I need to pack. I leave for Taipei, Taiwan (by way of a long-ish layover at LAX) at roughly 8amCT on Saturday, meaning I need to leave the house by 6:15am. Tomorrow night, I’m going to Ravinia with friends, so I need to pack tonight.
I’m still debating as to whether to take a taxi to/from the airport or to park. Parking at the airport will be $96, plus mileage to/from generally runs the company around $24 round trip. Taxi cost including tip is around $58 each way. The nice part about the taxi is that if I’m jet lagged and out of it when I get in on the 10th, I don’t have to drive. The bad part is that the wait for a taxi at ORD always sucks. If you make a reservation in advance, you get a good rate, but I’ve yet to have the taxi company be there within fifteen minutes of me calling…which is ridiculous given how many taxis are at the airport. If my car is there, I can be out of the airport within fifteen minutes.
I’m also debating about which suitcase to take. (I know that this stuff is trivial. But typing it up is at least getting me in a mood to pack.) My usual long trip bag got broken on our Vegas trip, and since the nearest repair shop is 20+ miles away, it’s not repaired yet. It has three wheels instead of the four that it should have, so it’s off balance when it’s sitting down, but you can drag it on the back two wheels almost like you would a normal, non-spinner suitcase. Alternatively, I could take my black rolling duffel, which is a bit less comfortable to drag, but it doesn’t have a balance issue.
In other news, I might have to go out to Seattle toward the end of the week that I get back from Taiwan. Fun!
As part of my procrastination, I’ve been studying my basic Mandarin books and online courses. I’ve memorized how to say hello, goodbye, and how to introduce myself. I’m still working on how to ask if you speak English (and understand the response), how to say something like, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” and how to order food/drinks. I want to learn some basic navigation things, too, like:
* Please help me hail a taxi.
* Please point to the nearest train station.
* Please help me find someone who speaks English.
(In case you can’t tell, my choice of phrases is heavily influenced by watching The Amazing Race. 🙂 )
I’m using Mango Languages as my online tutor and formal lesson, and I’m using Speak E-Z Chinese as my more advanced reference guide. Oh, and I’ve learned how to say fuck as both an exclamation and as a verb. 🙂 Hee.
Now, it is true that Taiwan, and Taipei in particular, is one of the most American-friendly Asian countries. English is part of the school curriculum, albeit at the level that Spanish is in American schools. There’s also many, many American companies with offices there, so English is widely spoken by expatriates and their colleagues. But, I consider this a great opportunity to learn something new.
I will say, it fucks with me majorly that Japanese and Chinese are similar but not the same. In Japanese, you take a normal sentence structure and add ka to make it a question. In Mandarin Chinese, it’s the same gist but the question syllable is ma. Also, the connector syllables (that turn a word into an adverb or modifier) are similar but not the same. I guess it’s good in the sense that I’m used to the grammatical structure, but I find myself doing this weird hybrid Japanese-Chinese stuff.
I need to watch Firefly on the trip over, maybe. 🙂 That’ll help with my Chinese cursing, ma? 🙂