It was dear ole Jan who offered to drive me to the airport. He had done so several other times when I was to leave for a few months. Nicolas tagged along as well.
We had a little breakfast at the Paul counter in the airport lounge. To my dismay, the prices had doubled compared to Paris. We sat at one of the few tables in a small space that had been arranged for customers. The metal bars around us made us feel like I was having a visit in a psychiatric hospital. Then the sight of two soldiers walking on either side of the space, carrying fire gun, made me feel I was in a military psychiatric hospital. Two waitresses dressed in white perfected the picture.
The flight lasted forever. I nearly felt sick with the nauseating smell of plane food and instant noodle soup combined with the constant shaking of the plane and the chilliness of my spot. Only the very friendly flight attendants made the journey bearable.
Twenty hours or so later, I was gladly walking out of the airport and grabbing a shuttle to Taipei City.
I was ‘home’. I left Taipei more than a year ago and it felt like I had just been away for a few weeks. I was glad to see these streets, the food stands, the people going on with their business, the ugliness of the city and the liveliness of its people.
A feeling that Kristina also shares. "What is it with this city…?" she asked as we spoke on the phone the night before I left. "It has nothing playing in its favour, but I just love it." she said.
Yes the people. Ugly as it is, Taipei becomes beautiful thanks to its people.