Taiwan Part 1-Wo shi ching chia po ren

With drizzling eyes, I left Schipol airport with a heavy heart. Leaving behind my loved ones and the lovely places that forever will etched in my heart.I hate goodbyes.I love people to fetch me but I hate people saying goodbyes.Im not good at it either.I hate the waterfalls that naturally fall as we say our goodbyes.I hate the heatiness and swallowing the sadness within my heart.But mainly I hate the part that I had to conceal all that to face the immigration counter.

Anyway,all good things must come to an end, right?Got to face reality.Alhamdulillah, things happened not as planned.When travelling, u need to keep an open mind and not stick to ur strict schedule cos anything can happen anytime.

One of the best time is now…Although it was sad to say goodbyes to the lovely memories, I am ready to make new ones and alhamdulillah, it was made possible with the generosity of Eva airlines. (thanks!)

When I first book this plane ticket, I chose the cheapest way and I disregard the transit points that I had to make (ok, the Bangkok stop was really unexpected) and although I knew I had to stay in Taiwan for 20hours stopover, I just shrug my shoulders and said ok.I guess I can loiter around or explore Taiwan’s airport even further or perhaps get a whole day non-stop massage (from that electronic chair).Or if I am too tired, I bet there should be a transit hotel or something, right? Praying matters is of no problem, because Taoyuan Airport has individual praying rooms for muslims and other religions.So…settle right?

But I guess, the future has more plans for me.It turn out that the airlines provide me with a one night free lodging at a certain hotel.Just few minutes away from the airport.Alhamdulillah! That reminds me of the free stay I had from Northwest airlines in Japan in May 2009 and the hotel was about 4 star! (previous post).And so this time though a bit sad, but also excited to explore the world futher…..Taiwan here I come.(Note: This is really,really unexpected…alhamdulilah)

Anyway,the same hassle and dassle of travelling.12hours to bangkok and then stop for 2 hours and then further 3-4hours to Taiwan.As usual, I asked for a window seat so that I can talk to the stars…(hee!).This time, the whole journey is about egg omelette. Previously in NW, I had the luxury of eating rice all the way…that I felt I had put on 2 kg after the 20+hr journey ride.hmm..

But alhamdulillah, Im not a fussy eater, if it can be eaten, I will eat it.Sometimes, I felt that the eggs tasted like plastic but I still eat it cos u never know when is the next meal gonna be.hmm..

One thing about Halal food is that u wont get any choice.What they give u is all u got.Unless u are with Muslim airlines like Malaysia airlines, Garuda and Airarabia,Brunei and many….or perhaps, u are going on a pilgrimage and the whole airplane is filled with muslims then perhaps,they have many choices.I had the luxury to try out variety of Muslim food in Singapore airlines to Jeddah.Alhamdulillah.

The first egg omelette (and more to come…).

Bacon salad and cut fruits

Beneath the tomato sauce is fish fillet..nice!Potatoes and spinach…

Anyway, all meals are accompanied by orange juice,tea/coffee, a bun with butter,yoghurt,salad and fruits.There was a point that I felt so muak/jerlak (nausea) of the many omelettes that I ate, I felt like throwing up.Perhaps its the high altitude or…its the plasticness taste.Hmm..anyway, all food are eaten and not wasted.

Ok,this trip back home, the taiwaneses stewardess is more friendly.They even provide us with what I call as “bedroom slippers”.I was the first to undress my Kipling boots cos I realised as u travelled mid air, it felt like the feet are expanding or something and shouting “I want out!!”.So dear neighbours pardon my smelly feet…hehe!

This time ,the flight has nice range of movies.I get to watch the Proposal (Im a lovestory ..feel good movie freak), the Terminator (oh,Christian Bale was there @ the premier when I was in Hollywood but ermm..I was Zzzz…and so that explains why I kept falling asleep although I tried watching the movie 2X in the plane.Hmm…)

My neighbours are a mommy (thai) and a lil boy (mix parentage of caucasian and thai).He is so good lookin!Quite well-behaved too.Anyhow,the mommy start talking to me in dutch that is when my reply was “ya…laugh…ya…laugh…ya” hehe!

Again my meal came early, and to the boy lil curiousity, he peep into my meals.But his mom has taught him well.He waited cos shortly after that, his meal came in.I dare not give him my food cos kids, u never know what they can or cannot eat.Furthermore ,there is sort of communication breakdown between his mom and me..

Anyway,our journey ends when the plane transit at Bangkok.Goodbye lil good lookin boy….

As I transit,they pass me this card to keep thru out my transit.Once I was in the toilet and I saw that someone has forgotten to bring it with them.As my thoughts were just forming,a knock came at the door.ERmm…this is awkward.Luckily she is able to converse in English.Cos my thai word that I know of is “Tom Yam”. (hee!) And so I slid the card beneath the door.I think perhaps, u are not allowed to be in the airport or board the plane if u lost the card, perhaps?
It was 2am in the morning. Although the eyes are kinda groggy, I noticed a prayer room for muslims.Alhamdulillah.

Eh,why is the pic lopsided?Hmm..I guess the camera has not woken up yet either..jetlagged…hehe!

Okay my last egg omelette meal before I reach Taiwan.No comments on the eggs.I am hungry thus it is delicious to me at that moment.

Before I head to the immigration, I had to go to the transit counter and report.And then they pass me this sticker for me to paste on my clothes so that the driver can recognise me.Im not sure whether driver of a van or bus.

I changed my money first before heading to the hotel. www.xe.com/ucc

1SGD=$20+ Taiwan Dollar (YIPEE! Im rich!! Erm..not really, their product prices here is quite comparable to home)

Travel tip/trick: As u exit from the arrival hall, do take these free maps at the counters.They are very useful expecially the MRT route Map (below).

If u noticed the map above, u can see Jerry Yan from F4 smiling from ear to ear.Grab that too! I am thankful (alhamdulillah) that I grew in the chinese community.I used to keep track of chinese songs and then whatever songs I like, my friends will write down the hanyu pinyin of that song so that I can sing along.My childhood friends used to talk to me in Chinese and I reply them in English thus my understanding of Mandarin improve along the way.But to actually speak the language, that is when this journey will test me.I realised that every knowledge is important and if you got the chance to learn new language, go ahead.U will never know when it will come in handy like my case.I wasnt even prepared to go to Taiwan.I thought I was just transiting.Alhamdulillah.Keep an open mind when u travel.

These are some of the chinese albums that I have during the teens…

Ok,as I exit the arrival hall.I dont see anyone calling out to me or with my name on a banner (hee!)And so I saw the sign saying transit hotel and I walked out to the exit and waited for the bus .I tried converse with the bus drivers there but they can only converse in Mandarin.Tongue tied for a moment.But anyhow, I found out that my hotel’s bus is not there.And so I went in to the counter and the lady called out my driver’s name from the loudspeaker. Hmm…

Ok, my driver is a small petite man , quite friendly in Mandarin.Somehow, this time, my tongue is more relaxed and we enjoyed our conversation very well.He was amazed by my Mandarin language (pheewit! U go girl!).Ok, this is rough conversation between him and me while we we walking to a big black mercedes (what?!! U got to be kidding me?!! Yeah u heard me right, I am a celebrity today…hehe!)

Ermm..dont mind my hanyu pinyin,its been a long time, I practised them..

The driver said something like I saw u coming out but u go to the different exit.

I said :Dui bu chi (sorry)

Driver:Where are u from?

Me:Wo shi Ching chia Po Ren (I am a Singaporean)

Driver:Is this ur first time here?


Driver: How long are u staying here?

Me:Start counting using my fingers… yi,er,san si…in the end I give up and said “ming tian” fly with a hand gesture that shows plane take off…

Then we reached the BIG MERCEDES!!!!Black with tinted windows, I tell u ,suddenly I felt like Beyonce *dreaming And the driver open the doors for me.I realised that most taxi drivers in Taiwan are very gentleman (not sure whether they want tips) but that sure make any lady feel great!

The internal furnishing of the car…everything leather…Im really excited, the last time I sat in this type of car is when I went to posh Banyan Tree in Bintan.Personal chaffeur.

Anyway, inside the car, the driver probe me again.He ask me why I have to wear the scarf.If people of my religion dont wear the scarf, is it allowed ?And whether the men have to wear them too… I gladly answer his curiousity with my meagre Mandarin words and some hand gestures. I wonder how will my hotel be? i dont want to raise my hopes that high.I am happy if it is not even a star,a 2 or 3 star will be great! But if 4 stars that is wickedly handsome! Anyhow,as long as there is a roof above my head…Im satisfied.Alhamdulillah…

And so the journey continues…(2 b continued…keep visiting this blog for updates ,ok?)

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