Tittot took less time than we expected so we visited one more museum: the Taiwan Nougat Museum. It was as odd as it sounds. It's a candy factory at the end of the Bannan MRT line whose flagship product is (wedding) nougat. Their museum has displays of making nougat and wedding ceremonies (including the dragon outfits Melinda and I wore at our reception). A group of 30 elementary students are running around giggling like kids in a candy store, unsurprisingly. We buy a bag of nougat and take pictures as souvenirs and head back to the MRT station. The factory is somewhat out of the way, underneath a highway and down an industrial road -- not where you'd expect a candy museum, and, I'm not sure I'd recommend this is a Taipei highlight. But it was kinda fun to make the trip.
We finished the outing by dropping in to Hello Sweets (treats in Hello Kitty shapes) and Starbucks in the basement of Sogo. I've really liked the green tea lattes in Starbucks here -- they're like green tea frapuccinos (which are also sold here) but the ice isn't blended into the drink. Consequently, and because it's in Taiwan, the green tea flavor is much stronger than that of the fraps in the States.
I spent about an hour packing our bags, letting the expansion zippers all the way out and balancing the load between two bags so neither of them would be over 20kg (together they end up at 34kg -- 70 pounds of luggage!). Between gifts we've received and souvenirs we bought we have many large and heavy objects but somehow they all fit into the bags. And, happily, there's no fee for checking luggage on this flight so we're content to check both bags. I do carry my suit jacket because it's too big for the suitcase, and we each have backpacks. But it's all pretty compact.
We dine with Paul and Martha again, again at the Japanese restaurant across the street. It's fast, which is good because it's 6:30 when we head over and we have a car arranged for 7:30. We have the pork katsu again, still as good as the first time. We return to the house, gather our things just as the car calls to let us know it's arrived, and with that we say our good-byes and we're off for the airport.
We reach the airport three hours early for our flight, which is our plan. We want plenty of time to check our luggage and to shop for souvenirs (pineapple cakes and such) before settling in at the gate. We spend half our remaining NTD on edible treats, leaving $2100NT for the next visit. I'm glad we're rid of the 70+ pounds of luggage but we've already accumulated a few extra bags through shopping. Also, while walking along the concourse the hook in my suit bag hangar falls out, leaving me now just carrying the bag rather than hanging it on my backpack. That poor suit and bag. We sit in the waiting area, time passes as we read magazines or check the internet (free WiFi in the airport), and soon can board the aircraft. Our seats are overwing but I can see out a little ahead and behind as we head out. There's a dinner and breakfast on the flight, both of which we pass, and we sleep for the interior 7 or so hours. The flights full but there's enough room for us, and it's uneventful. After we land we briskly move through immigration then wait 25 minutes for our luggage. Customs also doesn't hold us up, we taxi back to the apartment (sticker shock -- the same ride would have been half the fare in Taipei...) and find the apartment in the same condition we left it. Hurray! And with that, our epic trip concludes, and we get ourselves ready again for work and such.
I'll summarize the trip, I expect, and I'll post pictures within the next week.