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January 17, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                           TAIPEI TO LAX

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There is no nonstop flight from Kuala Lumpur to the United States, so this plane always stops in Taipei. That was fine with me. I prefer to get up and walk around Ė even if itís only an hour or so. Besides, I had never been to Taiwan. Even though I had no time to explore, I could see some of it by staring out the window on landing. As we descended I looked feverishly for Taipei 101 (the tallest building in the world), but when I asked the flight attendant to point it out she said itís in the city -- a good 45-minute drive away.

When we landed everyone had to get off the plane and take their belongings, for another security check. I imagined the Taipei airport to be modern, with lots of cool stores, and thought an hour would be nowhere near enough time. Boy, was I wrong. This place is the pits! It might be the worst airport Iíve ever seen. Itís old, dark and depressing, with low ceilings. In the terminal we were in I did not see any places to eat. And there were no stores worth visiting except Taiwan Original Resident Art, which sold attractive local necklaces cheaply. The only impressive thing about the airport were the store clerks. While pricing out some gifts, I realized I had no idea of the exchange rate on this island nation. But all the clerks carried calculators, and before you could ask they punched the keypad faster than a mad scientist, then gave the conversion in your local currency. How did they know where people were from? Just by looking at them! FYI: $1 USD = 32 Taiwan New Dollars.

How many times have you been excited to get on an 11-hour, 15-minute flight? Well, I was (and I couldnít wait to get out of the Taipei airport). On the flight to L.A. there was a whole new flight crew. They were friendly as well, though not as attentive as the last bunch. Donít get me wrong -- they were still great. I did try to sleep for a couple of hours on this flight, but it was difficult. I was too busy making movies from my around- the-world trip (and eating). The food on this flight was also excellent. For dinner I had "three cup chicken" (slowly braised in Chinese spices), and just before touching down I had breakfast. I ordered French toast with orange cream cheese filling, but I could have had either a mushroom frittata or fried noodles.

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Pictures From

The Trip


Landing In Taipei


Taipei Airport




New Crew


Huge Table


Great Food


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