Street view from near the hotel
KLM flight to Taipei, Taiwan arrives at 14:40 (that is 2:40 PM for those who still do AM and PM) – right on time! I make it through immigrations with no delays despite my initial worries and head out to fresh Taipei air.
Taipei Taoyuan International Airport is huge, modern and very clean. I did not know what I was expecting but this was far above that. I guess the stories my parents told me from their – sorry our – time in Taiwan left me to believe I would be entering a country less developed. Was I mistaken! I left Taiwan via the old international airport, Taipei Songshan Airport 5 decades ago. Back then you walked across the tarmac to a flight of stairs to board your plane. Maybe I thought things had not changed.
So I arrive in Taipei, Taiwan on September 7th 2015 with no idea if I will actually leave the country with the documents I need. The only reason for flying to Taipei is to get some form of legal documentation that I actually was born! The fact that I exist (have a passport) and pay taxes is not legal proof of my brith! What????
Approaching the immigrations officer in Taipei I have an odd feeling – did I need a visa to enter Taiwan (I know – I checked it a dozen times but still worried), will they see I was born in Taiwan, will they ask a slew of questions to totally confuse me, will I be arrested…… Will they even allow me into the country without legal proof of birth and birth place?
The immigrations officer takes my passport and looks at me . Everyone who has traveled to a foreign country knows the look you get at border control. Passport in hand, the immigrations officer tilts his/her head downward ever so slightly and looks you in the eyes. Sort of as if they have this built in scanner to detect any proof of a lie or falsehood. No matter whether US border, Indonesian immigration or passport control in Taipei. They all have the same way to sort of sum you up. Strip you naked – well kind of.
“Is this your first trip to Taiwan?” the government official asks me. Continue reading
It has been more than a year and I am disappointed with my lack of dedication to my blog. There are no excuses! Well actually there are – many excuses or reasons for why I have not written anything since June 2015.
As I sit here trying to sort my travel expenses from 2015 I realize that so much has happened since my last post. I know
that for a fact because as I said, I am going through my flight bookings to see what I can charge to the company and what not.
In June 2015 I had to fly back to Germany for my business. When in Germany I rarely have the time to do much privately besides maybe visit a few old friends. But is looks like besides flying to Germany I also managed a short trip to Hartland / Devon in the UK to visit a dear old friend. So that is something I could write about. Catching up with friends that live so far, the gorgeous (I mean really gorgeous) costal region of Heartland / Devon, traveling with my daughter, free roaming horses ….. Continue reading
Patung Pemuda or The Pizza Man in 1978
It’s been a while since my last post. We (my husband and I) spent a few days in Jakarta. We did not do much by way of touring the city. Too busy visiting friends and spending some alone time without cats, dogs and the normal daily routine of running our home stay.
We did manage one day out in town – basically fabric shopping, but on the way we passed some areas that are part of my memories of Jakarta since the 70’s.
The Pizza Man in 2015
One of these is the Patung Pemuda Membangung or the Monument of the National Development by the Youth. To Jakartan’s and expats in Jakarta he is affectionately known as The Pizza Man because of his plate of flaming pizza (actually just a plate of flames). The Pizza Man was erected in 1972 and has proven that his plate truly holds the eternal flame, yet he seems to have a problem shutting his mouth. He was built to symbolize the contribution of the young people of Indonesia to the development of the country – past, present and future. His plate of eternal flames is meant to symbolize the spirit of never-ending development. And how Jakarta has developed since this “young” man was placed on the roundabout!
The location is an island in the middle of a roundabout with major roads leading to it. Unfortunately there was construction going on at the time we passed by, but I am sure this will not be the last time I pass by “The Pizza Man”.
You cannot visit Jakarta without seeing many of the famous statues!
Continued from Part 1
So it is December 13th 2012 and my fiancé, Kadek, is kidnapping me at my parents home in Bali to take me to his family in Kubutambahan, Buleleng in the north of Bali. I’m dressed up in a simple sarong & kebaya. Nervous as can be and just short of biting my fingernails down to non-existence (and I never bite my nails). The two hour ride through many villages on the north coast of Bali is uneventful. I keep asking Kadek what to expect of the next few days, but Balinese are not very elaborate in their communication and Kadek is not a natural conversationalist. So the answers I get are vague and basically leave me with no idea of what I will be going through.
“Grin and bear it” as my Dad would say. Continue reading