Monday, June 13, 2005

Singapore Airlines CKS Lounge

Whew� I did finally make it to CKS Airport. It rained pretty heavily all the way up from Tainan to Taichung and I was getting worried that I wouldn�t get to the airport on time. The entire bus ride took about 5 hours total, including a 20 minute wait outside in a rest stop. The bus company I rode on had a �transit center� in a large rest stop and people got off different buses to catch the shuttle to CKS. The total bus ticket was only NT$330 which is slightly over $10. I guess that�s pretty cheap; my 30 minute Metrolink ride from Fullerton to Irvine costs me $5.50 each way.

Another bus like the one I took from Tainan to CKS Airport

Now I�m sitting in the Singapore Airlines lounge at CKS Airport. This is the first time I�ve been in an airport VIP lounge; we didn�t go to the EVA Air one in LAX since they wouldn�t let both of us in on one pass. The lounge is pretty nice. There is nice furniture, a self-serve food section with snacks and drinks, and the bathroom is really clean. There is also a shower and cubicles with PCs for people to use. I have about 20 minutes before my flight boards so I�ll try to recap my 3rd day in Taiwan.

After picking up Kevin and Shirley�s mom (we were about an hour late), we drove south towards Tainan. There are two highways that run north-south along the western coast of Taiwan; we spent most of the time on the newer highway. About every � hour, we would need to pay a NT$40 toll. Other than that, the traffic flowed really well once we left Taipei/Taoyuan. We also stopped at several different rest stops to use the restroom and get some food to eat. Did I mention that food is really cheap in Taiwan? At the first rest stop, we bought some snacks on wooden skewers, stuff like fish balls, tempura, and blood cake. Each stick was only NT$15! I took a picture of Shirley at the store since I don�t remember seeing anything like that before. At the larger rest stops, they had the same stores and a lot more, including food courts with more cheap food. My lunch was wonton noodles for NT$75 which was pretty good but a little greasy.

Along the way, Shirley�s dad stopped at the town where he grew up (Nantou, I think) and drove us around. It was a lot different from Taipei since it was still pretty rural; he even stopped next to a rice field and I took some still-green rice kernels. A lot of his brothers and sisters still live in the same area. I think it was about 4pm when we finally got into Tainan. It was a lot bigger and more crowded than I had imagined. The traffic was even more crazy than what I saw in Taipei; there is definitely no way that I can drive in Taiwan! We drove around the city for about an hour and saw all the schools Shirley went to when they still lived in Tainan and we drove by my father-in-law�s dental clinic (the sign says �Liao Dentist Clinic� in English). We then checked into our hotel for the night� a really really nice hotel and later had dinner with Shirley�s grandpa and uncle on her mom�s side.

Rice paddies

View of Tainan skyline outside our hotel room

Wow, the lounge cleared out fast. I think my flight to Singapore boards in 2 minutes. I�m not sure why people are rushing to board, especially if they�re in business class. Oh well, I guess I�d better join the stampede.

1 comment:

closetmusician said...

Taipei is great! If you have some time at the end you have to explore it w/ Shirley. Go to Danshui, it's really beautiful at dusk/night, and it's cooler than the city because of the sea breeze.

Washi St. has the famous snake soups, so you should try that. Though I have to say the blood didn't taste like real blood. Hmm, what else. There are lots of clubs/bars on Anhe road, but you probably wouldn't be into that.

Go to the National Palace museum if you can. I've also heard the weekend jade/pottery market is really fun, I think it's under one of the freeways, you'll have to ask. Guanghua square should still have all the electronics, check it out. And you can bargain in Chinese too!

Oh yeah, go to Din Tai Feng for some really, really good Shanghainese shao long bao. That stuff was hella good, we stuffed ourselves silly there.

Wow, Taipei. So much to do. I think it's changed a lot for the better since I left, I'm really proud of it actually. MTR + cab basically will get you anywhere you want in Taipei really cheap, definitely take advantage of it.