Sitting in a cool, hip independent coffee shop here in Taichung. Sipping my second coffee and contemplating my third soon after. It's the one slow and easy day I will have during this trip- since the show begins for me on Monday with the annual Velo party. Then on Tuesday the mayhem hits full swing in earnest. I'm booked with meetings and appointments for much of my time during the show, so walking lazily around looking at the shiny bits and doodads is going to be very minimal- sadly. After the show ends on Friday, it is back down here in Taichung for a few days at the factory- working on organizing samples for our upcoming catalog (which I still need to write and work on the final pagination... ugh...).
Today has been all about the lazy. Slept in late and then went with my girlfriend to the gym- I watched her swim laps while I sat in the sun. I should've been in the weight room- I know- but I was enjoying the sun and the fact that I did not have to be anywhere today. It's rare for me to have a "day off" when I am here in Taiwan, so I've been enjoying this little luxury. Afterward, we went to lunch and had noodles and soup and vegetables and other great traditional foods. Now, sitting in the coffee shop getting my caffeine, I'm beginning to reawaken and feel less off kilter. My hope is that this extra day will give me a little more time to be adjusted to the time difference by Tuesday when the actual show begins. I really hate being in my meetings falling asleep because I'm totally wiped out from the jetlag. This day of relaxation will hopefully help to curb that some. Plus, it's great to just be able to relax and enjoy a day with my girlfriend.
The trip began as a total stress-fest. I got up in the morning with time to pack and relax, hoping to keep the stress to a minimum. I got to the airport and had to weigh my bags prior to going to check in and one of the two was over the allowed fifty pounds... and United now charges $200 for any bag over the limit! CRAP! So, I pulled seven pounds of stuff out of my big bag and put it in the already-full small bag. Thank Gawd the zipper held! So, after that little stress, I checked in and they put me on a flight that was going to leave almost an hour earlier for San Francisco because there were lots of weather delays in SF, thanks to heavy fog. Well, that "earlier" flight ended up leaving an hour after my originally scheduled flight! But the original flight left San Diego after my flight out of SF, so it was the right move. But after running to get to the gate for the early flight and then sitting, and sitting, and sitting... I was very worried about making my flight out of SF and/ or the possibility the flight would leave SF late and then I would miss my connecting flight in Tokyo to Taipei! In the end, my flight to SF landed with enough time for me to grab a little lunch- since I hadn't eaten dinner the night before or breakfast that morning- and then had to wait at my gate for only 10 minutes before boarding for an on-time departure to Tokyo. We got to Tokyo with enough time for me to have sushi at the excellent sushi bar there in Narita airport- the tuna was UNREAL. The flight from Tokyo to Taipei was a little delayed in arrival due to strong winds, but we landed fine and my bags both arrived with me... so it was all good! I must say though, the turbulence on the flights was the worst I have experienced in a very long time. Their were a few moments when you could tell some of the passengers were getting a bit tense. I'm not usually effected by it, but it was enough to make even me a little green a couple times.
Once I landed in Taipei and got my bags, I was met by my lovely girlfriend and we took the bus to Taichung- where she lives- and then it was time to sleep since it was 2:00AM local time. Sleeping in until nearly 10:00 felt like such a luxury. Lazily enjoying the day like this is something I rarely get to do- here or at home- so it's been very enjoyable. It's a very beautiful day in Taichung today. The only thing missing is a bike ride... but I'm going to work on keeping a bike here permanently so I can ride when I want to. I'll just keep a small supply of clothes, a helmet and shoes here and then I'll be able to ride when I come here without the hassle of dragging all those things with me each time.
Alright, time to get back to my coffee and my girlfriend. The jazz is kicking in and it's time to do a little reading and writing.
More posts to come during the show- promise.
Tim (in Taichung)