John and Edwin's Trip to Taipei -- September 2001
We (John and Edwin) decided to take a "guys-only" weekend trip to somewhere exciting -- "guys-only" because we couldn't talk Kate into coming with us!
The original plan was to go to Munich for Oktoberfest, but with the events of September 11, our original flight was cancelled, and it was going to be just too hard to get to Munich on American Airlines from San Jose (three hops). So we decided to go to Taipei on AA's nice nonstop, round-trip flight between SJC and TPE. The plan was to leave SJC Thursday noon, arrive TPE Friday evening, go to the museum and other sights on Saturday, shop on Sunday, and leave for home on Monday noon, arriving in SJC earlier (yes, earlier) on that same morning.
Well, then AA cancelled the SJC-TPE route altogether, with the last scheduled return flight being a day before our planned return. So, rather than look for somewhere else to go, we decided, what the heck, we'll just come home a day earlier. That makes our total time in Taipei about 42 hours.
Oh, and did we tell you that there was a typhoon in Taipei in the recent weeks? Parts of the downtown were flooded. Also, the local metro was flooded, including the control room which is floors underground -- it was an aquarium, as Edwin puts it. So, the traffic was terrible, and it took over two hours by limo to make the normal 40-minute trip from the airport to downtown.
Other than that, it was fine. As you can see from the Friday's photos, we had a nice flight and we were able to go out on that evening to the "Tourist Night Market", shop, and see some other important sights, including the oldest Buddhist temple in Taipei.
On Saturday, we had breakfast which was really an early lunch and then we visited the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial and the National Museum, and then did a bunch of shopping later in the day. Shopping venues including the fancy, expensive mall next to the hotel as well as the huge, flea-market-like Weekend Jade Market, which is set up under a freeway overpass (which is better than having all those sellers be homeless!).
We left our hotel at 10am Sunday to go to the airport for our 12:30 return flight. On the way, we passed the old Grand Hotel, which looks cool from the outside but is not as modern inside. The Taipei airport was once again very clean but deserted. We enjoyed snacks in the first class lounge, including taking some home for Susie.
We took the 777 home, a different one but exactly the same crew. This was American's last flight on this route -- they are exiting this market -- and the younger crew members were facing layoffs. Got home to Mountain View before 10am, just in time to go to a picnic for recent Cisco acquisition Allegro Systems. A good time was had by all!