Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Arrival, Etc.

The first leg of the trip was predictably raucous.  There was a crowd of eight or nine drunk men sitting right in front of The Wife and I, but we sat next to a very sweet girl from Hong Kong who was on her way to a pool tournament.  They've started charging $2 for water and juice now, so I didn't get my habitual tomato juice.  Instead we watched parts of "Catch Me If You Can," which seemed to me a rather ironic movie to show on an airplane.

Having made the requisite trip through the world's most bizarre airport (Las Vegas - slot machines, bling, more bling, more machines), we had an uneventful flight to Las Angeles next to a very chatty Swedish woman who was subsequently very helpful in pointing us toward our gate at the end of the flight.  Once at the gate, we made friends with a Taiwanese gentleman traveling with his young son.  The son spoke some English, but was quite shy, and the gentleman was friendly and forthcoming and gave us his business card - he runs a women's clothing boutique in Taipei - and told us to call him sometime if we were in the area.

And then we started our long flight.  At some point my brain lost all contact with things like rational time and day and merely started operating on "We're going to Taiwan!!!"  The flight itself was the kind of convenient that Wilbur and Orville only ever dreamed of in their most secret hearts.  I read Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union and watched a couple of inflight movies.  The food was not horrible.  The stewards and stewardesses were friendly and helpful.  The sun rose just as we landed in Taipei, over a landscape that reminded me somehow of Scotland.  The airport was almost deserted.  Customs was a gentleman who spoke nary a word, merely stamped us "approved" and waved us through.  There was no line at the Nothing-to-Declare aisle.  A man manifested out of nowhere with our names handwritten on a sign.  He turned out to be a taxi driver employed by Kojen.  Here's The Wife being excited in the taxi.  Another gentleman met us at our temporary apartment, let us in, gave us our keys, and fled, leaving us with instructions to show up at the office tomorrow morning at 10, and very little idea of anything else.

We are housed (for now) with two other women, both of whom will be teaching in Kaohsiung.  One is leaving tomorrow, and the other arrived last night.  The Wife and I are well, and will shortly go shopping for such necessities as toilet paper, food, bugspray, and towels.  It is delightful to be here at last.

1 comment:

pickett said...

Throw your enthusiasm-mobile into cruise control, you're set. Enjoy.