Picking up Spike from the Eva Air Cargo Terminal

Last Friday I had to get up at the crack of dawn to pick up our French Bulldog Spike from the CKS airport in Taoyuan. We have been separated from Spike for almost a year and ware very excited to finally be able to receive him. A big thanks to my family. My sister Amy looked after him for two months in Vancouver and my Mom nursed him through an operation and took care of him for nine months on Vancouver Island. Moreover, Mom Rees also spent a day driving Spike all the way from Cobble Hill to the Vancouver airport.

On Thursday night Range and I were both coming down with a cold and were a bit surprised to get a call from my Mom saying that the dog needed to be picked up by 6:30am the next day. Range was working so I got up at 5am and was on the road by 5:30. I figured the process would not take that much time and threw on an old tunic, a skirt, and was out the door in a flash.

Getting to the airport was not a problem but finding the cargo terminal was. Spike was not arriving as a passenger but as cargo. The cargo terminal was separate from the main airport terminals. At abut 6:45 am we drove around the maze like structure of the airport looking for the terminal. As it was so early I decided to be dropped off at the main arrival terminal and ask for directions in Chinese at the Eva Air information station. The Eva air personal were helpful and promptly provided the directions which I appreciated. They assured me that all of the many airport cab drivers would have no problem locating the terminal.

Worried that I was going to be late in processing Spike, I ran over to the nearest cab and quickly handed over the directions. The cab driver took one look at my directions and immediately took off. He took me to another part of the airport grounds that I was not familiar with. There was a giant Eva Air sign across from a three lane highway and he assured me that this was the cargo terminal. He told me it was best to get out immediately and then cross the highway to the building.

The cab driver dropped me off and then sped away. Crossing the highway was difficult. Even though it was so early in the morning there were many cars and no crosswalks. I thought I was going to get killed dodging all the trucks and buses that were speeding by me. Moreover there never seemed to be a break in the traffic, it just kept on going. When I finally did get across I realized to my horror that the building that I’d been dropped off in front of was not the cargo terminal at all but the EVA AIR HANGAR! Across from the welcoming Eva Air sign were security guards and a giant barbed wire fence. There was no way around the building which seemed to extend on for acres. Worse the highway that was in front of the building was full of cars and traffic carrying people from the city to the main airport that was located several kilometers away. Many cabs were speeding by me but they were all full of passengers going to the airport of course! There could not be a worse place to find a cab probably in all of Taiwan. After some time an Eva Air commuter bus saw me and the kind diver stopped and drove me to the cargo terminal. Needless to say I feel very thankful for that helpful gentleman.

He took me to the cargo terminal which was located several kilometers behind the main airport. It was now about 7:15am. The cargo terminal was just opening and I was told to go inside the giant building and to the Eva Air cargo headquarters. The cargo terminal is an extremely ugly building. There is no real entrance and instead just a giant loading dock in front of the building where trucks can go and up load their goods. The building interior was like entering another universe. Everything was a clinical cream color, there were empty long hallways, few people, and little information to be found. Quite a difference from the busy interior of Terminal 1 and 2. At first I headed to one of the top floors to receive Spike. I did not expect to be spending a long time on this process and felt I would be doing little more than signing a few documents and then carrying on with my day.

After signing for Spike Eva cargo told me I would have to head down to the second floor to customs and make sure everything was in order. Customs opened at 7:30am and I arrived just as the office lights were being turned on. Were spent quite a long time going over the documents before it was time to go to the quarantine office to make sure everything was in order over there. The quarantine office was called Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Quarantine, Hsinchu Branch. This is somewhat funny as the office was located inside the Taoyuan cargo terminal and no where near the town of Hsinchu, Taiwan. Why it is called the “Hsinchu branch” mystifies me.

Nonetheless, the quarantine officers were very kind to me and allowed me to visit with Spike, who I was becoming worried about. It was now 8:30 am and I wanted to see him to make sure he was o.k. after such a long flight. The quarantine offerers walked me to the central unloading area where I could spend five minutes with Spike. Seeing Spike broke my heart. His crate had been placed outside in the shade as if it were a common piece of cargo not a live dog. He was incredibly dehydrated and panting. He seemed confused and unhappy. I though that he was probably missing the comfort of my Mom. I quickly gave Spike some water and we went on a two minute supervised walk around the loading area. I felt very worried about him and did not like having to put him back into his crate.

Back upstairs the customs and quarantine officers told me that I needed to pay some fees to receive Spike. Customs fees, quarantine fees, and cargo fees. No one was quite sure of what the total amount of the fees would be and it took quite some time to configure this information. It seemed like whenever one tally would be reached another element would need to be considered. How long had Range been in Taiwan? What about his new passport? What about his latest Visa? This process seemed to go on for hours. In addition, I needed to go to the bank as I had only brought along a limited amount of cash. The quarantine officer walked me to the nearest bank machine and I felt a fool for not just bringing more cash. It was a bit frustrating as the bank machine did not accept my Post Office bank card so we had to go upstairs, (now it was 9:30am) to use the Family Mart bank machine which provided me with cash. We then had to pay the service fees, customs fees, quarantine fees, and cargo fees which were still unresolved.

By 10:30am everything seemed to be in order, but official documents still needed to be finalized which took some time. I was allowed to see Spike again and feed him some dried food through his cage which had been officially sealed by the quarantine officer. The next step was transporting Spike with the quarantine officer to the official quarantine center in Taipei. Now this was something I was not expecting. Who would of thought I’d be sharing a cab with Spike in his sealed cage, and the quarantine officer all the way to Taipei? Expect the unexpected with Chinese bureaucracy and expect it to take a long time.

We ordered the cab at around 11am and it finally arrived at the cargo terminal by 11:30am. The quarantine officer had a very kind demeanor and informed me she is a trained vet and that all quarantine officials are vets. This eased my worries but made me feel somewhat under dressed in terms of my appearence. Here I was in my unfashionable green tunic with beads and thread hanging off it surrounded by vets and top officials! This was not something I expected when I left the house at 5:30am.

At last we pilled into the cab and headed to Taipei. Spike enjoyed the cab ride and started to cool down in the air conditioned vehicle. He made some of his loud snorts and I felt so much better knowing that he was o.k. An hour later we arrived at the quarantine office. The office is located in the heart of the city near the Grand Hotel. It is inside a medical building and is very clean and welcoming. Inside the quarantine center I saw so many beautiful, cute, and adorable dogs. The dogs are all cared for by vets and I know Spike will be happy there. The vets asked a lot of questions on his diet and behavior. Moreover, they really enjoyed Spike and were all stroking and cuddling him. He is in good hands for the next three weeks.

Finally the process of receiving Spike was resolved so I jumped in a cab and got home at 1:30pm. It was not the sort of day I expected but it’s good to know that Spike is safe and happy. I can’t wait for him to finally be home.


4 Responses to “Picking up Spike from the Eva Air Cargo Terminal”

  1. September 4, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for picking him up. He’ll be home in 15 days. I can’t wait.

  2. 2 Carrie
    September 25, 2007 at 10:37 am

    What a wild story! Only in Taiwan huh? I’m really glad Spike is finally settled in his new home with you and Range. From the sounds of it, I’m sure he is too. I can’t believe how many hoops you had to jump through.

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