The long trip home

Trip Start Apr 26, 2008
Trip End May 09, 2008

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Where I stayed
My own bed

Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Saturday, May 10, 2008

I couldn't sleep. I am not a morning person, so settling down to snooze when I know I need to get up early is not easy for me. We were scheduled to meet Dr Wu and his assistants at 6:15a to begin our journey home. I arrived down stairs in the lobby at 6:10a to find Dr Wu there. I'm not sure why this surprised me, he is always on time. A minute later Melinda joined us. Dr Wu would not be joining us on our trip to the TPE airport because he had many things to do today. David, Alan, and Patrick would be taking us to the airport. Patrick and David arrived, and it turned out Alan overslept and he would not be joining us.

We said "good bye" and "thank you" many times to Dr Wu before piling in the van for the trip to the Tainan HSR station. I will miss the buzz and bustle of Tainan, but for now I really want to get home.

It doesn't take long to get to the HSR and 30 mins later we are waiting on the platform for it's arrival. It is barely 7am already it is 80 degrees. If the clouds stay away, it will be a hot and sticky day. As always, the train is on perfect time. I relish these train rides. I desperately wish the US would come up with an equivalent. Our 1 hour 20 min ride is completed too quickly for my liking, but soon we are exiting the train and moving off the platform to find our hired car. A brief 10 min ride and we are at the airport. Our plane leaves at noon and it is barely past 9:30am. Our plane is on-time and present at the gate according to the United agent. Hooray!

David and Patrick were gracious hosts to the end. They refused to just drop us off at the curb or leave us at baggage check in. Instead they walked us all the way to security before finally departing. I was sad to see them go.

Security did not seem as thorough as that in the US, but my judgment may be clouded by the lack of a line that allowed us to zip through the process in no time at all. Once through security, Melinda and I did a little bit of airport shopping and settled down, waiting to board our flight. The boarding process was a bit different than I'm used to. We were flying on a Boeing 777, which is a big plane. They called first class and business class first, then general boarding, so of course, the 300 people sitting in coach all slammed into line at once. It took us a good 10 minutes to make our way through the cue to get to the ticket agent.

Once on the plane, we made our way to our seats near the back and mentally steeled ourselves for an 11 hour flight (thank GOD for an east going tail wind that cut over 3 hours off our flight). As the plan hurtled down the runway and into the sky I felt wistful that I was leaving this beautiful country with it's friendly people. There was so much more that I would have liked to have seen, but what I did experience I will remember for a long time. Someday I will bring my family back to visit.
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