Well, I have landed in Taipei..time to get set up for my job as a TEFL teacher. My flights were pretty nightmarish, but I survived. My flight from Chicago had a 20-minute delay because the ramp broke pulling away. My flight to Tokyo had a 2-hour delay because first, some bathroom pipe froze, then a Russian plane took our airspace and we had to get more fuel to fly lower. My flight to Taipei also got delayed by 30 min....I think I may have a curse on me.
Yesterday was our first day of orientation, so my company gave us a short bus tour of the city, we went to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall where immediately a group of students ran up to us and asked to interview us for their English class. Then a family asked to take pictures with us. What can I say, we're kind of a big deal....or just foreigners.
Afterward was lunch which was a little feast. We sat at tables with lazy susans in the middle, they brought out various dishes that we all split. There were things like a clear noodle soup, a salad that had fruit and shrimp, dumplings, fried tofu, spicy chicken, and a few others. Plus lots of tea, orange juice, and guava juice. It was all delicious!
If you work in Taiwan you have to have a health check done for your visa. So after lunch, we were taken to the hospital. The system here is so streamlined, that it didn't take long, and was pretty painless. We arrived and we're given the forms we needed and a number. When our number got called it was registration, pulse, height and weight, blood pressure..the usual stuff. Next, we paid for our test and were taken upstairs. Yet another desk where we gave them our forms and were given test tubes for our blood sample and a number. The nurse drawing the samples was so fast, you sat down and were done in maybe a minute. Last we went to get our chest x-ray. There were rooms with robes, you just went in one and changed came out and got in the line until they called your name. Again fast, you walked into the room they told you where to stand, asked you two questions, snap done! The whole process maybe took 30 mins. They check for TB and HIV here, so unless there's something I don't know, I should be able to get my visa soon!
Afterwards, our first day of orientation was complete. So our first of many 7-11 celebration drinks were in order. I got a few fruit flavored beers. Apple, Strawberry, and Peach, not very beer-like, but if you like sweet things... Finally, we went out for dinner. We went to a Hot Pot restaurant nearby the hotel. There was a feast of squid, fish, beef, and other meats. Good end to the night.