Some people look so pulled together when they travel. I watch them walk through airports, dressed in outfits that look stylishly thrown together, carrying chic bags, and putting the rest of us to shame.
I typically end up looking like I tried too hard, or didn’t try at all. When I roll up into an airport, I’ve got no makeup on, and I’m generally in gym clothes, right down to the sports bra. Not because I plan on working out upon landing, or doing some quick squats at the terminal, but because sports bras are comfortable and workout wear doesn’t wrinkle. I typically spend the travel day dodging glances from others (“Yes, I showered. I just look like I didn’t.”). Just get me on the plane, where I can curl up into the window seat and disappear for the next however many hours until I’m ready to face the world at our next stop.
I feel like I deserve a t-shirt for surviving a 13 hr flight. We flew from LAX to Tokyo, then Tokyo to Taipei. I’ve learned to fly internationally without checking luggage. One day, when I’m feeling frisky, I’ll show you all how I packed 3 wks of travel into a carry-on for our Ireland trip. You’ll never check a bag again.
Not checking a bag makes mishaps less likely and allows us to walk off the plane and directly to our mode of transportation. After over 17 hours of planes & airports, however, yours truly forgot that she didn’t check a bag & stood for a minute or so at the baggage carousel, waiting for hers to come around. It wasn’t until I pointed to a small black bag and announced that I thought it looked like mine & my better half asked what I was doing, that I realized my brain had stopped working sometime between Japan & Taiwan. Onward, silly American.
Our amazing hotel had a car waiting for us (complete with hot towels, soothing music & beverages). The rest of the evening is a blur of dark hills and the lights of Taipei at night.
Today, we awoke well rested and ready to explore Taipei. The weather is cooler than I’d planned, but perfect for walking, so we trekked to Taipei 101, the 2nd tallest building in the world:
One of the things I should have done before leaving was practice using chopsticks. Either that, or pack a few plastic forks to keep for moments when I need them. Today was frustrating, to say the least. During lunch, I managed to drop the majority of the noodles from my soup onto the table (5 second rule), send a chopstick flying over my shoulder onto the floor (no 5 second rule), and gain the disapproval of the family seated next to us (as well as my husband, who is a chopstick champ). He promises me that I’ll be skilled by the end of this trip. For the safety of those around us, let’s hope so.
The food was good today. I’m a picky eater, so that’s saying a lot. We had lunch at Din Tai Fung and ate the following:
Steamed Pork Buns – Heaven on Earth
Shrimp Noodle Bowl – For advanced chopstickers only
Bitter Melon – This was labeled a “popular item,” but I can’t see why. I took one bite and was done.
Pork with Fried Rice- Great for beginner chopstickers with sharp teeth (I could have used a knife)
8 Flavor Sticky Rice- Surprisingly good!
Red Sticky Bean Rice Wrap – Good as well! Both this and the Sticky rice are considered desserts, and are similar. I probably should have ordered one or the other.
Steamed Sesame Buns – My favorite. I’m not sure what exactly is inside these, but sweet baby Jesus, they were awesome. They come in a mini version that probably would have been better for my chopstick skills.
We ordered WAY too much, but neither of us realized how big the steamed buns would be, or how large the soup and rice portions were going to be. The total bill for food that could have probably fed 4 people was a whopping 960 Taiwan Dollars, which equates to 30 U.S. Dollars. Loving that conversion rate! 😉
Tomorrow, we’re headed to Taroko Gorge, which is supposed to be lovely! More to come…