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Published: November 15th 2017
Wow...so it was a long trip getting here! My flight out of Nashville on Friday morning was at 6am so I left the house at 3. My sister, Stacie, came with me to the airport (she should be nominated for angel status for this) because when I got to the airport I had 3 large suitcases, a small carryon suitcase, and my laptop bag...and I had to return the rental car first lol. So I dropped her off at the curb, helped her wheel my bags inside the sliding doors, and she sat with them all inside the airport while I returned the car. Once I got back to her I checked in for my flight. The whole reason I booked Air Canada for this flight is because I knew I would have extra bags and I saw on their luggage policy online that active duty and retired US and Canadian military get three 70lb bags free of charge, instead of the standard two 50lb bags. Well, they didn't lie! Even with my spouse retiree ID I didn't have to pay any luggage fees! Matt was pretty impressed when I told him 😊
I made it through security in the blink of an eye (thank you TSA Pre-check for not making me take my laptop and the desktop computer in my carryon out of my bags to go through security) and was third in line for Starbucks waiting for them to open at 4:30 lol. I had a two hour flight from Nashville to Toronto and was planning on sleeping on the plane, but still needed to stay awake long enough to hear the boarding call, hence the coffee lol.
I don't remember much about that flight except I fell asleep before we took off and woke up with enough time to fill out the Canadian immigration card before we landed. Even though I only had an hour layover in Toronto I still had to go through immigration control, which is good to know for the future. I only had an hour layover and that could have gone very badly if the line had been backed up. Nashville was about 50 degrees or so when I left...there was snow on the ground in Toronto and it was below freezing. AND we deplaned right onto the tarmac! I was definitely awake lol.
My next flight was HUGE plane. I was row 61 and near the back of the plane. I had a window seat with only one other seat next to me, which I planned on purpose. This was a 15 hour flight and I didn't want to ask too many people to get up because I need to stretch my legs or use the bathroom. He was a nice older Asian man who spoke very limited English but I'm fairly certain he was from Thailand. Or going to Thailand. Something about Thailand lol. So, here is where I need to put in a plug for my new travel pillow. IT. WAS. AWESOME! It's called Face Cradle and I saw it on Kickstarter a couple of years ago, but now it's available on Amazon. It was $60 and was seriously the best sleep I've had on a plane. It's not as good as a bed or probably even first class, not that I would know what that's like, but for economy, it was pretty great. Here's the website https://www.facecradle.com/. I liked the forward facing position with my face straight down, like when you're on a massage table. I didn't care if I looked stupid because I was comfortable and asleep 😊 I slept until about 7am Taiwan time and then made myself stay awake. I don't really have an internal clock, which is a blessing when I'm changing time zones like this. My flight into Taichung was arriving at 9:30pm so as long as I was good and tired and could go to bed when I got there I knew I'd fall right into a normal schedule. The flight was uneventful, as all good flights should be. I watched TV, read, snacked, and drank coffee, and before I knew it we were landing in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong doesn't make you go through immigration if you just have a layover but you do have to go through security again to get to your connecting flight gate, so don't buy anything duty free pre-security. I don't know if they have anything in place to help you get that brand new bottle of perfume or liquor through security, but it's definitely over 3oz and they might confiscate it. There's duty free on the other side of security too, as well as a ton of shops, mostly high-end brand names (Prada, Rolex, etc.). I had a 5 hour layover in Hong Kong so I messaged with Matt, ate a sandwich and read while I waited.
My next flight wasn't Air Canada but Cathay Dragon. What's impressive about this flight is that it was only 90 minutes but they fed us...real food! It was pork rice, tea, juice, and a cookie. There were no food choices but for a cheap 90 minute flight I was surprised I got anything besides pretzels and Diet Coke! When I landed in Taichung I went through immigration...there was no one in front of me in line so I was through in a minute. Then I had to pull my three 68 pound suitcases off the luggage carousel and load them onto a push cart. There went my last energy reserves for the day lol! Customs was just a line and I was NOT randomly chosen to pull one of my massive bags off my cart to send through the scanner (thank you, God), and then I was through! Matt was just walking up as I came walking out, so we were out of the airport before they could even start charging him for parking 😊
The ride home was a blur of chatting about the flight, neon signs, and scooters who seem intent on an early death. But more about Taiwan driving in another post 😊
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