Saturday, June 18, 2011

US Vacation - Getting There

The day that I've been looking forward to in more than 20 years has finally arrived, I am able to return to the US and experience its wonders all over again.

We were actually supposed to visit in April 2008, a few months after my husband and I got married. Together with my US visa getting renewed, we confirmed that I was pregnant! So we had to postpone the trip until I gave birth. That occasion finally arrived when my mom invited us for her 60th birthday celebration and my sister for her son's Christening this June 2011.

I booked an EVA Air ticket for my husband and I (we did not bring our son with us) last March for a three week stay in the US. After that, there were a flurry of email exchanges between my mom, sister and I as we planned our itinerary.

On the morning of June 16, we were in NAIA around 3.5 hours before our flight. That's my husband with his rare smiles as we patiently wait for the check-in counter to open and that's me at the Gate waiting for our flight to be called.

Our flight left almost one hour behind schedule at 130PM. It wasn't a problem as our flight does not leave until 650PM so with the almost two hour flight time, we'll surely make it without stressing ourselves too much.

When we arrived at Taipei, we went around familiarizing ourselves with the place and trying to find a place to eat.

We settled on a noodle house where we had beef noodle soup. The serving was so huge that my husband and I shared a bowl.

We boarded our flight right on schedule. The flight though was uneventful and horribly boring for me as I could not sleep. The EVA Air entertainment/interactive system helped me keep my sanity. The movie selections sucked though but I did manage to watch an episode each of Family Guy, CSI and five other shows.

We touched down Newark airport 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I was so grateful that I wanted to kiss the airport ground but that would probably not be advisable. :)

Due to the lateness of the hour, there were only a minimum number of passport control officers who were manning the counters to process our arrival. There were more officers for the US and Canadian citizens and green card holders. We were in line for more than hour until we were up. Our fingerprints and pictures were taken and we were asked how long we will be staying.

After that, we proceeded to the bags carousel to retrieve our luggage. As we've been stuck in line for so long, our bags were already on the conveyor. I got a couple of carts (which costs $5 each!), loaded our bags and was fortunately waved through customs. I don't mind the random bag search but I was so tired already.

It took around 30 minutes before we finally found my brother-in-law, Jeff and got everything loaded in their SUV.

My niece, Madison, and my sister, Claudine, greeted us when we arrived. I still had strength to open our bags and give out pasalubongs. It was already 130AM when I was able to take a shower and lie down. Unfortunately, I was just too tired to sleep that I only had 2 hours of rest. I gave up when I woke up at 4AM and decided to just tough it out that day.

Our Day 1 and 2 kuwento here.

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