Went back to The States for about five weeks this past December/January to spend Christmas with my parents and siblings (since pretty much from here on out, I'm only gonna be making it back to The States once per year....so five weeks was ample).
Had what was a severely cheap air ticket from Hanoi to Portland (like, a grand incd. ALL taxes and fees....and that was from December 9th thru January 15th....right during the holidays). This, of course, always means that you will have a 16-hour layover in Bumblefukk, Mongolia followed by a 13-hour layover in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.
Dude - there's a reason why you paid only a grand for that ticket.....
But, seriously: I ended up with a nine-hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan on the way to PDX. "Well...ya gotta do what ya gotta do...." I thought to myself. So, I figgered that I'd hunker down and become really well-acquainted with Taipei's airport.
So, I git off of the plane at the airport and blindly just follow the crowd which leads me to the Immigration and Customs section. So, for the pure hell of it, I decide to ask a lady in a uniform if I can get a visa-on-arrival at the border (airport, in this case) like some countries offer.
"What country are you a citizen of?"
"The United States....."
"Oh! No, no visa needed. If you have a passport, you can go right through."
"NO SHIT????" I thought to myself.
Got some instructions, took a bus to their bullet-train, and hopped that into central Taipei City. Walked all over the place, rode their tube, went to the top of Taipei 101 and just had an amazing time. VEEEEERRRRY first-world, polite and friendly people, clean, VERY orderly (traffic isn't going in ten different directions including the wrong-way down a one-way street and also ON the sidewalk with a cacophony of about 50,000 car and motorcycle horns blaring at the same time like in Vietnam) and lots to see, eat and do. Yeah, it was only nine hours, but I really, really got good vibes from the place. Next time, it'll be a DESTINATION trip, not a layover.
Like Taiwan A LOT! Having a few pipe dreams of relocating there in the future.....further investigation is warranted....
In a few days - A faux-pas, thoughts about maybe heading out of Vietnam, and beers with the Dali Lama......