Well, so far we are halfway through the trip and are still going strong. We started off the day by taking the high speed rail to Taipei from Kaosiung and it was quite a ride traveling at 172 mph. When we arrived at the main station, we took the local MRT and ended up in the hotel common room talking about the rest of the day. After lunch at the food courts, we took the MRT to the Sunyatsen memorial hall and watched the guards (guarding the monument) step down from their shifts at five o'clock to return in the morning. We ended the day by looking down from the 89th floor of the Taipei 101 and returned to the hotel.
I think that halfway is a big turning point on any trip because it's a good way of telling how well you're able to keep up. It also tells how comfortable you are with your surroundings. One thing that was brought to our attention was that our group as a whole was not giving a good impression to the public where we travelled. I think that we showed a sense of selfishness and were acting self centered compared to other groups of kids traveling. It was pointed out that we were loud and inconsiderate of others just trying to get somewhere in peace. On a good note, our group is still going strong and there is positive attitude throughout.
We're here... I don't even know what time it is... but we're all on two legs. Coming from the Hyatt in Seoul, where efficiency, modern amenities, and breakfast buffets featuring eight courses for each breakfast item (eggs eight ways, toast eight ways, waffles eight ways, dim sum eight ways and so on....) are the norm... Kathmandu is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. We were processed through the Seoul airport in a grand total of about 10 minutes for the entire group... we arrived in Kathmandu after a seven-hour flight, took a 25-second bus ride around the corner of a building, exited, and then entered the line for immigration and our visas. We were in line for over 2 1/2 hours. Although hot, thirsty, and exhausted, our group maintained their perky spirit - we joked about doing a flash mob and maybe will consider doing this on our return venture.
We exited the airport to clean, if dusty, air and hundreds of people waiting outside in the parking lot. Many were day laborers looking to help us with our bags. All bags were loaded onto a bus and we piled in and went on a crazy ride through the streets, avoiding thousands of people on mopeds, bicycles, tricycles carrying construction equipment, with kids playing, chickens, goats, other tour buses, students in uniform, beggars, people coming home from work talking on cellphones, monkeys, and dogs.
Mellow night here... dinner, more cards... sleep