What a day! I started off by saying things could go pretty bad or pretty good. I think we have had a little of both. We had our bags loaded and our friend Kelly took us to the airport and we arrived 2 hours early. After she was a good ways away I called to ask her to come back. We were told that we could not carry our two carry-on bags on and that we would have to check them. Then they told us that we were over weight and would need to pay a lot. So much I considered buying Grace her own plane ticket. $1497. WOW! We pulled the car seat back and thought about leaving it behind. That would have left us at around $1000 overweight. So we then emptied an entire carry-on into other bags. That put us around $800. We asked if we could just buy Grace a seat and then have that extra weight and take her car seat on the plane with us which evidently was a bad thing to ask. They just went on about how this big pink thing would never be allowed on a plane even if she had a seat. It took them a very LONG time until we convinced them it was a child safety seat which is allowed on a plane. After standing at the counter, re-packing several bags , and a bit of arguing they said they would re-check and told us to go away. A few minutes later they came back and said OK, no charge AND you can check another bag! WHAT? We ended up throwing some more stuff in the carry-on we had emptied that was not allowed to be a carry-on because the lady kept picking it up and saying we could check it and we had to keep telling her it was empty or she would have checked it before we could get anything else in it. I think they weighed our bags a hundred times before we made it out of there. Then we headed to security, where things were only a little smoother. They wanted to search all of our bags because of the food I had packed for Grace. They really examined her diaper cream to make sure it was OK to take on the plane. I think they pulled all of Grace’s toys out of the bag and put them through the x-ray machine again. But, after over an hour (good thing we had plenty of time!) we were finally ready to board our plane!
Grace has been really great all day. She was so tired and hungry and just wanted to get down and run while we were going through the whole debacle. But as soon as the plane was in the air she was asleep! We ended up waking her right before we landed to feed her since the flight attendant had put her little dinner in coffee cups when we asked if she could heat it and she wouldn’t have it later since we couldn’t take the cups with us and it was past her lunch time.
Then we landed in Taipei (which is where we are now) and everything has been smooth sailing since! We made it through customs after being stopped by every single airport worker we passed guiding us in the direction we needed to go. We walked to the tourist service desk and before we were even there we had people coming up to us asking if we need a taxi or trying to sell us something else. It was kind of crazy! But we ended up finding (or rather we were found) by a company that would give us a half-day tour of Taipei for $100. We had our own driver and we rode in a Mercedes which was very plush and roomy. We would get dropped off at one place with a phone card and we just called when we were ready and the driver would come and pick us up. It was so nice not having to carry our bags all over the place. Taipei is a nice city but one thing is for sure, I would NEVER want to drive here! The roads are big and I think lane markers (stripes on the road) are just suggestions. People cut all different directions in the middle of intersections. It was CRAZY! And we ended up “embracing the Asian culture” (go ahead and laugh at me, Kelly!) and just buckled Grace in the back seat with us.
Our first stop was the National Palace Museum. I think Dustin really enjoyed the history and artifacts. Grace enjoyed being able to finally stretch her legs a bit! Then we headed back to the car and went to the Taipei 101. I think this was my favorite stop of the day. It is basically a HUGE mall!! But the stores were all way too expensive for my taste. It is probably a good thing or we would have never made it out of there! We went to the top of the tower and enjoyed some chocolate Gelato that we paid $160 for, that is New Taiwanese Dollars Then back to the car for one more stop. This time it was the Shiang Kai Shek Memorial. It was really nice being able to get out of the airport, walk around the memorial, and get some fresh air! Now we are sitting here (well, Grace never really sits!) waiting for our flight to Sydney.
I have some pictures that I was planning on posting but the camera is about 4 gates down with all of our stuff and I don't get internet there. Maybe after Grace goes to sleep (we are trying to be optimistic here!) then I will come back and post the pictures