This is going to be brutal day. I arrived at the hotel last night around 2315 hrs and putted around until 0030 or so. Got my internets working. Scoped out the hotel. Admired my nighttime view. I figured that I'd sleep for five hours or so and set my alarm accordingly. At 0350 I awoke fully refreshed and unable to get back to sleep. It is now 0613 and I have: worked out in the 24 hr fitness center here; ironed my suit and shirt, consumed two cups of coffee and had a delightful Skype with The Kitten. Soon as I am finished with this update, it's into the shower, down to breakfast, and off for our busy day of meetings. Some thoughts so far? Don't mind if I do.
The Flight. And by this, I mean the flight from LAX to Taipei on EVA Airlines. No doubt you haven't heard of them either, and for some reason I was a bit apprehensive. I shouldn't have been. It was the most delightful 14 hours I've ever spent in an airplane. As discussed earlier, The Fellowship was put up in "Royal Laurel" class, which appears to be a hybrid First/Business. Each of us had a podlike dwelling to inhabit with the bed folding down fully flat. There appeared to be wonderful entertainment available, but I did not avail myself of it, choosing instead to spend the first couple of hours reading and eating, the next five sleeping, and the following seven working. It was a good mix. Got a lot done and ate some damn good airplane food. I asked my Flight Attendant to bring me "what someone from Taiwan would eat" when she brought me the substantial menu from which we were to choose our dinner, a full snack, and a breakfast. Everything was superb, save for the POW-like breakfast porridge, some kind of rice gruel that was warm, but without taste. We are being accompanied by a representative of the American Institute in Taiwan, our hosts for the week, and he appears to have some pull as we were whisked through immigration with nary a wink. We were however, scanned with an IR camera for signs of fever, and anyone showing such would be immediately taken aside to have their temperature taken. This is what mature nations do when they use immigration policy to support public health. The ride to the hotel was uneventful, save for the superb roads (no doubt, tank capable) and incredibly clean roadsides. As we drove along, I tried to peer into the apartments of regular Taiwan folks. I do this wherever I travel, not in any kind of a prurient way, but to perhaps get a glimpse of everyday life being lived. I think this is why I love foreign films....the chance to see how other cultures operate. What did they have for dinner? What are they watching on TV? What are they concerned about?
What greeted me in my room
The Hotel. We were met at the hotel by some sort of manager person who said hello and thank you 46 times. This is quite a place, ornate, lots of marble, etc. I am on the 20th floor and my room is pretty luxe.
Right outside my window
The Program. We have a number of meetings today with Taiwanese officials and grandees, but until I've scoped out the sense of how broadly I'm allowed to discuss all this, I won't identify anyone. We'll be on the go from 0800 to 2100 tonight, so I doubt I'll be able to check in again.
The Blog: A compendium of thoughts on politics, world affairs, economics, pop culture and social issues, from the center right perspective of me--Bryan McGrath--a University of Virginia graduate who spent a career in the world's greatest Navy keeping my mouth shut about politics and social issues (ok, publicly keeping it shut). Those days are over! I've also invited a few friends to join in, so pull up a chair and chime in where you will. Keep it clean, civil, concise and relevant.
The Fish: The fish is a "coat of arms" for the blog, symbolizing three formative influences in the life of the blog founder. The first is his experience at the University of Virginia--symbolized most importantly by the fish itself, or a caricature of a "Wahoo", the fish we have acquired as an informal nickname. Additionally there is the sword, the sword of a Cavalier. It is not wielded in a threatening manner, as this is a civil blog. But it is there, should it be needed. Thirdly, there is the influence of 21 years in the Navy--symbolized by the anchor on the Wahoo's fin (and again, the sword) . Finally, there is the bowler, tuxedo, and monocle, symbols of a refined, intellectual conservatism, or what I seek to encourage here.
The Policy: I take FULL responsibility ONLY for what I write. I do not take responsibility, nor will I be held responsible, for what my guest bloggers write or for what those who offer comments write. I will occasionally exercise my right to edit/delete both blog posts and comments if they do not meet my view of what clean, civil, concise and relevant mean.
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