Wednesday, January 8, 2014

162. Taiwan Day 1: Tokyo to Taipei on ANA's 787 Dreamliner (HND-TSA: NH 1185)

On my eighth trip to Taiwan, I flew from Haneda Airport (羽田空港) in Tokyo to Songshan Airport (松山機場) in Taipei.  Both of these airports are closer to the main city center compared to their newer airport counterparts.  In Tokyo, it often takes an extra one hour train ride to reach Narita Airport (成田空港), where the main international airport is located.  The same goes for Taoyuan Airport (桃園機場), which is located about an hour outside of Taipei, depending on your mode of transportation.  Flying from Haneda to Songshan trims a few hours off the journey, which means less travel and more fun.  Luckily for me, this decision also allowed me to fly on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  All Nippon Airways (ANA), which was the launch customer for Boeing's new jet, designed a clean, fresh interior but not without some cool mood lighting.

There are no shades for the windows.  There is simply a button that controls the level of brightness streaming in from the outside.  The controls gradually adjust the light so that the eyes also have time to adjust.  I played with the button the way a kid would play with the power windows in a car.  The Dreamliner was like a new toy to me, but I quickly zoned out on puffy, white clouds over the East China Sea.

The most exciting part of any flight for me is still the meal.  Since it was my first time flying with ANA, I was looking forward to what was offered on their shorter international flights.

I started on the rectangular rice bowl first.  Various vegetables were arranged over a flavorful bed of rice.  The bamboo was particularly fresh and crisp, and the egg and shrimp were not overcooked despite being reheated during the flight.  It was clear that the airline put effort in producing not only a good tasting meal but a healthy and visually appealing one as well.

Not only was there rice, but there were noodles too.  Though it was a very simple, thin soba noodle, it was offered in two colors along with the traditional tsuyu dipping sauce.  Alongside the noodles were a wasabi flavored seaweed salad.  Even though it looked harmless, it definitely had a strong nose-clearing kick to it.

After a very quick four short hours of flight time, we landed safely at Taipei International Airport, more commonly known as Songshan Airport.  Since it is closer to the city center, we could see the outline of Taipei 101, the world's second tallest skyscraper, from the tarmac as we were taxiing to the gate.  It is a pretty neat way of welcoming passengers to Taiwan.

The flight was noticeably more quiet than flights on 747, 767, or 777 aircraft, and I definitely did not feel as tired or as dehydrated.  It may also have been due to the short flight time. 

Now that I had landed safely in Taiwan, it was time to eat! Until my first meal on the ground in Taiwan, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20130630

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