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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hello, Kitty

There is as yet no scientific term for the eye-blink interval between the end of my last trip and the start of planning for the next one. It's slightly less than the moment it takes a Parisian shopkeeper to size me up as an American, and slightly longer than it takes a car to appear out of nowhere angrily flashing headlights in my rearview mirror when I pull into the left lane on an apparently empty Italian autostrada.

This year the choice of destination was easy.  A whirlwind visit to Hong Kong in 2010 convinced my husband and me that a week was nowhere near enough time in this fascinating city and environs.  There were markets unexplored, dim sum restaurants untried, and Lan Kwai Fong pubs unexperienced. So back across the Pacific we're headed.

My major planning challenge is what the military calls "mission creep." It's far too easy for me to look at a map and think, "Gee, we're only an inch away from Singapore, we should add that in.  And while we're there we could make a day trip to Kuala Lumpur." Thankfully my husband is skilled at project-managing my trip planning, and has so far succeeded in averting catastrophe.

But we will visit at least one other city this time.  We plan to fly to Hong Kong on Taiwan-based EVA, ensuring a change of plane in Taipei. This choice seemed uncontroversial until my husband learned that the airline has chosen to paint some of its planes in a distinctive "Hello Kitty" livery.

Now, my husband is as secure in his manhood as any male can possibly be.  But the prospect of traveling in a flying comic book nearly proved too much, and he refused to be seen on such a conveyance.  I reminded him that fourteen hours in the air is a long time to spend with a paper bag over one's head, plus it's really hard to watch the in-flight movies that way. He finally relented when I learned that the cartoon livery isn't used on EVA's long-haul routes. But I avoided mentioning the possibility that we'd be on one of these cute planes on the Taipei-Hong Kong leg.

This will be our first visit Taipei, and any itinerary suggestions are welcome.  Plus advice on how to navigate the airport with a paper bag over one's head.

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