|A New Year dragon greeted us past the security checkpoint at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei|
[This is Part 2 of a trip report about my most recent visit to Thailand. Part 1 is here]
Deplaning after a long flight is usually a relief for me. Sometimes I'm able to sleep sufficiently on my own, but not consistently, and slumber via prescribed pharmaceuticals isn't proper sleep for me; it merely passes time. The old saying about sleeping best in our own beds is, I believe, a valid one, but not something that keeps me from throwing my circadian clock off with the reckless abandon of a college-aged kid when the opportunity arises to jump a dozen time zones or so.
That said, I'm usually a little dopey as I make my way along the breezeway from the plane to the arrival gate at Taoyuan International some 13 hours after boarding in San Francisco, my preferred departure point. In addition to the signage directing you to the transfers area there's often an EVA employee there to wave you in the right direction. It felt so good to move around more than one can on a plane, even though I make an effort to get up and stretch at least a couple of times on a flight as long as this one is.
I had dawdled a bit getting off the plane (talking to a stewardess), so although we were seated near the front there were quite a number of folks who'd gotten off ahead of me. My friend was a bit ruffled by the time I got to the arrival gate, but so it goes. I heard a lot more about it when we got to the security area and caught up with the others from our flight, all queued up in a surprisingly orderly single-file line, but it was a good 50 yards long, stretched down a hallway. The transfer security area is a limited affair; two belts for your carry-on stuff and a single scanning doorway, so it can be slow.
|Large illuminated signage clearly show you where things are|
We got through security and made our way to the EVA lounge, which is just a hundred yards or so from where you enter the terminal from the transfer security area. The dragon up top was there to welcome us, floating near one of the main information booths and next to a seating area where folks watched TV, read, toyed with electronic devices or dozed. There were also a few terminals for folks to access the internet, as you can see in the photo below.
Taipei being home turf for Evergreen/EVA the lounge is larger, better stocked and better staffed. I can't compare it to others there, but perhaps someone will comment on their favored lounges in Bangkok, Taipei or other locations. Anyone?
|A small portion of the complimentary food and drink area.|
|One side of the seating area in Taipei's EVA lounge|
On the left of the photo above you can just barely see the magazine side of the literature wall that separates the buffet from the seating area. There are multiple copies of a wide range of titles in both English and Chinese, and if you don't finish one you're welcome to take it along. The other side of the wall contains eight to ten different local and international newspapers.
The wireless internet is free and usually fairly fast, and time passed fairly quickly before it was time for us to leave and head to the gate.
|Looking down from lounge level|
Just as we arrived at the (full) boarding area they announced that the flight would be delayed by about 45 minutes "due to traffic control", so we just cooled our jets and waited. At least we weren't put onto a plane festooned with Hello Kitty, like the one below that taxied by as we waited for our ride.
I passed the time visiting with a husband and wife from Vancouver who were coming from Hong Kong where they'd visited her family, as they do every two years. Now they were making a stop in Thailand for a break on Koh Lanta, which they highly recommended. I'll look into it for a future destination, too. Also on the Malacca Straight it's to the Southeast of Phuket.
Finally aboard our flight to Suvarnabhumi International I got myself situated for the final leg of the journey, listening with one ear to the familiar safety lecture. I've heard it so often that I'm well aware of where the emergency exits are; the more worrisome thought is the distinct probability of being trampled to death on the way to one by other panic-stricken passengers.
Raindrops skittered almost horizontally across my window as the wind outside pushed them along while we roared into the gray sky and were - finally and truly - Bangkok bound. Just another four hours or so to go...