When I went to Taiwan with my family our intention was to be missionaries in China. The plan was to land in Taipei, Taiwan where we could get some orientation and prepare for going into China.
We had booked our flights through a travel agent (this was in August 2000 before most used online bookings) and arranged to go to Taiwan, on to Hong Kong, and return trip to Texas. We got our visitor visas for Taiwan as well.
We went to Taiwan and stayed with missionary friends in Taipei and soon realized we might tale trips into China but actually living there was not going to happen right away. We took Chinese lessons and took some time to get used to the climate and the culture.
Once we decided we were going to stay in Taiwan we went to Hsinchu and fell in love with it. We managed to get out own apartment in Hsinchu which is about an hour drive from Taipei.
It soon became necessary for me to get either a missionary visa or a work permit in order for us to remain in Taiwan. I managed to get an offer of employment as an English teacher but I needed to leave the country and come back in with a different visa.
To get a different visa we proceeded to use out pre booked flight to Hong Kong. At the time Hong Kong was still independent of China and the infrastructure had a lot of British influence such as trams for downtown travel and fancy busses to the airport.
When we were finished in Hong Kong and went to board our return flight to Taipei we found out we did not have a flight booked! Apparently, our itinerary was Texas-Taipei-Hong Kong-Texas. Yikes!
We had to get a flight back to Taipei and pay cash at the airport. The good news is that we could get the money from the ATM machine in the airport. It became obvious that our booked flight from Hong Kong back to Texas was never going to get used, unfortunately. We were just relieved that we could get back to Taiwan that day…