I traveled to Taipei, Taiwan in December. I left home on a Monday and then left Taiwan on the following Monday. It was the return trip that, due to crossing the international date line, created my longest Monday ever. It also created a unique claim that I can make. More on that in a bit.
My husband was sent multiple times this fall to Taipei this fall for work, a couple weeks at a time. I decided to take advantage of that and joined him for part of his third trip back in December. Using frequent flyer miles, I got my roundtrip plane ticket for $37. I was excited about that, but it also ended up meaning that I didn't have the most direct set of flights to get there. Roughly 33 hours of travel time in each direction. Yowza! Not the direct route. After a rocky start with flights in and out of Dallas cancelled, I amazingly made it through the rest without issue.
Rochester -> Chicago -> Dallas -> Los Angeles -> Honolulu -> Taipei
Taipei -> Honolulu -> Los Angeles -> Chicago -> Rochester
Since my husband was there working, and I was short on vacation days, I planned on working some of the time out of the IBM office in Taipei. I love how I can get my job done from any location. The IBM office is conveniently located next to Taipei 101, Taiwan's tallest skyscraper and currently the third tallest in the world. The elevator goes from floor 5 to the observatory on floor 89 in 37 seconds. It's cool. One of the interesting things about working in the Taipei office was that at certain times in the day the intercom played music or all of the lights just shut off for a minute or so. Apparently it's an indicator for break times and lunch. My husband wouldn't let me go to lunch the first day until after the lights had shut off. Wait for it....wait for it...OK! Now we can go.
Luckily it wasn't all work, and I found plenty of time to see and do a lot while I was there. We regularly visited the bakeries and sampled pastries, visited night markets, ate dumplings at Din Tai Fung (I especially loved the Xiao Long Bao), went to the zoo, saw temples and generally wandered around taking in the city and trying to not get run over by traffic. One of my favorite activities was an all day tour to Taroko Gorge National Park. We took a short flight to the eastern side of the island, got on a bus and escaped from the city for a day among mountains and marble canyons. It was beautiful.
And then it was Monday again and time to go home. I turned in my visitor badge at the IBM office on Monday afternoon, went out to eat one last time and then headed to the airport. As my flight landed in Honolulu (Monday morning *again* after the 9 hour flight), I had a text from my coworker Norio, who I had yet to meet even after working together for years. We had arranged to meet up during my layover. He found me in the international arrival area and greeted me with a beautiful lei. It was awesome. We had lunch, talked a little L3 support shop and stopped by the nearby IBM office for a bit. It was now Monday afternoon again. I had now been to 2 different IBM offices in 2 different countries and continents all in the same afternoon! I found that slightly amusing. And even more odd since this wasn't a work trip. As we walked through the office, Norio tried to tell me he didn't work *on* the beach and that the traffic wasn't so great, but the view out of the window at the office was pretty nice and you could see the nearby ocean and a bit of the beach. I'm not feeling too bad for him. ;) It was a beautiful sunny day and I'm so glad he took the time to get me out of the airport to enjoy it a little before I had to head home to sub-zero temperatures.
After that, the rest of the trip was about getting home, but there's one last fun fact. I left Taipei at 7:40 pm on Monday. My husband left at 9:40 am on Tuesday with a completely different airline. He arrived in Rochester 20 minutes ahead of me! However, he did not get to enjoy an afternoon in Hawaii like I did.