New Year’s Eve

01Jan10

My ticket to the New Year's Eve Party in Taipei.

(Continued from my last post) Once we got settled back in our room we had some free time to have a nap…finally!  Carolyn and I weren’t sure we could sleep even though we were exhausted.  We unpacked and did some organizing of our things before taking a little nap.  Just in case we fell asleep I set my alarm for 5pm because we were supposed to meet up with everyone to go out at the train station at 7pm.  Low and behold we got a great sleep…only to wake up at 6:45pm!  Had the alarm not gone off?  Was it stuck on Washington state time?  What?  Wake up!

Just as I was about to say, “I wonder if everyone’s left already…” we got a knock on the door.  When we opened it up, Kamian and Courtney were standing there all ready to go and we were deep in panic mode.  Luckily Carolyn had the wherewithal to say we would shower and get ready as planned and figure out another way to get there.  The only problem was we didn’t have a phone that worked in Taiwan (without horrendous roaming fees) and we had no idea how to talk to anyone (except to say hello and thank you) and we wouldn’t know where the group was going until they decided on a restaurant while walking around the area of the hotel.

We got ready in what we both consider record timing then hit the lobby to enlist the help of the front desk staff.  We tried a pay phone to call Peter’s cell (borrowed from local brother Erik) but we couldn’t read any of the instructions (all in Chinese characters).  Carolyn finally took one for the team and called Peter using her cell phone.  They told us the general location of where we were headed, a place called Asia World.  Peter’s sister-in-law Stacey told us to have the lady at the front desk write it down in Chinese characters so that we could give it to the taxi driver.  Carolyn asked, “How are we going to understand how much to give the taxi driver.  Will they have a running tab like in America?”  Then I said, “You’re way ahead of me…how are we going to get hail a taxi in the first place?”

A few wrong directions and some serious confusion later we were barreling through the streets of Taipei in a yellow taxi (Note to self: Don’t say cab to anyone…they only understand the word taxi) en route to what we were certain was a misunderstanding.  Just in time Stacey called and had the host at Outback Steakhouse (Yeah, I know…) tell the taxi driver where we were supposed to go.  They had some words, but eventually we made it there.

We ate dinner at Outback sitting up to the bar and enjoyed chicken and veggie pasta and a couple of drinks before going upstairs to the main event: a swanky party in a party room with several DJ rooms leading out to the huge terrace where we had a straight view of Taipei 101 (Taipei’s tallest building for just four more days).  The party was full of nomads from all over the globe.  We sipped Coronas and chatted up people from New Zealand, England and anyone else who spoke English.

There was noticeably no countdown leading up to the big moment, but once the clock struck midnight fireworks shot out of Taipei 101 in a massive explosion of color and light until it was finally emblazoned with the phrase “Taiwan UP!”  A few hours and an interesting cab ride later we made it back to the Youth Center and into our beds having spent an amazing first day in this city of adventure.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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