|Our flight began around 3:00am after a LONG check-in process. The computer system for China Airlines was down, and all travelers had to be processed BY HAND! The agents were very patient, and were finally able to get our group processed (even with seats together) for our long eleven-hour flight. They explained that the outage was due to an earthquake that had occured a few hours earlier off the coast of China. It cut telecommunication cables on the ocean floor, resulting in an outage of internet service for several Asian countries.
The flight was a long eleven hours, and we all became tired of sitting at some point, and had to do some stretching. We did enjoy the individual movie screens, however, and were able to select from a long list of movies, games, news, or music. We calculated enough time to watch two movies, proceeded to make our #1 and #2 choice, and sat back to enjoy them. We must have calculated differently from the pilot, however, as we did not have enough time to finish our second movie. Oh, well. We will just have to rent that one later.
We landed in Taipei around 2:00pm and began peeling off our fleece jackets, as we were greeted with warmer temperatures. We were gathering at the end of the deboarding walkway to regroup our team, when Jay suddenely announced that he could not locate his passport. Everyone momentarily stopped breathing, then began to pray and help him search. After all of the group had gathered, and still no passport found, Terry and Jay reboarded the plane for a search. Within a few minutes they both returned WITH Jay's passport! We all were much relieved that we did not have to go through the process of reconstructing one for him. (I knew there was a good reason to wear those passport cases!)
The Taipei aiport was a brand-new building since Terry & Jocelyn had visited it two years ago. We were mesmorized by the the large windows with a view of the soft rain on all of the greenery and flowers. It was quite a change from the snow and 20-degree below zero weather that we had experienced when we first began our flight.
We walked through long hallways with moving sidewalks, and finally made our way to a tram to reach another terminal. We had a tram all to ourself, and Melanie entertained us with backward sumersaults on the hand-hold rings. We assured her that this talent would be very useful in the jungle!
After getting lost only once, we located our gate, and then split into smaller groups to explore the restaurants of Asian food, Duty-Free shops, and try our hand at shopping with the New Taiwan Dollar currency (currently at a 32-to-1 rate exchange of our US Dollar)during our three-hour layover.