Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Taiwan Journey--Day 1

Monday, July 28, 2008 (Portland-Los Angeles)

Well the journey has begun, we left a little late this morning but were about to make it in time for Kyle’s flight (gratefully his plane was also delayed 45 minutes so he wasn’t in as much of a hurry). We dropped Kyle off at the airport and then left to get gas and then to try and find me some more shorts. We were able to find me a couple of pairs and then decided that it was time to head back to the airport so that I could make my plane on time. I got to the airport and unloaded my stuff, said my final good-byes and then went through the doors of the unknown. I first tried using the kiosk but it would not read my passport, nor could I find a confirmation number. When I finally asked for help I was told to go down to the desk where a agent could help me as I had a paper ticket. I got in line behind a couple of oriental guys and proceeded to wait, I had not been in line very long when another lady joined me in line (she was a little late and did not know that her flight to Denver had been cancelled, so she had to wait and get help in finding another flight).She was a very nice lady, I watched her try and find another ticket on the computers but she could not, so she came to stand back in the line behind me. She had asked me when the deadline check-in was and I told her 45 minutes and also explained that I was a little worried, as I had about 10 minutes until the cut off time for my check-in. It was about then that the two Orientals were joined by a woman and she proceeded to walk right up to the ticket agent and started to yell at her about wanting to see her manager, the agent told her that one would be up in 30 minutes, or she could get in line and wait until she was available to help her. The lady continued to yell, saying something about how the guy doesn’t speak English and that he was supposed to be going to Canada but someone tried telling him that he needed a visa, I heard her say that she had worked as a “airperson (yes her words)” for seven years and she knew what was what! The other lady escorted her to the back of the line (which I was grateful) and everything went back to normal. In between all of this the Denver lady and I were talking about how yelling at the ticket agent will not help get things done quicker, it will just get everyone irritated, uptight, and angry-never good emotions to try and help others. After this episode a second ticket lady came and opened up, she beckoned me to come forward, just as I was walking up this lady whom had been standing to the side asked if she could go before me (she had this huge box), she told me that she had been told to go to the front as it was her second time through the line, the Denver lady spoke up at this saying that I was getting close to the 45 minutes mark on a international flight, the lady paused and waited a minute and then tried passing it off that she was also, I looked forward and the ticket agent just told me to come forward. Beside my ticket agent was another one whom had been trying to serve one guy since before I had gotten there, at one point I heard him ask for her number or something and she was like no I am not going to give you my personal information, etc. –anyway they were still arguing as I walked away (I felt quite bad for her as it was the same lady that had, had to deal with the oriental group that was yelling earlier). I was quite happy walking away, as I had thought that I was going to have to pay $25 for my second bag, but as my final destination is a international place they don’t charge you for the second bag.

After I had checked in my luggage I preceded to my gate (I don’t understand why do they always make you go to the last gate?). It was quite strange; I don’t believe that I have ever been to the “E” gate. Mine was E7, but right beside it was E6 and in order to get to the waiting area for it you had to go down a flight of stairs, I don’t think that I have ever seen that before. I only had about a 10 minute wait until they started to board us, it was kind of cool, we walked down a flight of stairs and then outside and then we had to walk across the runway a bit and up a ramp into the stairs. I didn’t think that they did that anymore, only in movies- my mom was surprised when I told her also. I kind of wish that I had taken a picture because it was really strange, that was also one of the smallest planes that I had had ever been on (4 across (2 on each side) and then 17 rows down). It was a pretty uneventful flight, as I predicted it, I got in the plane and fell asleep within the first 5 minutes of take-off. I slept for the first 30 minutes or so and then woke up as they were bringing the drinks and snacks bye, I thought it was kind of funny as my seat companion was waking up at about the same time as I was and apologized for any snoring that he may have made, he said he doesn’t know what it is about planes but the moment he gets on one he falls asleep. I ate my mini pretzels and then drank my sprite and then fell back asleep, I proceeded to sleep off and on the remainder of the flight. Though it was a uneventful flight I would have to say that those seats on the plane were the most uncomfortable plane seats that I have ever sat on (and that is saying something considering that I flew all the way to Peru and wasn’t that uncomfortable).

When I arrived in LAX, I started looking for the tunnel that the agent in Portland had mentioned that would lead me to the international flights area, but when I asked someone where it was they “helpfully” (I think that they thought it was a little too funny that there would be a tunnel to the international area) told me that there was no tunnel and that I would have to walk out the doors to the street and then go to the blue sign (they failed to tell me that the blue sign was like 3 blocks away) and then catch Bus A. Finally after waiting like 5 minutes Bus A came through and picked me up along with several others. I rode along and as we passed different terminals a voice would name off what airlines were at that particular terminal, finally when we got to terminal 3 I heard my airline and got off, it then took me about 10 minutes to figure out that there was no Malaysia Airlines within that terminal, but I knew that there had been a sign saying that there was, so the first person that I saw that looked official I asked where it was, he told me that it was right behind us, during the day it was one airline but at night it turned into a different one. (if you can’t tell I spent a lot of time asking people today for directions to things) So I called mom to ask her to check my e-mail, as Nate’s friend was supposed to be picking me up and taking me out to dinner with her and some friends, unfortunately (for me) her sister came in for the week to take her kids to Disney Land and this is the only night that they can go so she wouldn’t be picking me up. So here it was 7pm, I couldn’t even check-in until 9:40 and I had nowhere to go (you are lucky to even find a table). So I got some dinner, asked to share a table with a guy (who was very cute by the way !!!! :D) and then started writing out this. Here I am not even one day into my journey and I already have nearly two pages of stuff that has happened. I just stocked up on a couple more snacks for the night as I doubt that they will feed us until breakfast and now am sitting on a the cement floor waiting for 9:40 to roll along so that I can check in and go find a seat that is a little more comfortable to sit on for the next 4 hours! So I guess for now, this is Betherd-signing off!

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