Waking up early at 5:00 this morning, we started to get ready for our flight home. All dressed up, I weighed 73 kilos (i.e., 13 kilos over the normal); my handbag and portfolio weighed about 13 kilos and my main baggage 23 kilos. I carried, therefore, 59 kilos in total, instead of the limited 15 kilos for ordinary passengers. Until we got into the plane, we were afraid we would not be allowed to bring such heavy baggage, but, fortunately, we made it.
My First Plane Ride! At 8:40 a.m., our twin-engined 12-passenger transport plane took off. We (Lieuts. Duque, Sison and I) were the last to board the plane. The take-off did not last long, and, before we knew it, we were riding high up in the clouds, the mountains and fields of Fukuoka spreading under us in a beautiful panorama. We flew up and up till we were over and above the beautiful white clouds which lazily floated in the huge expanse of the blue autumn sky. Only the continuous roar of the twin motors told us we were moving, for the plane itself kept steady on its course and gave no signs of motion. It was very comfortable riding in the plane, and it was only my several layers of clothing and thick overcoat and bulging pockets that made me feel uneasy. Flying far above the clouds, I estimate we were 25,000 or 30,000 feet above the sea which I could see through the thick layer of cumulus clouds.
I went to sleep, and, when I woke up, our plane was traveling through a thick fog, and visibility was poor. At 1:30 p.m. we felt our plane losing altitude, and we could feel the rapid change of atmospheric pressure in our ears and all over our bodies. We were landing at Taihoku [Taipei] (Taiwan) airport. I got quite dizzy during the landing, most possibly because of the thick and tight clothes I was
wearing. Unexpectedly, we were informed that we would not just stop for half an hour here as previously announced but would have to stay overnight in Taihoku to fly again early tomorrow. Obviously, this change of plan was due to the foggy weather.
All first-class hotels being packed, we had to stay at the Yamaume Hotel which is rather dirty and not fit for a “returning pensionado.” But only one night—so paciencia [patience].
From 2:00 p.m. till nightfall, we had a chance to see the principal places in Tathoku, the capital of Formosa (or Taiwan). We went shopping with the little money we had left (as we had spent all our money at Fukuoka and changed the remaining from yen to Philippine pesos). I had time to have a haircut. Formosans speak Nippongo, although their accent is different from the Japanese. They also seem to know much of the Philippines and Filipinos, and they easily recognized us as Pinoys. Mr. Otsubo, an employee of the Japan Airways, treated us at a downtown tearoom with whisky and soda and ice cream, and gave us Taiwan sweet bars to bring home to the Philippines.
Back ‘to our dirty hotel after giving Taihoku a hurried lookover, we ordered chicken soup and went to bed thinking of tomorrow and our final lap to the Philippines of our dreams. Tomorrow we shall be home at last!