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posted Aug 28, 2010, 10:59 PM by Charles Boling   [ updated Aug 29, 2010, 12:17 AM ]
Our stay at the Taipei airport was actually rather pleasant and Jonathan burned up a lot of energy there. It was 8:00 p.m. The only concern was that we didn't have seats together. But the flight wasn't full, so it was easy for Charles to switch his seat with the single man that had the seat next to Michele. So all was good there. When we boarded the plane and he was definitely tired and cranky. We sat for about 20 minutes before actually taking off and he fell asleep in his chair just before take-off. Once we weren't arching so steeply, Michele made a bed on the floor in front of her seat and his, with his blanket, the airline's pillow and the airline's blanket. He slept there for about an hour while Michele grabbed just a bit of a nap too.

But then he was up with vengeance and not happy at all about the entire situation. He cried and fussed and yelled off and on. Eventually he and Michele settled into a pattern of her pulling out a new and interesting toy and him playing with it for awhile, getting bored, watching part of a cartoon and then doing it all over again. He did this for about 3 to 3 ½ hours. Finally Michele was nodding off (it was now midnight) and she knew he must be tired too since his “normal” nap that afternoon was only half an hour or so. So she “forced” him to lay down again. He complained about it, but eventually settled down. Once he relaxed he was asleep instantly.

Michele slept rather well considering she was in an airplane seat. Freeing up Jonathan's seat allowed for more options - she'd sleep in one position for about 45 minutes then have to totally readjust to another position. Charles, who says “I can't sleep on airplanes” actually slept for an hour or two by stretching out and using the table trays on the back of the seats as leg rests.

This airplane wasn't nearly as nice as the last trans-pacific flight's. It didn't have the recharging station that the other's did and the seats weren't as nice. But it did have a movie menu with games you could play and other things to watch and do. The interactive flight data was actually better because it gave all the information you always want to know: what time is it where we left, what time is it where we are going, how much longer until we land, altitude, ground speed etc... as well as a visual map showing the route flown.

The stewardess made us wake Jonathan up to put him in his seat when we hit a little bit of turbulence. That was annoying. It was still an hour and a half before we landed and the seatbelt light went off just a few minutes after Michele was forced to wake him up and strap him in his seat. Of course he threw a fit about that. It was not pleasant for about another half hour until he woke up enough to be able to start playing with things again.

The landing was uneventful, but we were very surprised at the amount of time it took to get through the San Fransisco airport. First we had to go through immigration – which, with Jonathan being an immigrant meant we had to wait through two lines instead of one. Actually the wait through one of the lines wasn't too bad because we met a single mom of Chinese-descent with her two little boys on the plane and they were waiting in line with us. These boys were five and seven and just adored Jonathan.

The immigration officer that processed Jonathan's paperwork (that is where we ended up handing over all the VISA documentation) seemed relieved to finally get someone (meaning us) who's first language was English. He was quite curt with the other immigrants it seemed because of the language barrier.

Then we had to go through customs – which was another line. Then we had to claim all of our baggage we had checked. We took all of our luggage to a different side of the airport (following confusing signs) in order to check to have it go through security then check it in again (which were two more lines). Then we went through “normal” security – which again, was another line! It was amazing the difference in airport security in China and America. China is much like America was 30 years ago – they don't automatically assume you are the enemy until proven innocent (like America does)!

We wandered from there (once we got our shoes back on, Jonathan back in the stroller and his shoes back on) down to our gate. We got there about 45 minutes or so before boarding. Right at our gate was a kid's play area that Jonathan really enjoyed. There were some things to climb on, a tornado machine and a few little science displays. He alternated between that and playing on the moving sidewalks :-). Charles called Michele's dad via the Wi-Fi connection at the airport and let him know our status.

By the time we finally got on the plane to head home (it was only slightly late) Jonathan was SO tired. He only slept 5 ½ hours on the plane over the Pacific and the day before he only had 2 short naps. So he was CRANKY once we started pulling out onto the runway. He screamed himself to sleep finally – he curled up on the chair next to Michele.

Michele used Jonathan's sleep time to work on the computer. Jonathan slept the rest of the way into Portland – he didn't get up again until we were disembarking. Getting off the plane and getting our luggage was very smooth and easy. Michele's dad came to the curb and picked us up. We had an enjoyable ride home chatting about the trip and the kids.

We're sure glad to be home!!!!!!!

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