Sorry we’ve been a bit slack at keeping our latest news up to date. We’re off to Taipei city centre later today and we’ll see if there’s a good quiet place to do a short video update for a change.
First things first – we’ve had an interesting but quite isolating couple of days here in central Taoyuan, which is about 30km south-west of Taipei. Since we arrived in Taiwan neither Jean nor I have seen a single ‘westerner’, not even one tourist or business traveler, so we’re definitely in the heart of it. People are very friendly, but pretty much nobody at all speaks English. At one level that’s great, but at another it does make it quite difficult to find the extra fuel cans and pieces of plumbing we’re looking for. We’re eating in proper Taiwanese street dives though, and yesterday evening we had a great run with exercises up on the mountain here – about the only open space for miles around.
Check out just a few of the fruits and veggies that we don’t recognize.
It helps to be a lover of bikes in this place. Nothing fast, but a serious case of “One man one Scooter”. Check this out – lots of families of 4 on a 125cc beast, I just haven’t had a camera at the right moment to get two sweet kids with mum and dad all off for a visit!
This country is buzzing – it feels like a beehive of industrial activity. There’s a fair amount of trauma in the press at the moment (we get a copy of the English print “China Post” under our hotel door each morning) arising out of HP’s decision to sell off its PC division. That may mean the loss, over 2 to 3 years, of the manufacture of chip boards, printed circuits, keyboards, cases etc in Taiwan for HP’s PC market of 40 million PC’s per year. Jislaaik, it makes you think!
More important by far however than Taiwan’s little problems is the question of my and Jean’s route out of here. (You don’t want to be stuck competing with these 23 million hardworking people, I can tell you!). Michelle received the following email from the Japs yesterday-
From: JAS-Flight Support [mailto:email@example.com]Sent: 19 August 2011 13:27To: ‘Michelle Reinhardt’Subject: RE: Pilots licencesDear Michelle White / Flight PermitsFrom Yuko Naito / JASRef ZU-TAF / RJCC
We have sent following message 19 Aug 0654UTC./// QUOTE ///
We have talked with RJCC airport authority and they are not able to permit to operate to RJCC without airworthiness certificate.
This means that ZU-TAF is not able to operate within Japan due to regulation.Therefore, we (JAS) are not able to arrange all services at RJCC (JAPAN).Very sorry for inconvenience by regulation of Japan.
/// UNQUOTE ///
Sorry for your inconvenience.Thank you,Best regards,Yuko Naito
JAS Co., Ltd. ~Jump And Smile !~Tel: +81-3-5708-0088 / Fax:+81-3-5708-0090Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSo Jean and I sat down and did some planning. It looks like the easiest alternative is to go Guam, Marshall Islands (or perhaps Wake Island), Hawaii and then LA. The Marshall to Hawaii to LA legs are the reverse of what Mike and I did in 2009 – but against the wind this time, which is a bit nasty. But with a bit of planning we should be fine. Here’s a shot which shows what the new section would look like in yellow.
Michelle’s already got the Marshall Islands permission and Hawaii (US) is also done. We couldn’t get Guam over the weekend as we needed our insurer to sign a form, but hopefully we can get that today. If we can we’ll leave tomorrow (Tuesday) early morning. Otherwise we’ll leave as soon as it’s forthcoming.
Right now we’re keen to get into central Taipei, so I’m going to sign off. Tonight I promise to do a bit of a write-up on the Sling 4 performance and fuel burn and perhaps also some of my thoughts on the new route (including some of my fears about the old route!). In some ways the new route is an easier option, despite the fact that two of the legs are longer ones and into the wind. More about that later.
Meanwhile, here’re some more images of Taoyuan – I wonder how many of us are ever destined to get here (again). Someone apparently said, “If you think the world’s a small place, you obviously haven’t tried flying around it lately.” To me it’s a bit different though, something like, “If you imagine that your life and culture are special or important, go out there and have a look at how many other people are living their lives in ways you can only dimly comprehend or imagine.”
J and J