This was the first thing I saw outside my hotel window in Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines, in the misty dawn light a year ago today. Today’s an “easy” day, just one leg of 1,010 nautical miles to Taoyuan, Taiwan; the flight will take us 3.8 hours. We want to arrive in Nagoya, Japan, on Sept. 13 and Mike wisely changed an off day in the Philippines–and a two-leg day into Japan–to two one-leg days, to give us more flexibility and (ideally) an earlier arrival in Japan.
Here’s a wide shot showing all the boats off our hotel, after the fog burned off–and after the cameras sat outside long enough to warm up; from cold air conditioning to humid outside air caused immediate fogging. Sometimes the view from on high doesn’t require an airplane; think we were on the 10th or 12th floor of this high-rise hotel.
Since we’re only flying one leg, we don’t have to take off before the sun wakes up and has at least its first cup of coffee. Of course, we’re limited to one each, since the airplane does not offer a toilet. (We have alternatives, but one of my goals is not to require them.) The same three friendly, very polite, and extremely efficient women who helped us clear into the country meet us at the airplane for our exit paperwork. Customs and immigration come to you at the airplane, here–at least they did for us. A wonderful change of pace, and we enjoy not having to schlep through another airline terminal–twice.
Arriving in Taiwan, we wait for the fuel truck–and then for a water truck, to wash excess fuel from the airplane after the wing tanks were overfilled. Good thing we’re staying overnight (that’s our hotel directly beyond the airplane, but getting there takes a 15-minute van ride to the airline terminal, then–after the customs and immigration dance–a 10-minute car ride to the hotel.
Even with all that, there’s still time to explore. Turns out there’s an aviation museum a couple hundred yards from the hotel, so I walk over. The admission fee is 30 Taiwanese dollars–I don’t know how much that is–but I don’t have any local currency, and they don’t take credit cards. As I start to leave, the attendant bows and gestures toward the entrance–they let me in for free. This all was accomplished with me knowing none of their language, and she knew very little English. Photos from and more information about the museum are on my original Day 19 blog.