Taipei, Taiwan: I hope you weren't expecting us to fly back to the US this morning. We miss our grandkids like mad, but decided if we were flying all the way to China for the World Championships, we may as well pop down to revisit our old home country of Taiwan, where we lived for several years in the mid-1980's.
We aren't getting any younger.
We took a shuttle bus from our Beijing hotel to Beijing International and flew to Taipei on China Airlines (a Taiwanese airline). The airport was well organized today and had special lines to accommodate "IAAF World Championship" visitors. This was great, but they were confiscating everyone's portable mobile chargers like it was their job... as in "give us your portable phone chargers - NOW!) I was so angry, having flown all over the world with my little Jackery lipstick-sized charger with no issue at all ever. Sad thing was the evil woman was taking chargers given to athletes as official gifts during their stay in Beijing. The officer said I could keep my charger if I would tell her how many hours it would charge. I said it would charge for one hour. She said she needed to see it in writing. I had to google this information on my phone as none of the British team (suffering with me) had a VPN on their phone (I DID!!!) and could not get behind the Chinese government's firewall (I COULD!!!). I found the information in 15 seconds and told the agent my result. She said she could accept information found on the internet, I had to "know" the information. I told her I knew it would last one hour. She asked me to give her my charger. I told her again, in Mandarin Chinese, it would last one hour. No. It had to be written down. She took our chargers. Someone please explain this to me, as it clearly states on their official website that my portable cell phone charger is allowed. It seemed the officer just wanted to be mean to the athletes.
I was never so happy to get out of a country.
... and this 747 ready to take us to Taiwan. Our flight was not even half-full. So relaxing. Champagne. A Caprese salad. Where were we?
When we arrived into Taipei, the immigration official asked the reason for our visit. I told her we used to live here in the 80's. She gave me a huge smile and said, "Welcome Home". I thought I would cry. A few minutes later we were in a fancy BMW car provided by the hotel and were carried into Taipei in style. The car came equipped with wifi. Wifi! No VPN required. Taiwan is a free country.
After ten days in a dirty smoky twin-bed room in Beijing we checked into a hotel that was more Las Vegas than the Taipei we used to know.
(because there were hundreds of blossoms in the lobby) A whole new world
Our room had a King bed! No one had ever smoked in the room. Wifi with lightning speed. No firewall. No spy lurking to see where we are surfing. Facebook not blocked. Toilet paper that is soft, not like sandpaper. You can brush your teeth with water from the tap.Fancy... and the most interesting part? This hotel room is the same price as the jacked-up-world-championship-price room we had in Beijing. The view from our hotel room in Taipei
Did I mention we have a full-on view of Taipei 101?
We had planned to go out for Taiwanese noodle soup. We had planned to walk around and reacquaint ourselves with downtown Taipei. But it was pouring. We went into the hotel bar for a cocktail (my first martini in about two weeks, and it was totally proper) and decided to just stay in and call it an early night. We are tired after nine days of track and field.
Tomorrow we revisit our past. Stay tuned.
Until my next update, I remain, your Taipei correspondent.
NOTE TO READERS: There will be no September newsletter. Thank you for understanding.