I. Am. So. Tired. It’s about 7:30 on Tuesday evening as I sit writing this. It is currently 1:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday in Taiwan, which is where I was this morning. Or at least, I think it was this morning. The sun went away and came back while we were flying over the Pacific, but when we got here, it was the exact same time as when we left our hotel in Taichung, 9 am on Tuesday. Back to the Future enough for you? Confused yet? So am I. In my experience, it’s all been one extremely long day.
We set off in the shuttle, after a disappointing breakfast at our hotel, with our friend Gill riding along with us. Our driver was great and got us there quickly and safely. Once at the airport, we met up with Zach, checked in, ate at Burger King, and hung out for our final moments before disappearing through immigration and the limbo of air travel. I managed not to cry, mostly from sheer bewilderment over what’s happened in the last month and what we’re about to do. I was glad my friends could be with me until the last moment. We’ve only been here one day and we’ve mentioned them a dozen times at least. I will miss them immensely.
Our flights were fairly smooth, and we even got the exit row on our first short flight to Seoul. The service with Korean Airlines was great. The food was horrible, but I wasn’t expecting much. My only problem was that it was colder than a polar bears nipples on that plain. A few hours through our eight and a half hour flight, I was shivering and had goose bumps, even though I was covered in one of those frail airplane blankets. I developed a sore throat and a sinus headache from the cold. It was extremely unpleasant.
Our next big obstacle was immigration. We had no idea what to expect. After initially getting in the wrong, very crowded line, and then having to duck under poles with all of our bags to get out of it, be made our way to the immigrant waiting area. The officers who helped us were very relaxed and friendly. They didn’t make me feel anxious at all. We did have to wait for over an hour, as there were at least four other immigrants entering in front of us, but we got to sit on a comfy chair, so I can’t complain. I was worried I’d fall asleep though.
Getting out of the airport was tricky. We couldn’t find our bags. Remember we’d been sitting up at immigration for over an hour, so all the other bags from our flight were surely long gone. Turns out they were down at the other end of the baggage claim hall waiting for us nicely stacked on a cart. That’s aloha for you. We also had the world’s most awesome bus driver on our shuttle bus into Waikiki. She had this fantastic rat tail braided down to the middle of her back. That woman could maneuver that enormous bus as if by magic. It was flawless.
When we got to our hotel at noon, we found out we couldn’t check in for another two hours. Luckily, they let us leave our suitcases in the lobby, but Geoff didn’t feel comfortable leaving his backpack and computer bag, so he had to carry it around with him while we walked through Waikiki trying to pass the time. It was very reminiscent of our first day in London. We just had to keep moving to stay awake. We managed to buy SIM cards, though, so message me if you want my number. 🙂
Once we finally got into our room, we fell on to the two separate twin beds (which will be pushed together tomorrow by housekeeping) and fell into a deep sleep. I was so bewildered when the alarm went off after 90 minutes. It was extremely difficult to drag myself back out of bed, but it was 3:30 in the afternoon, so I knew if I slept anymore my internal clock would be a mess.
We went swimming in this walled off area of ocean that essentially functions as a salt water swimming pool. It was lovely for just lounging in the water because it was protected from the waves that often crash onto the shore on Waikiki beaches. We didn’t manage to last very long swimming though as we were both extremely tired. We did the only sensible thing a person can do when in an exhausted and hungry state. We ate cheeseburgers. Expensive cheeseburgers, but delicious cheeseburgers. Cheeseburgers we’d been thinking about for a year. I also ordered a cocktail called a Sunburn, which tasted like melted raspberry sorbet. So good! We won’t be eating anymore expensive restaurant meals for quite a while, so I especially enjoyed this one.
It is absolutely wonderful to be here. It’s so beautiful, and I am so fortunate. I can’t wait to get settled down into our new place and start figuring out how our lives will work oh this island. Right now, though, all I care about is sleep, and lots of it.