Another day. Another Christmas. Another island country. Taiwan. The current President of Taiwan is Tsai Ing-wen: an unmarried *gasp* woman. With a population of 23.5 million, Taiwan is one of the four Asian Tigers: along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore. Before the 17th century, Taiwan was mostly inhabited by Taiwanese Aboriginals. All that changed when the Spanish and Dutch colonies opened up the island to immigration from Mainland China.
And then a whole bunch of other things happened that I don’t want to get into. I’ll save my history lesson for some other time. Anyways, here’s how I got here from Tokyo.
1) The Narita Express Train
I tried to get a flight out from Haneda, which is much closer to Yokohama, and simply couldn’t. Most domestic-ish flights fly out of Narita, so I had no choice. Thankfully, there’s a train from my home station that goes straight to Narita Airport. It’s a little pricey, but what the heck. I’m on holiday. The last thing I want to do is stress myself out by worrying about buses and traffic as well as train transfers at Tokyo Station while having to hustle with people.
And who doesn’t love legroom?
2) A delayed Delta Airlines flight
What’s the point of paying for a full service carrier when the plane is an hour late? If I had known, I would have booked budget. The whole point was to get to Taoyuan Airport early enough so I could take public transport to my hotel. But with an arrival time of 10pm, a cab it is. Thankfully it isn’t all that exorbitant. The taxis that arrive at Taoyuan are also metered and haggling isn’t quite allowed (not the case in other places). I paid TW$1100 (US$35) for the cab ride from the airport to the hotel.
3) The taxi ride
All in all, I’m excited to be here. First impressions: Taipei reminds me of Singapore 20 years ago. I almost feel like I’m back home. It’s time to retire my Japanese language skills, and brush up on an old childhood favourite: Mandarin. My partner in crime is still at work (Japanese work hours are legendary), but will be here in time for Christmas Dinner. I’m stoked.
Happy holidays, everyone. Our Christmas Dinner is going to be one unconventional meal.
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