Travel Pillow
Originally uploaded by jzawodn.

This trip has been unusual in many respects so far. Here I enumerate and comment on them for my own amusement and because I'm running on limited mental power—you know, that feeling when you've slept several hours in 20 minute bursts on a loud plane?


It's about 11:30am here, which is 7:30pm "yesterday" at home. That's weird enough.

  • It all started when I arrived at SFO and went to the EVA Air counter to check in. They struggled for a long time and eventually told me that they couldn't find a record of me in the system. I presented the paperwork from the travel agency that handles Yahoo corporate travel, they hit a few more keys, and changed their story. The EVA system said I had a paper ticket. My printout said I had an electronic ticket. Grr.
  • I called the "emergency" travel number for our agency to see if they could sort it out in the next hour or so, allowing me to actually go to Taiwan. They did a bit of checking and learned that I was, in fact, booked with a paper ticket. Nobody knew where that paper ticket was, so I had to buy a new one on the spot and the travel agency (since it was their screw-up) would likely eat the cost of the first one.
  • Amusingly, the second ticket was $0.10 cheaper than the first. But it involved far more effort.
  • With 30 minutes to spare I wandered into one of those airport stores that sells luggage locks, power converters, and other random crap. I decided that it was time to buy a nice travel pillow to ease the 14 hours of sitting in (and attempting to sleep in) a 747 seat. The verdict? The pillow represents the best $12 I will probably ever spend at a major airport.
  • Once inside the plane, I realized that seat 37A offered a pretty good view of the left wing of the 747. But it was destined to be dark for the entire flight anyway. Worse, the ventilation system was the loudest I've ever experienced. And I left my noise canceling headphone at home due to lack of space. Doh!
  • Luckily my little headphones did the job and my iPod Shuffle lasted the whole trip.
  • The airline food was decent.
  • The 747 was an older model, thus did not have individual LCD screens at each seat. My hope of spending half the flight watching movies and the second half sleeping (so that I could get on the "right" sleep schedule) didn't pan out.
  • When they handed out the little form you must complete before they let you in the country, I noticed that it asked for a "Visa Type" and a "Visa Number." I then freaked out a bit because I don't have a Taiwan Visa and nobody told me to get one. I was about to get really pissed at the travel folks but then had a thought. I looked at the stamps from my last visit to Taiwan and realized that I didn't one back then 'cause it was a short trip (or something).
  • My transportation from the airport to the hotel was flawless. Yay!
  • The Sheraton Taipei is a nice place. They leave some fresh fruit in your room, so my lunch today consisted of an apple, banana, and one of the granola bars I brought along. It's like I never even left California!
  • Yahoo has a deal that gets me free breakfast and free Internet access here. That kicks ass too.
  • I'm tired but cannot sleep. I hope to solve that later this afternoon.
  • It was foggy this morning (kinda like my head) and is now bright, warm, and overcast.

I'll try to say something more substantial tomorrow along with having more interesting pictures.

Posted by jzawodn at November 08, 2005 07:40 PM

Reader Comments
# Anita Huang said:

Welcome to Taiwan, Jeremy!

Glad you survived EVA flight & food. We'll treat you nice in Taipei! Come rock TW audience!

on November 8, 2005 10:52 PM
# Ray said:

Ambien is your friend. For international travel, just have your doctor prescribe a couple for you to use on either end of your trip. It'll shoehorn your body back into the local timezone pattern faster than anything. You might even find some for sale in Taipei in the drug stores without a prescription...

on November 8, 2005 11:41 PM
# Joe said:

^ second that. I was about to mention it - Ambien + neck pillow = sleep like a log and wake up on a different continent feeling refreshed. You can also knock out most of the jet lag within the first day if you sleep properly on the plane. It might be different going west, but going from US to Europe on an overnight flight, sleep as much as possible on the plane (with the help of ambien and pillow) and arrive in Europe 7-8AM next morning. DON'T TAKE A NAP - that's the biggest mistake, even if you're super tired. Stay up all day, then go to bed at your normal time, or an hour earlier or so, and you'll be fine by the next day.

on November 9, 2005 01:57 AM
# D said:

Russ and you both out of the country, whoa! Is the headphones you left home also $180?

on November 9, 2005 10:50 AM
# ChinesePod said:

If you have any urge to pick up some of the language, check out the free podcasts to learn Chinese at

on November 11, 2005 04:37 AM
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