02CC3: Tiring Uneventful Travel Day

Taiwan Arrival

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 1199

Technically, this isn't my first trip to Taiwan. However, the last two times I had been in Taiwan, I had never left the airport as it was just an EVA Air layover. So this morning's arrival felt a little familiar until I actually got to leave the terminal proper.

Today's travel has been tiring more because we didn't get to sleep. A 06:00am flight means needing to be at the airport by around 02:00am, which really doesn't leave you a decent safety margin for a pre-flight nap. And the big O Bar Pride celebration on Saturday night meant that we had slept through most of Sunday morning and lost the extra time we could have used to finish packing before our last Pendragon RPG session for the month. We got through that game and covered all remaining packing activities in the hours before midnight including a last haircut before hailing a Grab to the airport.

Nothing really happens at NAIA after midnight given most of the shops (including Starbucks) tend to be closed. But we didn't really get to sleep either as terminal chairs are hardly known for comfort. Plus this is a big group trip, so the idle moments were broken by people arriving, others stepping away to look for food, and other variations on this theme. Then it's time to stay alert for announcements related to your flight while you listen to various ground staff struggle through pronouncing the complex names of foreign nationals who have not shown up at the gate.

The actual flight to Taiwan is painfully short. You can feel the aircraft crew rushing through meal service and clean-up in the scant time of the flight. They do their best to reassure passengers to take their time with their meals, but there's no denying that there simply isn't enough time for greater liberties. But beyond that, the flight was uneventful and we arrived in Taipei pretty much on time. We had no major issues at the airport in terms of immigration or getting our luggage. But our Klook-sourced airport transfer didn't quite work out and I had to book a different airport transfer instead.

We haven't done much. We had our hurried breakfast on the plan, a ridiculously noodle-heavy lunch, and a lighter snack-centric dinner. I had some work to do in the afternoon including a quick meeting, but then I got to spend some time exploring the immediate area with Tobie. No major shopping yet, but we did find a board game store within a block of our hotel and we've explored a number of the side streets as well. There's so much to see in the Ximending area alone that I don't think we'll really need to schedule more complex touristy things as just getting to know this neighborhood is already quite fulfilling. 

Thank you, Google Maps.

We have a big work summit for the next two days and Tobie will still be working from the hotel, so the full vacation mode will kick in later on. But that's fine - just being able to explore a new country together with Tobie even in the limited hours after work is already such a blessing. I have a really good feeling about this trip.