivers and mopeds in the streets at the crosswalks, so getting across the street was a little interesting. Part of Taipei 101 is shopping - 6 levels of shopping!!! The basement had the most marvelous laout of restaurants and a grocery. We were in heaven!! We had 2 different kinds of noodles and some fried rice for lunch - $4 US for 4 nice plate fulls! Well worth the trip just to see this clean, interesting market. Taipei 101 itself is pretty amazing. World's fastest elevator, too.

Tired - But No Sleep

Mr. Yeh got us safely to the hotel and ensured all was going well. So what next? Not supposed to sleep on account of jet lag, so we unpacked some. The Howard Plaza Hotel is pretty nice, actually. The rooms are just about the size of rooms in the States and the staff has bent over backwards to help us. No complaints yet, and the furniture is pretty nice, too. Beds not bad for comfort and the comforter (no sheets) is toasty warm!


What a long flight!!! Did I say what a long flight!!! We were at the top of the plane, which was pretty cool never having been in a 2-story plane before. Alia and Mom sat behind us. The seats were just a little bit roomier (leg room mainly) than any domestic flight. I hope we get a bulkhead for the way back or it will be hard. TVs in the headrest with lots of entertainment (games, movies, TV shows, flight tracking). We were served 2 meals - both delicious and plentiful. They wandered through the plane from time to time offering water and juices. Having bottled water on hand in our carry ons would have been very smart, though, and we just totally forgot to buy it at the airport (well, when you're walking a million miles, you know you can't remember everything!!). We slept some, but thought we'd slept more than we had, so time passed slowly.

We arrived in a beautiful airport. They stopped Alia to check her temp (more on that later), which was fine. We went smoothly and quickly through Immigration then Customs (had a small form to fill out for Immigration). When we left with our luggage, we didn't see Mr. Yeh, our driver, in the line of people waiting. After about 15 minutes, we asked someone how to use the pay phone and when we called, a phone nearby rang - it was Mr. Yeh. He speaks VERY little English but seems to be such a caring man (as we'd heard). The drive to Taipei was CRAZY with drivers just driving madly. From the air, we saw no yards but lots of planting plots. Little did we know that nearly ever stretch of land was planted with rice - between apartment buildings, factories, everywhere. Now that's a good use of land!

PICS: Mr. Yeh's taxi, rice patties, and pigs.

Airport and EVA Airways Pics



Journey to Alivia Begins

It has been almost a year to the day I last posted on this blog. This post is so much more advanced in the timeline phase, obviously, because we will be meeting Alivia today and enjoying our "Gotcha Day." Sometimes our journey seems to have taken forever and other times it has sped by while I was scrambling to catch up! It's 4 a.m. here in Taipei - 4 p.m. your time yesterday. A wonderful time for reflection on the last few days.

We received our notice that we were going to travel this past Tuesday or Wednesday (it blurs!!). Using the recommended travel agent, we (Todd, Alia, Mom & I) were on a flight out Saturday night. So here goes:

Orlando Airport - No problem. Loved having the updated car to get us there.

LAX - Hiked a million miles to EVA airline terminal (from United terminal 6 or 7 to terminal 4). Got lost a couple of times. Ate at McDonald's along the way. Every time we'd stop and ask for directions inside the building, they would tell us to outside down the sidewalk. It was a nice 70 degrees out in LA, great for being outside but when you're lugging heavy carry ons, walking is the last thing you want to do. We get to the EVA terminal 123 A & B and have about 3 hours to wait. Stretch our legs. Have 2 airport people drive up in the electric carts and take a massive amount of people with them, saying 15! Stretch our legs. Have the people return and take more passengers with them - "last of 15!" Not too many people there and thinking - wow, quiet flight. Go up to the terminal line closer to the time (it all snakes around and you can't see the podium), yup - where we need to be, get in the front of this line here - you'll be first in Economy class. More airport people - taking "15s" with them. Hmmmmmm......better question this. Find out, we are in the wrong place. They switched the terminal for departure after our arrival and didn't make a mass announcement. So we hustle to the correct terminal and there are 100s of people waiting. From there, we load onto buses like sardines (no kidding) and head to a remote terminal and then load our doubledecker EVA Airways plane. Finally!!