We make holes in teeth!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Day 0: The Packing

The time between leaving work and getting on the plane to Taiwan constitutes approximately 30 hours. While not part of "the trip", per se, it is the first part of vacation, much of which will involve things like packing and shaving and the like. Thus, the second I walk out the door our vacation starts in some nebulous and technical way. I don't feel like I'm on a cross world odyssey as I stand here in Penn Station NY. But that doesn't mean I haven't taken the first step to trot the globe. A wise Asian guy once said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Actually I have no idea who said what, nor do I know what that guy may have actually said. Point being, one step at a time, hot pants. I'm sure a wise Asian guy once said, "Hey let's add some peanuts to this kung pow chicken. I bet it will rock." He was right, peanuts in kung pow chicken do rock. I can also assure you that no self-respecting Asian chef would stoop so low as to put celery in his kung pow chicken.

Day 0 will be the getting ready, the trip prep. Don't expect things to get too exciting just yet, though I may pop a beer tonight. I will do my best to keep this as close to real time as possible. Like I said before, computers are ubiquitous in Taiwan and my BB will work there, in theory. These posts will probably be a bit longer than my usual flash-in-the-pan style, assuming I have time to write every day.

Day 1 will be the flight, which will cover about 24 hours of our life but 36 hours of "clock". We leave the house Saturday at 7:30 pm and get to Taiwan close to 7:00 am Monday. We lose 12 hours because they're ahead of us by that much. At the same time, day 14 will be my last day there as well as the flight back. I leave 6:00 Saturday night and return by 9:00 Saturday night. So I get my 12 hours back then.

Days 2-13 will be on the ground, the bulk of the vacation. I think we're looking at Taipei for 4 days, Lotung for 2, back to Taipei that Sunday to spend the day with my MTBNJ teammate Nelson. Then it's free-form for the next 5 days though I suspect we'll be back in Lotung much of that week. Figure a solid 50-50 split between the 2 places. Those of you interested in the actual location can find a map of Taiwan and see Taipei up north. Ilan is in the Northeast and Lotung is just south of that. Maybe that gives you a mental image of where we are as you read along and wonder where in the world is Norman Sandiego. I would link a map but it's hard to find the time and all.

There ya go, the pregame outlook of what to expect. I have to admit, despite all of my hand wringing in the post this morning I'm totally psyched to go. A little fearful? Yes. But it's an adventure. Why do I sign up for 24 hour bike races? Same story, to take life by the feet and hang it upside down a bit. The flight will be tough, but it has a payoff on the other end that we're excited to cash in on. Coming back won't be fun. I've never gone without seeing my baby for much more than 24 hours and I won't see her for 14 1/2 days, which is going to be a little depressing. At the same time, I should have a new bike waiting for me on the flip side. So I can cuddle with that and read it stories at night if I need to.

With that, the story begins...

Brooklyn Chocolate stout in fridge. Shave. Dinner. Clean kitchen. Start packing. Make decaf. Call parents. Laundry. Watch Mickey Mouse. Drink beer. Send team email. Enjoy beer to the point that nothing else got done.

Friday night now, 10:55 pm. We've managed to stretch Julia out that she stays up until 11:00 at night which is going to be key for our 10:10 flight. We should be up in the air and at cruising altitude by the time she's ready to sleep. Then we're hoping she pounds out a mostly solid 6 hours of sleep before our Anchorage layover. I don't think that will go over that well but it is what it is. After that the remainder of the flight will play out as it plays out. We will sleep when she sleeps and she will sleep when she wants to.

The reality of the trip is setting in now. This is always a big vacation and with child it's even more so. For no good reason neither of us is afraid of the flight now. I don't know why since it makes absolutely no sense. But we both think she's going to do just fine on the plane. We're both worried about the jet lag and how that's going to play out. I have no reasonable guess on that to be honest.

We're way ahead of the game right now. Mostly done packing and a whole day tomorrow to tie up loose ends, of which there are several. But nothing that can't be had before we roll at 7:30. For now, time to get 1 night of decent sleep while I still have the chance.

Saturday afternoon, 2:00 pm. The official pre-vacation weigh-in comes in at 186, so that's what I'll measure against when I get back. Hoping to keep it under 190 for the trip. Taking a breather right now and having a cup of coffee, 2/3 Sumatra and 1/3 India Monsoon. If push came to shove we could be ready to go inside an hour so we're in good shape. Dropped the GPS and trainer off at the UPS store to return both. Nat went out for her errands. Everything is coming together.

Got some exercise on the trainer this morning while Nat was out. Then I packed it up. The grandparents came for a last visit. My mom is bummed she won't see her for a month. Nothing remarkable today, which is exactly what you want. The weather is rough so that could monkey wrench the flight. Put in a new headlight bulb on the Jetta. All good, all good.

Not much else to report right so I won't make this laborious. Going to sit back and enjoy the next 2 hours of relative peace while Julia winds down and gets ready for her nap. She eventually went down at 3:15. We're hoping she naps until 5:00. Then we finish packing and we're ready. I just submitted the team jersey design files. That should be wrapped up in 2 weeks and then it will go to press. Still debating all the bike accessories or not. Do I bring a helmet or try to find one?

I'm going to call this a wrap on Day 0. It's only 4:45 but the next 3 hours will probably go fast. So I may not get a chance to publish before I walk out the door. The toughest part of the trip is up. Day 1: The Flight. Wish us luck.

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