worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.

21Aug/090

taiwan 8/19-8/21

it turns out that taiwanese mosquitoes like me as well. perhaps it's the red bean pastries that i've been bulking up on. so yummy!

i've been kicking around sans travel guide which has been sweet for the most part but a lot of things here are only written in chinese which leaves me a little (ok, very) stumped at times. given the amount of cool in taiwan, i'm pretty surprised at the lack of white tourists. perhaps because it's hot hot season?

today my mom reunited with 13 of the students she taught 38 years ago. she had serrendipitously gotten in touch with a student who had married the daughter of her friend. small world, right? i was really touched not only by how much trouble people went through to see her but also by how carefully one of her students had kept his yearbook, texts, and amazing photo album. everyone referred to my mom as yu-teacher; i hadn't really thought of my mom as a teacher before.

i think taiwan has helped me, at least partially, get over my fear of being run over by a moving vehicle. tomorrow i depart for bangkok which is a similar, if not even faster, vehicular pace. i'm looking forward to hitting the road again and really appreciate all of the help i have received here in taiwan. i like the expression that people have wished me-may the path of your journey be in the same direction of the wind.

21Aug/091

taiwan 8/17-8/18

i met a lot of folks on my mom's side of the family for the first time. it was my great auntie's 80th birthday so we all got together in taoyuan for dinner and cake. it was a neat experience and they, like my dad's side of the family were all asking me when i'm going to get married. today my auntie gave me a good luck bracelet, she told me to wear it to work so that i can find a husband. thanks for the help, auntie.

on a way different note, the digital era has really changed how i go about this travel business. because i left home in a big hurry i didn't load my new (and first!) i-pod to the brim. i felt sad about this for a moment and then had to remind myself of the days that i had no music or had to lug around a cd player and a book of ten cd's!

also, because i left the film cameras at home, i have a much faster decision making process in regards to which camera to use. i bought my first digital slr back in april and spoiled myself to a waterproof, smashproof camera the day i left the country. in general i have been taking a lot more photos, have the ability to photograph in a bigger latitude of lighting situations, get to immediately assess, and am enjoying my first variable length lens. shooting digitally is practical, especially on a long journey. i'm not going to lie though-i really miss the thought process that it takes to shoot film, and miss the end result even more! film is so beautiful!

17Aug/094

taiwan 8/15-8/16

taiwan is hot and humid! whew! i've been eating whatever is offered to me, much to my belly's distain. shrimp, pork, chicken, beef, fish all kinds, octopus, clam...perhaps i should have started with baby steps. in some ways i'm looking forward to people not offering me food!

because my original plans to go south to kenting have been a bit foiled by the typhoon i will probably kick it in and around taipei. my family has been absolutely spoiling me! i am really lucky that i didn't book my ticket to arrive earlier, as i would most likely have taken part in the typhoonness. had that been the case, i'd have had a much different start to this journey!

i was able to get out on my own for a bit last night to soak up the amazing night market of shilin. wow!

14Aug/091

taiwan 8/11-8/14

leaving california was a very emotional experience. i had to say bye to friends, the comforts of home, and all that is familiar. because i anticipated this to be a long journey, i felt unprepared and a bit frenetic. now that i have departed, i am feeling more ready for change.

august 11th marked the end of my 17-year-long spell of vegetarianism. my taiwanese relatives have encouraged me to eat beef, pork, chicken, fish, octopus, squid...all sorts. i have tried to humor them with a smile and will probably find feeding myself much easier now.

because of that, and also because i left the country sans film/film cameras for the first time ever, i haven't been feeling quite like myself! the digital realm has allowed me to cut some weight and bulk: my 60 liter backpack weighed in at 42.3 lbs. i didn't dare weigh my other bag after finding this out! currently i am trying to shave off some weight while remaining prepared for camping and all weather.

14Aug/090

taiwan 2008

stopped over for one week to taiwan, the motherland and visited aunties, uncles, and my brother who was doing an internship. it'd been too long since i had been back! i had forgotten just how yummy the food was.