I am going to be honest, I was a little nervous moving abroad. My brother was enjoying a great career at UCF, moving into his own apartment, and having a great relationship. My best friend has two wonderful dogs and a brilliant beautiful wife, and my other best friend is bringing in a sweet baby girl into the world. Then there is me. I am separating from everything and moving to Taiwan. I don’t have a job, or a place to live. I do not know the language. It is all Chinese with some Taiwanese. It is a bit daunting, but life is an adventure.
71 C represents the seat I was given by United to fly to Taiwan. It is pretty much the last row in the plane, and it represents how my next 24-48 hours of life before arriving to Taiwan took place.
Lets start off with the bad. It can only get better from there.
I was given the seat 71C, on a 13 hour flight from San Francisco to Taipei. What a way to start my trip. Next to the bathrooms, no leg room, aisle seat, pretty much the works. First thing I did was call United. They were very kind, and said EVA would have to change the seat for me. They gave me a phone number and then the reference number. So I called EVA, they said United assigned me the seat, and I would have to try to change it while in San Francisco. Ugh…. Could this be any worse?
Then I started to pack. I was ready. I had gear for hiking, traveling around SE Asia, and my clothes were packed. Boom ready for an adventure. Then I weighed my bag. Some expletives went out of my mouth as I knew I had too much weight. What was I going to do? Of course, leaving several items of my gear at home would help alleviate some of the weight. Not the happiest moments, but my dad could ship the gear to me at some point. Then as I rode to the airport, as you would imaging, I had also forgotten several key clothing items, books to read, and several unnecessary luxuries. It was all good the bad had ended, and I was off to a good start.
So in Taiwan, you need an Onward to ticket to secure a Visa. ( That is what I thought and heard. Got in without showing proof). I had read about a company called FlyOnward on a travel blog. I trust the blogger knew what he was talking about so I booked a 48 hour ticket. (The way the process works is you can book a ticket with the company. They put your name on the itinerary, buy a ticket from an airline, and the airline sends you the ticket. They then will cancel your ticket within 24-48 hours depending on what you choose. )
My friend Tom and I had discussed this. I told him I would try it out first. So I did. I then found a different company with better reviews called Best Onward. So I told Tom about it just in case FlyOnward would not work. As I found out the hard way, FlyOnward did not work at all. They, supposedly, booked a ticket for me. I never received it. So the freak out at about 4:45 in the morning, 15 minutes before I left my parents home to fly away, ensued and I was screwed. I booked a one way flight to Hong Kong, and boom I was safe. Later on, Tom will give us a review of Best Onward. Best Onward worked like a charm for my friend Tom. I was glad I assisted him.
71 C: Could there be any good out of 71C? Great question. Since my luck was down, I was just hoping that I could be kind and try for a better seat with the ticket lady. I landed in San Francisco for a 6 hour layover. It was not the most fun, but I ate some great food, met some interesting people, and did some reading.
I was flying with EVA air to Taipei. EVA air happens to be a super nice Airline. As I waited in line to get a different ticket, I was just hoping for a seat that was not 71C. That seat seemed pretty dreaded to me. As I was standing there waiting, the EVA lady asked me to come and check-in. I gave her my passport to check-in, and then she printed off the 71C ticket. I knew it may be over so I asked her “ Could I sit somewhere else?” Hoping beyond all hope that just maybe she would give me something better. She said “It is not that far back, but if you want I can give the exit row window seat in Row 45?” Of course, I was beyond excited! All the legroom, big screens to watch movies and tv, the row was the first economy row. I was elated! Very smoothly, I said “Yes, I will take it.”
There it was the beginning of a beautifully wonderful trip that could have been disastrous.
I have to say this just be nice to people, and ask kindly, and maybe you too could be in 45K. Yes, the best row is the Exit Row!!!