Jim scoffs pink noodles for breakfast, giving in-flight Christmas sandwiches a miss, and getting settled in Taipei.

Day 183: Chiang Mai, Thailand & Taipei, Taiwan. This morning we had a very leisurely breakfast, while finalising details for our stay in Taipei.

Jim was very happy to find the hotel offered a buffet breakfast, which means he gets to try all sorts of weird and wonderful things first thing in the morning. He gleefully piled pink noodles, spicy minced pork, stir fried vegetables, stewed banana and a weird looking sausage onto his plate. Lil had eggs and toast.

After breakfast we finished packing and walked to Chiang Mai airport, an easy 2km stroll.

Chiang Mai airport was bigger than we expected. We couldn’t find our flight on the information screens, so asked one of the staff, who said we needed to go to the international terminal (which to be honest was only one minute’s walk away, and really just a continuation of the domestic terminal).

The three and a half hour flight to Taipei was uneventful, apart from a bored kid in front of us who screamed mightily for a large chunk of the journey, and kept reaching back to close our window shade.

Lil ordered a fancy organic brew coffee, which came with fresh coffee grounds in a filter contraption. Pretty snazzy for in-flight refreshment.

We were also amused to see that the food selection included an ‘Assorted Christmas Sandwich’. It didn’t look particularly Christmassy, and also contained a pretty odd selection of ingredients, including wheat flour, egg, ‘chicken ham’, salmon, mayonnaise, green tea, beetroot, cheese, soybean oil and wholegrain. Ho ho ho.

We landed at Taipei airport, and made our way fairly quickly through immigration and customs. Then we had a list of things to do at the airport; get some local currency, buy local SIM cards, sign up for Taiwan public wifi and buy EasyCards which make travelling on public transport heaps easier. We managed to complete everything within an hour and were seriously impressed with the efficiency of all the processes. It only took 5 minutes to sort out our phones, most of which was um-ing and ah-ing over the choice of plans, and about 30 seconds for the wifi sign-up, which didn’t even involve any paperwork.

Then we caught the MRT to our accommodation, a pretty lengthy journey but an easy one. We’re staying in an airbnb in Taipei; we met our host on the corner of the street, and dragged our bags up eight flights of stairs to get settled in.

By the time we headed out for food it was 10.35pm, however there were still heaps of restaurants and shops open. We found a local eatery, and by pointing at images on our phones we managed to order some excellent chicken noodle soup, and a couple of Taiwan beers.

Tomorrow we’ll start exploring the city – there’s certainly heaps to do and see here. And perhaps not surprisingly, Jim is already researching what weird foods he can find in Taipei.

More then.

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