2019 tour travel blog

Tuesday 24th Sep

It is going to be a short “day” for us today, as this flight takes us over the date line. This first leg to Taipei we are flying in a Boeing 777-300, there is plenty of room, even in cattle class. We are given a blanket and pillow – we needed the blanket, the cabin was quite cool. The flight is not full, and we are invited to swap seats after take off, but many don’t wait, and there is a bit of musical chairs before take off. We don’t bother, but it seems strange to us, we are used to being told we must be in allocated seats for take off and landing. The rule of having window shades up for take off and landing is another that does not seem to apply to this airline either!

We get away on time and a meal is served soon after we take off. We have a choice of mains, Cynthea has the prawns with linguine, and Tony has pork stew on rice. Entrée was salmon and potato salad, with fresh fruit and chocolate fudge cake for dessert. And we had REAL cutlery! Drinks also served, complimentary beer, wine spirits included. We watch movies for the first part of the journey, Tony finishes the Xmen movie he started to watch on the Air Canada flight, and then watches John Wick 3. Cynthea watches Ice on Fire about global warming, MiB International, Long Shot and The Hustle. We manage about four hours sleep, quite a smooth flight. Sometime during the night, we cross the dateline…

Wednesday 25th September

Breakfast is served a couple of hours before we arrive in Taiwan, Cynthea has a Conger chicken, Tony gets an omelette, pork sausage and hash brown. We also have yoghurt and fresh fruit. Tony starts to watch MiB International, even though there is not enough time to finish it before we land, he figures we are travelling with the same outfit so they will have the same movies…

We arrive at 6am local time. Because we are in the middle of the plane we haven’t been able to see much out the windows. But now we are taxing we can see the airport around us. The plane turns off and it is strange to see that we are taxiing between buildings, that felt really, really strange.

It is a short walk to security, a bit more relaxed than other places. We have to empty our coffee and tea (drank ‘em), but they did not need laptops and liquids out of our bags, perhaps they had the new tech for screening?

For once there was not a route march to our gate. High end shops lined the way there though, not a lot in the way of food outlets, but all the Gucci, etc you wanted was there. Tony checked out the price of a new phone, a Samsung Note 10 was only NTD35,000 or NZ$1750. It stayed on the shelf. We realised we needed a couple of photos for the visas, and the ones we have are still in a sheet. So Tony takes off in search of a pair of scissors, thinking it will be difficult to find some, especially past security. As it happened, there was a pair at the information desk and they happily loaned them to him. Not sure what would have happened if he had walked off with them, but he would have been an easy one to find.

The gate for our flight was surprisingly basic and pretty dated looking. Old lino on the floor, and we had only two power sockets in the whole place. There was a machine that gave free water - cold, warm or boiling, so we could make a coffee or cuppa, as long as we supplied our own coffee or tea bags!

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