4.27.08 - 4.29.08
well i'm over half way there! i'm sitting at my gate in the taipei airport, waiting to board the plane which will take me to hanoi, vietnam! my flight from san fran to here was 13 hours... time felt so weirrrd. it was funny to get dinner on the flight when it was really only 4 am at home and then get breakfast when it was about 5:30 pm at home! the food wasn't bad, i tried this chinese porridge for breakfast, which was interesting. somehow i think my seat got changed before i checked in, because i ended up in the very last row of the plane. i did have an aisle seat however, and i ended up sitting with the nicest people. they were from taiwan, and were (from what i understood) among a group of about 25 on the flight who had been to california to study at a special buddhist temple in san francisco. Angela, the woman next to me, had some bad motion sickness in the beginning, but ended up being incredibly cheerful during the second half. we watched movies together, and laughed. she kept trying to convince me to come to taipei, saying you "pay less" in taipei than in vietnam and if i went to taipei, i could stay in her house. she also said i could teach her younger son english while he taught me chinese. i ended up in the middle of her and her good friend, Demos, because she felt better sitting in the aisle seat. they both gave me business cards with their skype names. Demos had bought about five vibrating back massagers at the airport and got them out near the end of the flight. it was hilarious giving each other back messages. i think Angela is still hoping i will stop in taiwan on my way back.
it was pouring rain in taipei when we landed. after sitting at the gate for a while, an older vietnamese-american man named Steven from california began talking to me. he's returning to vietnam for the first time since 1975. he wanted coffee, and invited me to get some with him. he bought me 5$ (!!) latte and was very nice. i tried asking him to teach me some vietnamese, but he interpreted my question as whether or not all the asians in the coffee shop were vietnamese and replied that "no, they japanese, korea, thailand." so i still know only about 3 expressions in vietnamese. later, i did quickly decline Steven's offer to join him in the smoking lounge, which was basically a little glass observatory filled with cigarette butts. to pass time, i took silly pictures of signs that said things like "please do not seat on this table."
i love you all back at home! next entry, i hope i'll be safe in vietnam!