On the road again - A Month in Taiwan - CycleBlaze

December 17, 2018

On the road again

On the road again / Goin' places that I've never been / Seein' things that I may never see again / and I can't wait to get on the road again.  W. Nelson

Hey, wait!  We’re already on the road, and have been for months. Different day, different places, same ol’ road.  If I were Jack Kerouac, I’d just keep scrolling along.

If you’re new to this scroll though and starting here, you could catch up a bit first by scrolling back a few sheets to An Autumn by the Sea, where we were preparing to leave our hotel in Girona literally moments ago.

Didn’t we just see something like this?
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As a good friend recently observed, transitions are inherently stressful. Everything will feel much better when we arrive at our hotel in Taipei, reassemble our bikes, and regain the illusion that matters are under our control again.  For the moment though we’re mired in no man’s land, where in spite of our best efforts to prepare well there’s always the risk that something unforeseen will throw a wrench in the works.

Our journey begins with a bus ride to the Barcelona airport, which conveniently stops a block and a half from our hotel at 8:28.  Or so we were told by the hotel staff we when we checked in six days ago, and again last night.  When we checked out this morning though the man on duty was less sure, and thought we should go to the station about a half mile away.  There’s no time for that, so we walk to the bus stop and hope for the best.  If we miss the bus, we’ll bite the bullet and pay 140 euros to catch a taxi instead.

The entire block is one big bus stop, on both sides.  A bus is just arriving as we pull up, and we ask the driver if this is the bus to the airport.  He says no, and suggests we go to the station.  We look around, see schedules posted on the walls of the two shelters on our side of the road, and with relief find the one for our bus.  Looking more closely though, Rachael notes that it only posts the schedule from Barcelona to Girona,  not the other way around.  We’re on the wrong side of the street.  We hustle across the busy road to the other side with our luggage, impatiently waiting for the walking green, and arrive at the correct spot at 8:27.  In the meantime, three or four buses have arrived and departed.  Are we on time?

Five minutes later, as we’re wondering how long we should wait before heading back to the hotel to call a cab, our bus arrives.  On the road again!

Not this one, either.
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On the bus! Another catastrophe averted.
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Ten minutes later Rachael announces that she needs to use the facilities, and looks around.  There are none.  It’s a two and a half hour ride to the airport.

Stress, stress, stress.  At least the bus has WiFi, so I can get caught up on the blog while we wait for life to start up again.

Nearly three hours later (the bus is behind schedule), we arrive at the airport.  Happily Rachael has neither exploded nor embarrassed the team over the last few hours, though there’s definitely a first order of business to attend to.

The Barcelona airport confuses us a bit, but it’s really quite well organized and efficient.  We have no trouble checking in for our flight (on Emirates, with a stopover in Dubai), and after destressing a bit over an early lunch we make our way to our departure gate.  There are a few anxious moments when a team of security agents stares hard at our GPS devices and discusses them amongst themselves before giving us the nod; and a few more at passport control, when our officer stares at our previous entry stamps and confirms that we’ve stayed a legal amount of time.  We’re at 90 days exactly today, but I stood wondering for a minute whether I’d gotten the math correct.

So, we’re sitting here waiting for departure for Dubai, looking out the window one last time at a beautiful day in beautiful Catalonia.  Hopefully we’ll make it back someday.  Next stop, Taipei.  See you tomorrow.

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