As the jet touched down on a warm, steamy night in Taipei my excitement was about to spill over onto the passengers next to me. International travel never fails to give me enough persuasive reasons for getting excited, but traveling to a country for the first time puts the exclamation point on excitement! Indeed, this was not only a new country but a new continent for me, and I just couldn’t wait to step on Asian ground for the very first time.
I should disclose that before my TravBuddy days Asia had not been on my ‘must-see’ list.
Yes, shame on me! But I’ve redeemed myself since then. After a long and fruitful comradeship with several Asian TravBuddies the Far East catapulted to the top of my dream destinations. And when my American TB friends (Brett & Erin, aka metsbwd & poohstanggt) moved to Taipei Taiwan this year it was all the incentive I needed to turn the dream into reality. They opened up their home to me and even came to pick me up at the airport.
At the airport arrivals, looking for Brett and Erin.
So….as I completed my Customs obligations and collected my luggage I was somewhat in disagreement with a statement Erin had made that I might be surprised of how small the airport (Taipei Chiang Kai Shek) was. Actually, it looked pretty damn big to me! And it was big enough that it took a while for us to find one another. But find each other we did, and it was good to see familiar faces. The last time I had seen them was during the NYE meet-up in Amsterdam.
Incidentally, this is Erin’s and mine third continent that we’ve met and been on together (we’re real proud of that! ha-ha).
James and Brett at the airport
The drive back to the apartment took around a half hour, give or take a few minutes since we also drove by Brett’s building where he worked before going home. The one thing I kept looking for as we approached the city was the Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building…at least until the skyscraper in Dubai takes that title later this summer. There are really only two tall buildings in Taipei (the other I can’t remember the name as I write this) and they aren’t in close proximity to each other. It took me a day or two to figure out which one was the 101. Soon we would be going up in it, but that’s a story for another entry. Two things I learned on our drive are that Taipei is loaded with motor scooters and 7/11s! I’m not sure which has more, though!
When we walked into the apartment I was totally impressed; very nice and spacious apartment. I was given a quick tour, shown to my bedroom to stow away my luggage (I had a pick between two bedrooms), and then we sat down to some infused tequila shots and began discussing our plans for the next few days. Of course, I also had to get out the laptop and update my current location on TB!!!!