Stranded Friends

stranded friends in Tokyo

With a five hours delay, the flight from Chicago to Tokyo finally took off.  The connection to Taipei was long gone when we arrived. In the yellow street light of Tokyo, a group of us were bussed to a hotel, free coupons for meals in hand, wore out and jet lagged. We were told that we each have three minutes of free international calls from our rooms, so we could tell families where we are.

Waiting for the next Boeing 777 to come from Europe

I stroke a conversation with some of the sleepy travelers. We ended up forming a nice little group. We checked in together, had dinner and breakfast together, and even tried to get seated together onboard of the Taipei flight next morning, as if we had traveled as a group all along.

Among us, we have a librarian, an engineer, someone who oversees two Japanese restaurants in Chicago, someone who went to Johns Hopkins to submit a dissertation proposal for a medical doctoral degree, someone who markets strapping equipment, and someone who went to Oswego, NY to visit a friend. 

Travelers at the Narita airport

Among us, we are coming to Taipei to take care of a mother who is about to go under a surgery, to start a machine to complete a technology transfer, to show up in the office this very afternoon so the staff’s English letters are checked for fluency before getting sent to clients, and to work on designs of tests certifying government employees in various jobs.  

Going Taipei, finally!

Among us we have three singles, we talked about meeting the magic love for life;

We talked about Boston and the unforgettable architecture there, about demolition of some Chinese old buildings here in the rush to modernize;  

About the preference of Asian for pale skin as the symbol of beauty for ladies, it is interesting that sun tan is more favored in America; 

Someone has never seen snow and would love to see a big one, and someone would love to go to the Disney World;

Someone wants advice on how to be more fluent in English;

And a visit to South Taiwan is a must, for it is said to be slow-paced, far more authentic than the big city that is Taipei… 

When we parted, we said we should plan for a gathering a year from now to celebrate the wonderful experience being friends, strained but happily together.

    • Deb
    • November 9th, 2010

    Xin–leave it to you to make something so positive out of a nightmare travel experience🙂

    • Irene Ke
    • November 9th, 2010

    What a wonderful piece, Xin! There are wonderful people around us. It is ironic because you would never know each other if the flight wasn’t delayed! I guess everything has its positive side, if we look for it.

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