When we started our lives in Taiwan, which were lived in the south, people traveling internationally generally entered and left by way of airports up north, first in Taipei, and after 1979 in Taoyuan. It was not uncommon for persons who resided in the south or on the east coast to spend a night in Taipei on the way in or out. If our departure was scheduled for afternoon or evening, we would leave “the same day”. However, when we had morning flights, we learned that the night in the hotel was worth avoiding an overnight bus ride of 4 to 6 hours. Upon arrival in the USA it was never more than a couple hours’ trip from airport to wherever we planned to spend our first night.
But the times have changed. We arrived before dawn today morning after a non-stop flight from Chicago. We’d been in the air for slightly more than 14 hours, and each of us probably slept for 6 or more of those. After breakfast in the airport and a 15 minute shuttle train ride to the high speed train station, we took a 95-minute ride to Tainan. Contrast that to the process of getting TO the our departure airport in America. We got to our local intercity bus station well ahead of the scheduled departure time printed on our tickets, then waited for an additional 40 minutes for the vehicle to arrive. We rode it for 4 hours, then spent another half hour in a taxi.
Now we’re dealing with jet lag, but it’s sunny and warm outside, and, besides, it’s Taiwan. These weeks will be wonderful.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.