Inflight, it's been pretty decent lah, so long I get to choose a seat. We fly in early and fly out late- I can always sleep for at least three-quarters of the flight; meals don't matter as long a bottle of water is obtainable. Plug in them earplugs, turn on the iPod, and I was all settled in for quite a comfortable ride up.
Don't know why Taipei loves Hello Kitty so much that their EVA Air Hello Kitty planes are flying everywhere. The bff loves that cat. UGH. The Hello Kitty assault began in the plane on the way up, with Hello Kitty sneakers on an adult bobbing up and down the aisle to the toilet. *shudder Almost keeled over when I saw Dong Ding oolong tea packed into Hello Kitty canisters. But I should have seen that coming.
The last of blue skies would be seen from the plane. The weather forecast warns of rain and grey skies all through the week. Our friends in Taipei said that it's been dreary and it would literally rain all week, non-stop, 24/7. I was this close to considering wearing Wellies here. But never mind, boots will do. I won't be slushing about in the mud and tea plantations. Mountains surrounding Taipei are too gentle and most are paved with decent paths and roads.
Make no mistake, this is purely business. Like the previous two trips, it's going to be intense, not to be undertaken with people who aren't tea enthusiasts. Every day, every hour is about tea. I'm not even sure I can get coffee on a daily basis. But I will try. If I don't get that, I'll be immensely grouchy. I already miss speaking in Cantonese. Visiting Taipei thrice within a year has given me a slight dread of our itinerary versus food to be found, and of its food in general. There're energy bars in the bag, but I'm going to regret not bringing a bottle of sambal belachan.