It's a loooong flight over here. All in all, my traveling crew and I spent close to 24 hours traveling when you take flight times and layovers into consideration. Long time with no sleep. We got into Taipei right around 8pm; and by the time we went through customs, met up with our driver, drove to the hotel, and got a bite to eat at the McDonald's down the street, I think I went to be around 11pm or so.
Day one was more or less a free day, so we decided to take advantage of it by doing a little walking around the main street outside our hotel. We're at the San Want Hotel in downtown Taipei which is actually pretty nice. Their logo is this funny little happy baby; he's imprinted on everything from the towels in the bathroom to the iron work outside the building.
Later that afternoon, we made our way over to the Taipei Hyatt for Velo's big gala dinner. Having experienced some of these types of parties before, we arrived a few hours early so we could eat beforehand. I know that seems somewhat rude, but let's just say sometimes the food is really "authentic" and sometimes not terribly appealing to Americans. The Hyatt was adjacent to the convention center where the show is being held and right next to Taipei 101, the world's tallest building.
The gala itseld was really cool; they did a full 2008 product presentation complete with these little Asian teenagers who pranced around in tight clothes and showed the product to everyone.
The food did not disappoint us...we were glad we made that stop to TGI Friday's right before. Some of it wasn't bad, but some of it was well, authentic.
Stella Yu, Velo's lady in charge, is just a little firecracker of a woman. Not only is she one of the most powerful people in the cycling industry, but the woman knows how to party and expects all of her employees to know how to party as well. There were 400 people at this event, and the Velo girls were everywhere, making sure all attendees were toasted. I think all of Stella's employees must have left more than just a little toasted themselves. Here's a picture of the legend herself along with myself and Masi Guy Tim Jackson:
Anyhow, gotta run down to breakfast. Today is the first day of the show, so hopefully I'll have another report and some pictures later today.
Bye for now!