Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So Long, Smartwools

Michelle and I made it through SFO security (despite our leaking quart of take-out from Osha Thai that somehow sailed through the baggage screening machine)...and settled into our bargain seats on China Airlines. As we fished through our carry-on bags for our eye masks, we marveled at the flight attendants who, without question, could have easily landed higher paying jobs as fashion models.

For the next 13 hours, we drifted in and out of consciousness, awakening to find a curious selection of movies on the big shared screen in the main cabin. First, my fellow SFO to TPE passengers and I watched a strangely unsettling dance musical that I can only describe as Vaudeville meets the circus meets Fred Rogers. Immediately following this were a few episodes of “Living Lohan.” Assuming China Air knows how to play to their target audience, I was intrigued to know who else was on this flight.

Our layover in Taiwan was mostly uneventful, although the Hello Kitty airport temple managed to keep our interest for as long as it took us to consume our bubble tea. Everything from key chains to dish sets to jungle gym equipment to actual furniture--all in the Hello Kitty vein--was nothing short of...very pink.

Our next 5 hours in the air went quickly. Just as we polished off our quart of green curry (now likely radioactive), we found ourselves in the Indonesian customs queue. “Drugs are illegal in Indonesia. Carrying them into the country may result in Death Penalty” read a foreboding sign. “Xanax doesn’t count,” I assured myself.

After a quick stop at the Despansar airport ATM, we hopped in a taxi, our wallets full of cheerfully colored Rupiah (see above). The air blowing in the window was oppressively hot and humid, a welcome change from San Francisco. In the back seat of the taxi I switched my sneakers and Smartwool socks for a pair of strappy sandals. We had arrived.

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