Arriving in Taiwan

Arriving in Taiwan

This time being back in Asia feels like being back home, even though home for me has always been in the US for the last 30 years. It hasn’t always been this way. I used to feel a sense of relief when back in the US after a trip overseas. The cumulative unfortunate events in the US for the last 4 years have made living in the US feel like living in hostile territory, despite never having encountered any issues personally. Now, there is a familiarity in Asia that just makes me feel more at ease. So arriving in Hong Kong in the early morning hours brought a sense of elation. How much of that feeling is related to that, and how much is related to the fact that I now belong to an exclusive club of people who can currently travel to Asia, specifically Taiwan, is hard to say.

After a long trek from the arrival gate to the Premium Plaza lounge, I found myself enjoying breakfast in solitude, however short lived.

Three hours later (time flew by while busy sharing my unusual experience with friends and family), I found myself walking through Hong Kong’s deserted airport.

The number of passengers at the gate foretold an empty flight

Honestly, travel should be like this all the time. Less hectic and so much more enjoyable. I lucked out taking the route that I had taken. Apparently there’s been a mad dash of people flying out of San Francisco to Taiwan, trying to beat the COVID testing requirement starting 12/1. A packed United flight brought long lines to the Taiwan airport.

Photo courtesy of UDN.com – long line for health declarations.

Given that our flight was only 10% full, and that it was the only flight to land at the time, I was in the cab less than an hour after our flight touched down. This is after getting a local SIM card for health department tracking purposes, going through health declarations, agricultural screening, immigrations, baggage claim, and finally picking up a Klook device at the kiosk. Even my pre-reserved driver said that I was the fastest passenger he’s picked up. He had previously waited 4 hours for one of his other customer.

My driver wished me luck surviving 14 days in quarantine as he dropped me off at the hotel. That was when the implications of the quarantine truly hit me. Fourteen days of solitary confinement. I can only take it one day at a time. Luckily, I can still video chat with family, and mom and dad will call me twice a day from now on.

Outside the door – meals are placed on the chairs, garbage is collected daily between 3:30 and 4PM. Breakfast is served between 8-9AM, lunch 12-1PM, and dinner 6-7PM. Who’s to stop some else from taking your food?
View out the window
Unfortunately, can’t open the window unless you want to be eaten alive by mosquitoes.
First quarantine meal – slices of pork
It’s like a gift that keeps on giving – tofu, taro, fish ball, shrimp wanton, dates, jujube
The more you eat, the more you find – corn, tempura, tiny hotdog, cabbage.

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