Touch wood, but in all my flights over the years, and there are dozens and dozens of them (hundreds probably, if I sat down and listed them all), no airline has ever lost my luggage. The closest I've got to that recently is when airport baggage handlers can't be consistent about whether prams and strollers are handled as normal luggage or oversize baggage - every time I try to pick a stroller up after a flight, I think it hasn't shown up but it's either meandering around the carousel on its own while I wait at the oversize baggage counter, or vice versa.
|Hall in Chiang Kai Shek Memorial complex, Taipei|
After spending a couple of days outside of Taipei, we arrived back in the capital quite late at night and used our guide book to pick a cheap hotel. We checked in, paid our money (cheap hotels make you pay up front, you know) and went up to our room to collapse. My boyfriend at the time was slightly less exhausted than me and decided to take a shower, while I lay straight down on the bed. A short time later I heard an exclamation that I recognised as meaning trouble. He used the same tone of voice as the time when we were in Karijini Gorge in the north-west of Australia and he'd seen several leeches crawling on my skin. I jumped up, suddenly wide awake.
|Lungshan Temple, Taipei|
Hmm. Mysterious packages of powder in the ceiling. What to do.
After a few moments of stress and brainstorming we decided to go down to the front counter and ask the guy there to call the police. It may have been the fault of too many crime shows but we were convinced that if we said nothing it would be some kind of set-up and we'd be "discovered" in the morning with "our stash" and we'd never get back to Japan. The hotel employee went up first of all to have a look and then shocked us a little by simply bringing the parcels with him down to the front desk. He then did indeed call the police, and one of them did a drug test on the powder (it involved jumping around stomping on a small test packet to mix it properly) and labelled it inconclusive. They took our passport details, told us it was probably cleaning powder, and left.
Cleaning powder? Wrapped up and stored in a false ceiling? This seemed more than a little strange. We went back up to our room nonetheless and tried to sleep, since it was around midnight by now. Neither of us could sleep. All kinds of worst case scenarios ran through our heads. We wanted out! We repacked our backpacks, headed downstairs and convinced the guy at the counter to stop playing Solitaire on his computer long enough to give us a refund, and went to spend the night at a fancier hotel instead.
Who knows? Perhaps it was innocent. Perhaps not. I certainly never felt otherwise that Taiwan was in any way unsafe and I'd love to go back and visit there again soon. But I will probably - no, definitely! - be avoiding that particular hotel.