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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

I'm loosing my mind now, no idea what day it is...

TAIWAN | Wednesday, 25 July 2007 | Views [873]

This is getting harder to write. So many things have happened, and we have been to so many places and met so many people that I'm struggling to remember where we started this morning...!

...ah yes, in the posh hotel in central north Seoul city... I remember! Once again it was a crap night's sleep. I didn't go to bed until late, partly due to writing the last novel, but also because I expected to lie there awake anyway... which I still did even after climbing into bed late and tired... rubbish!

When the alarm went off this morning it felt like I was dreaming it... it's ok, I thought, it's not really going off... oh bollocks, it really is going off... So, forced myself into the shower to wake up. This bathroom was much nicer than the last place and had a movable shower head which was nice, although it wouldn't reach all the way between my legs which was a little disappointing... (just kidding, calm yourselves!)

This morning I took the risk of dressing in the tidy clothes which we were going to wear to the meeting, which I had not risked on previous mornings for fear of throwing some dodgy breakfast items down the nice white shirt and leaving myself short of clothes. Being a little later getting up and wanting to be in the lobby on time after breakfast I decided to take the risk...

I had to go down two floors to knock on SJ's door, not sure why they couldn't house us next door to one another, not that it matters...his room had a much better view than mine, he could see some of the city from there and had taken a couple of snaps. We had to do some searching for the breakfast room, but it was worth it... freshly prepared omelette's and fried eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, beans, scrambled eggs, they had the lot! About time, a proper breakfast instead of last nights savory Chinese left overs... this place was way better already.

We loaded up two pretty much identical plates of breakfast, grabbed a deep glass of fresh orange juice and took a pew. Breakfast was great, they even had salt and pepper on the table, something that did not happen in China. The BBC news was on on the big plasma tv on the wall and it showed the terrible flooding in Gloucester and Oxford areas, what a nightmare! After breakfast I had a proper cuppa, and SJ had a coffee, which must have been good as he stood and waited by the machine for about 5 minutes for it!

We went back to our rooms to clean teeth etc and get our bags. I flicked the tv on as we had ten minutes and managed to catch the goals and action from Man Utd's tour of Asia which was cool... it'd give me something other than printers to discuss with the Korean's today, as they are sure to love Manu! ;-)

I grabbed my bags, put back the few things I'd stolen from the room(I always get a guilty conscious!) and left to meet downstairs.

We checked out and waited in the lobby for our lift to arrive. The nause alert bell boy was loitering again... what a knob he was! I was determined to not let him carry my bag, that'll learn him... ;-/

Our lift arrived and we walked out into the warm Seoul air. I assumed that it was just the guy who dropped us off who was coming to pick us up, and unbeknown to me he had brought the boss of the company with him to collect us, who I thought was another busybody bell boy (albeit in a different uniform to the others!) and refused his help to load my bag into the car!! LOL! What a dick... anyway, he didn't bat an eyelid luckily. I jumped in the back of the car, and wondered what the hell matey-boy the bell boy was doing climbing in the front... bloody cheek! Obviously I quickly learnt that this was the main man... hehehe.

The city looks even more impressive in day light, and the trip to their printer factory took a while as it was super busy, so SJ and bossman began discussing things on route, which in hind site was a good thing, as the day was short and we were going to run out of time fast in the afternoon.

Part way along one of the main roads a car pulls up along side and is beeping his horn and waving at us, turns out we have a flat tire on the back of the car... this trip seems littered with mishaps! Luckily we are not far from the factory, and after a quick stop to check it out and find that it is not completely flat, we decide to press on to the factory and get it sorted from there.

The boss had made excuses for the factory being only small, but he was so humble about everything all day, and it may have only been a small space they occupied, but it was exactly as I'd imagined it to be. The office space was tidy and orderly and the factory was immaculately clean, well tooled and laid out and looked the part. We sat in the meeting room and were introduced to the partners who make the machines and began discussing what we were there for... there also followed a tour of the assembly area, where we had a good nose at everything and took a few pictures. The new A1 printer looks good by the way to those that care! (you know who you are)

We were then going to hop across town to the main offices and have lunch, which was to be followed by a visit to the inks factory and then onto the airport where we were off to Taiwan!

We got to the main office block of the company and went inside and straight to the restaurant. At this point, neither SJ or myself were feeling like eating particularly, we had eaten a big breakfast and were getting fed up with constantly being fed by everyone we visited. But, we could not say no to the hospitality and generosity of these guys, they were very nice people and the day was going well... I decided to try and do my best and I assume SJ did too.

We walked in the restaurant and SJ's face was a picture, the tables were all about 1 foot high and the diners were sat on the floor eating... lol! Fortunately they had dining tables around the corner and we were going to use those... the bossman told us that he would order a traditional dish, which would be the small traditional dish of the country, and that this was a special treat... here we go again!

I can't even begin to recall exactly what we had, but it translated to about 9 courses! They were mostly really nice too, they eat a lot of veg, and like it fooking hot, it is much healthier stuff than the Chinese food we've been eating. SJ gave up pretty early into this meal, he was not feeling to good.

From here we went upstairs in the building to their offices and chatted with the new sales guy they had just taken on (we'd met the rest before in the UK). From here we were supposed to go and see the ink factory, but time had flown by and we needed a good hour to get to the airport to check in in time for our flight to Taiwan, so we had to go. Hopefully we'll get to come back some time and we can see it then. They might even be in the new office block opposite their current place, which they aspire to. All the top companies work from this other block, and they want to make a statement! Lol! Hopefully we (Identify) can help them achieve it... :-D

We got a lift with the tech guy and the main sales guy to the airport as they were off to Singapore for a show. So we had a good chat on the way about nothing much in particular, myself and the sales guy making fun at the tech guys slightly poorer English vocabulary. To be fair though, it is still superb, a whole lot better than my Korean! Both SJ and I were very tired and he was nodding in and out of sleep for most of the journey. It is really catching up with us now...

We got to the airport and very easily found where we had to check in. One of the Korean guys stayed with us while the other parked their car. SJ was now starting to look really rough, going pretty white and he had to spend some serious time in the bathroom before we checked in. We said goodbye to the Korean guys and went to check our bags in. SJ was looking more unsteady on his feet and whiter now... we checked in, and after my bag problems we hung around nearby to make sure they went through the scanner ok. They did and no alarms of lights went off! We went and sat down and SJ was now looking green and not well at all. I went to get some bottles of water for us while he sat near to the check in desk.I bumped into the guys from the company when walking for water, and they walked back up with me to where SJ was.

SJ pointed me to a door near check in, and said that a security guard wanted to see me in there... the fucking Sure had set their alarms off again!! Stupid bloody stuff... I went in there and the security guard was very young, we actually had a bit of a laugh about the cans setting off once he'd seen them. It isn't bloody funny any more though, I've a good mind to write to sure and complain about their sodding tins!!!

Anyway, sorted that nonsense out, repacked my bag and went back out to where the guys were sat... by now SJ looked seriously ill, and the guys were pretty concerned too. One of them went of to see a chemist and try to get something to help, which was handy. I was worrying that we might have to stay here at this point, it didn't look like SJ could fly and we might have to find a doctor... :-/

When our man came back with some medicine, SJ was back in the bathroom. We waited about 10 mins and I had to go check he was ok. He was barely audible from inside the cubicle, so I waited nearby for him to come out. He tried the stuff that the chemist has given us, and I'm not sure that it worked. We sat and waited now, hoping that it might help out, the clock was ticking on our flight too...

After a bit of a chat, SJ decided that he should probably attempt the flight. At least if we got to Taiwan, even if we couldn't make the business meetings the next day, we were within touch of our very expensive flight home... We went through the security checks and walked slowly to the departure lounge. By the time we got there, they were ushering the last of the passengers on, and SJ needed one more visit to the loo. By now there was nothing left to come out, so this was obviously just making it all more painful, what he really needed to do was curl up into a ball and go to sleep, some where warm. We went to board and I asked one more time if he thought it was best to get on the plane, he didn't really deep down, but at the same time I think he wanted to try and get to Taiwan. It also meant he might get some shut eye and would at least be sat down!

We got on board, stowed are hand luggage and sat down. It must have been a welcome relief for SJ, and after using a sick bag before take off, he was at least secure in a chair and didn't have to move for a while. I sat there through the hole flight, pretty much bricking it hoping he would do ok, watching his breathing, which was sporadic at best and keeping some water nearby. They brought out the smelliest meals ever, which didn't bloody help. I refused mine, that would have been horrible for him with it sat next to him! He drifted in and out of sleep and we eventually landed in Taiwan. By now he had some colour back in the his face and hands, and although it was skant consolation for someone feeling shite, I think he was glad to hear that at least there was some colour now... I know I was relieved!!

I think partly due to the fact we were safely in Taiwan, he perked up enough to get off the plane, through baggage claim and through the customs malarkey. Gladly this all went smoothly and even the heat scanner(!) at the quarantine screening was clear on him... phew, fuck knows what we'd have done if they'd impounded him for carrying a bug or something! :-/

The lovely lady from the laser company we're visiting tomorrow was waiting for us, and after a quick explanation of SJ's predicament, we were in her air conditioned car out of the intense heat of Taiwan, and on our way to the hotel. It was an hour drive and SJ was snoring nicely in the back while I employed my best small talk with Lu lu (dunno if thats how its spelt!) on route to the hotel. She even stopped to buy us a bottle of water each, as we'd had no time to sort any cash out...

Not sure what will happen tomorrow, it largely depends on how SJ is feeling, I'll get up about 7:30 and talk to him to see how he's feeling. The people we're meeting changed our schedule yesterday and we are supposed to be undertaking an impromptu 4 hour round trip by train to see a machine in action! I seriously doubt he'll be fit for that one...!

The hotel is fantastic by the way, really posh. They have a massive atrium the height of the hotel, with a restaurant at the bottom of it and the lift shafts running up inside it and the room doors all around it on every floor, mega! The room is very nice with a luxury bathroom with gold fittings and separate walk in shower and bath. The company we are visiting insisted on paying for it too! Can't be cheap... I accidentally added a burger and a cold coke to that bill too once SJ was safely tucked away in his comfy room, I haven't eaten since the lush lunch in Korea, bleedin' starvin! I also broke the damn window in my room...! I opened it to get a better picture of the night view over Taipei and the bastard thing would not close! I fiddled with the catch and hinge for ages and couldn't make it close, I think I had to pull this lever thingy up, but it felt like it was going to break off in my hand... I had to call house keeping to sort it and they sent a little Taiwanese lady up who closed it easily using the lever I thought I was going to break...what a twat! Lol. Anyway, I got one picture of the night view, and a nice smell of the city... hehehehe

My burger turned up soon afterwards and was lush. Western style food is so nice after eating that Chinese stuff for so many days... it is nice, don't get me wrong, loads better than anything Chinese you can pick up in England, but when it is repeated like it has been, it gets a bit much!

The aircon in here is freezing, lol.

I really should go to bed now...

Hope SJ is doing ok...

Who knows what tomorrow will bring!!!

Ciao!
Sloggs

Picture album from this trip on Facebook

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