Beijing 北京 back to Taipei 臺北 (台北)

hey FC, wanted to mention I like what you’ve done with the little tweaks here and there.

Arrived back in Taipei yesterday. My traveling seems to be always rush rush these days. I forgot my laptop battery pack at my friend’s home in Beijing. The trip out to Beijing airport early morning was pretty busy for 6 am. Most of the highway roads are at least 6 lane highways, 3 each way and plenty of road traffic hmmm. Got to Beijing airport by 6:30am ish and wham, road jam as everyone just stopped at the international airport. I have to say, they got to do a better design and quickly speed up the build up of Terminal 3. There’s no way that they can support Beijing 2008 with two terminals which are about the size of CKS Airport Taiwan.

At the Beijing airport with the mad rush of international flights early morning, there was a remarkable 5 immigration agents on hand to check your passports …. so everyone was feeling the squeeze. But before then they had a system I’ve never seen before in any other international airport.

So, you arrive at the terminal and you need to check-in. But before you check in, you need to pass the Customs gatekeepers with your “Goods to Declare” or “No Goods to Declare” card. The problem is that there were only 3 lines but then in the middle of it, they closed down one of them! So all the folks in that line had to go back to the end of the line in the other two custom lines. Ouch. The reason? They were only for the airline crews. Huh? But can’t they also service the other people? By that time, we’re talking about a few hundred people queued up. So everyone’s trying to cut into line and moving forward (just like on the highway, roads of Beijing). Once you’re through, then you go to the airline counter to check in. My Cathay Pacific agent was very nice. He put a priority check-in tag on my luggage so that it would arrive first when I got to Taipei. (It did, I didn’t have to wait long and it came out fast, instead of last). I’ve travelled so many places before and never knew that you could get this nice customer service feature. Great because I hate waiting at the luggage claim carousels.

So then after the speedy efficient Cathay Pacific check-in (Cathay is starting to get my vote for top airline award here in Asia-Pacific), I hit the immigration check-in wall. When I get there, they saw my English written declaration/exit card but with my Taiwanese Tai Bao Zin “passport” and he said I had to fill it out in Chinese. WTF! Apparently, someone who was Taiwanese had to know how to write in Chinese, not English. So anyways, I did that quickly as best I could (thank God for my drawing abilities learnt as a kid), and then on my way. Had about 10 minutes to spare before boarding time.

Flight into HK, I had 10 minutes to spare before my transfer onto CX406 to Taipei. One of the downsides of the hub system is that they really cut the transfer times close. By the time I got there, they were already boarding. Luckily there were other planes feeding that flight so I was able to settle in and deposit my bags in the plane’s luggage compartments. Managed to catch the latest Batman movie. Liked it a lot. Wasn’t sure but was that Gary Oldman as the good cop? I was surprised because he seems to always play the bad guys.

Taipei is very warm and the weekend is good. Catching up with B- with some QT time this weekend. It’s been nice to decompress from the work and enjoy.

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