Going To Taiwan

Going To Taiwan

Well, that sure didn’t take long. I didn’t expect that I would be hopping on a plane 2 weeks after arriving back to the States from our 2-month Turkey trip. The original thought was to fly to Taiwan sometime in January or February of next year. However, the trip serendipitously came together within 24 hours 2 days ago. It all started with an email from China Airlines…

I generally just delete the emails from them without even opening them. I don’t know what prompted me to click on this particular email this time. Imagine my disappointment when the contents informed me that I was about to lose my 13k+ mileage points, which I had accrued since 2017, by the end of this month if I didn’t use it. Say what?!?!

Well, first off how much are these points actually worth? Is it worth buying a ticket pronto or should I just move on with my life? The curiosity got the best of me and I started researching prices. A couple changes I’d noticed during my search. First, the airlines have scaled back on the number of departures from daily to four days a week. Second, the prices have actually gone up. Now I don’t know if it’s a matter of booking a flight last minute, or if it’s simply the airline trying to generate enough revenue to stay in business, but an economy seat now costs 40% more than a premium economy seat had a year or 2 ago. So I checked prices for a few months from now, and it was no better. In fact, prices are dramatically higher during the months of December through February (Christmas and Chinese New Year). So it got me thinking, do I fly out now, or wait until next November (summers in Taiwan are brutal, you don’t want to find yourself on the island in the summertime if you don’t absolutely need to be there)? If I wait until next November, that would mean I will not have seen mom and dad for 2 years.

After a little more digging, I was able to find a Cathay flight leaving this Friday for almost 50% less than China Airlines’, which was way more than the $64 that my 13k+ miles were worth (the irony is not lost on me here – I still lose my China Airlines miles at the end of the day).

Of course I’d like Joe to come with me, but given the current pandemic Taiwan has shut the door on all foreigners for the foreseeable future. Luckily, I have a “quasi” Taiwanese passport, while he only has a US passport. We tried the Chinese learning visa route for him, but we found out that Taiwan has temporarily stopped issuing visas for that. So, it’ll just be me with mom and dad, who were first shocked and then thrilled upon learning the news, for the next 3 months.

I call it my “quasi” Taiwanese passport, because it’s not the same as a full fledged Taiwanese passport. I am considered a National without residency, because I was born in the US and never had residency established when I was living in Taiwan for 10 years (I lived there as an alien all that time, when mom and dad could have applied for residency for us). With this passport, I can’t vote in Taiwanese elections, I don’t qualify for Taiwan’s universal healthcare, I can’t travel to other countries using this passport, and get this, I still need a visa with the passport in order to enter Taiwan! It’s basically a drab looking green booklet that’s been sitting in the safe for the last 7 years, unused. That is until now, it’s going to get me into Taiwan, when my US passport isn’t able to.

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