Day 6: The last day in Taiwan!!! :(. I woke up and had my breakfast, checked out from hotel, kept my things there though and went to NTU Hospital station which was 2 stations away from Zongshan MRT. The reason for going there was Taiwan Handicrafts Promotion Center. At the MRT, I asked for directions to the centre and was pretty much dropped at the centre ( lovely Taiwanese people :). The centre was big building with 4 - basment + 3 - floors of goodies waiting to be sold. Paintings, scrolls, gifts, koji pottery, chop sticks, books, clothes, just about everything was on sale. Bought a few things - a scroll painting, a tea set ( wifey asked for something for the first time ;) and some more such things. Oh and I bought chopsticks even, so that I can practise eating with it ;). Thanks to Wendy and Bellring, I always found a fork or spoon when I was in Taiwan :). After all that shopping, I was supposed to meet up with the gang for a "follow up" / "retrospection" meeting. We were supposed to meet up at Mr. Brown Coffee just near my hotel. Bumped into the gang at the MRT itself. Thanks to them for helping me carry my stuff from there. Dropped things at the hotel, Frank kept his newly bought Eee PC ( the latest 900 model with 20 GB SSD ) and headed back to the coffee house.
We spoke about our experiences from the conference over coffee and some snacks. Everybody had nice things to say about. But what is still etched in my mind is what Wesley said and later Marek seconded it - "for its not just a week of experience, its been like a month long venture ...". We could see the satisfaction and pleasure in the eyes of these two brave souls who fought numerous battles to get all of us there, work out the little details, make this conference happen. We went to discuss - "whats next?". How OHI website should be and what can be done about? Joy Tang and Steven Chang ( most jolly and happy person I have ever met ). It was almost evening when one by one people started leaving either to pack to leave or something else. But a final get-together and dinner still remained. So all of us planned to meet at a Sushi place at Taipei Main Station. I picked up my luggage from the hotel and we left for dinner. Marek, Simon, Xavier and Florian helped me a lot. We put my stuff in a locker at the station and went to the Sushi place. This was my first Sushi experience and I can't complain :). Loved the shrimps and salmon. Have to try Sushi again sometime soon. Its quite cheap even, 30 NT per plate you take. Soon rest of the gang joined us. It was awesome that even Brian and Bellring joined us, so I could meet them one last time before I left the Taiwanese shores. I bid farewell to all my new friends from across the world. Wendy and Marec came to drop me upto the bus stop for airport. That was quite nice of them. Finally wished them goodbye and good luck and left for the airport.
TPE Airport is quite nice. I had no problems with extra hand luggages ( all that handicrafts foo I bought ), the checkin executive allowed all of it without any extra charges. I had done a webcheck-in anyway. Btw, I flew Eva Airways ( huge business house in Taiwan, you must have seen those big containers with Evergreen written on them, same group ), which code shares with Air India and has a direct flight to and from BOM. The flight both ways are quite empty :). Tip - select the seats from row 40 onwards, you might get a whole row for yourself. I did. :). The flight timings are odd though - leaves BOM at 5:30 AM and reaches BOM at 4:00 AM or such. Reached home safely, had no issues with customs, didn't have anything worth getting caught anyway ;). The porters of course bugged me to eternity of course about helping me get through the green channel. They do that everytime and to everyone anyway.
Finale: It was a wonderful experience. One of the best meets I have been to. Wonderful and warm people were a huge plus. Thanks to all those involved and made it happen. Made a lot of new friends, learnt a lot from people, saw new places, saw a different culture. I will blog about Taiwanese people , Taiwanese food Taiwanese culture and the some of the gang members separately later.