We left for Taiwan on November 17, 2018. We drove up to LA on a Saturday evening, and arrived earlier than we intended, which ended up being a good thing because between Chase and EVA, someone fucked up Vale’s name on her ticket, and although we were advised this had all been resolved, we showed up to find it had not at all been fixed, and had to fight with EVA to take care of it without charging us an extra fee. Needless to say, international travel does not always get off to a good start.
While Googling luggage/stroller checking rules for EVA 2 days before our flight, we learned that you can request baby bassinets that attach to the wall. For our flight there, we were too late, as all bassinets were already reserved. Vale did not sleep well on the flight, and woke up every hour or so, cranky and uncomfortable, and thus, so did we. It was a very long 14 hours, but eventually we made it, and landed to the familiar, humid smell of Taoyuan International Airport Monday Morning, November 19.
My parents picked us up from the airport and were ecstatic to see us, and we took a quick break at home before making it back out into the city for dim sum at Brother Hotel with family members. Jetlag hit Vale immediately, and she conked out on the way there, and did not wake up for many hours. We had a sumptuous, loud, dim sum lunch rife with Taiwan beer, shrimp dumplings, shao mai, shrimp noodle, pot stickers, jellyfish (Kyle was not interested in this one), turnip cake, meatballs, and more. We tried waking up Vale so all the relatives could meet her, and that was not a good idea as she was not having it. Kyle and Julia ended up walking her around to calm her down for awhile and then Jenn breast fed her at the table.
After lunch, we walked over to Di Hua street, and ambled by the river boardwalk. On our way there, we passed by some traditional Chinese shops selling all kinds of dry goods, including dried fruit, herbs, sea cucumber, mushrooms (what kind? the dried kind!), and more. I bought some dried oranges, which were really chewy but delicious. My mom bought me a pack of dried mangoes, which I did not open until I returned to the States; indeed, they were the most delicious dried mangoes I’ve ever had in my life.
After walking along the boardwalk, my mother insisted on returning to the area of the traditional shops to buy a small bowl that had attracted her attention. Kyle and I opted for greener pastures, and found a coffee shop and a brewery to indulge. We started with the coffee to stay awake.
Next we crossed the street to check out Mikkeller brewery. We’d had a couple of Mikkeller beers before in San Diego, and stopped by this trendy place to have a couple of cold ones. While the beers were indeed good, this place was seriously overpriced, featuring beers twice the price of what they would cost in San Diego. Jenn picked a couple of IPAs, one called Zodiac, and the other a Taiwanese IPA with Jasmine flavors. They were both excellent, though the Jasmine was far more unique. Kyle had a stout that was rich and bourbon-y. Julia met us here and we finished off our beers together.
We made our way home while Vale was still asleep. She basically was asleep for the vast majority of our time out, continued sleeping while we took an Uber XL home with my parents and Julia, and woke up right as we showed up at the front door of my parents condo, at which time we decided to make a quick run to Family Mart for some more beers. It was a long day for everyone – Julia started falling asleep in the Uber, and when asked about her thoughts on the differences between public education in America versus Taiwan, she mumbled something about mixing different types of sauces (clearly, she was dreaming about work). Kyle was so tired, that when asked about brewing beer, he mumbled something about toilet paper in response. We returned back home to finish the evening early with beers and fresh cut fruits, beautifully arranged by my mother. As Vale slept all day, she wanted to wake up quite early, but that’s a story for another post.