worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.

30Aug/091

sad day, sad pandas

my journeys took a turn yesterday. met my friend keith in bangkok and was excited to get the heck out of there. because we were on a schedule to catch a train, we took a taxi to the station. another taxi driver helped me load my gear into the trunk. when we arrived at the train station, my digital camera was gone.

i felt nauseous.

we returned to the hotel, of course the taxi driver who had taken was gone. we went to the police station but because it was saturday the police couldn't look up the name of the man who had rented that taxi. i was quite certain that the camera was long, long gone.

heartbroken.

there are a number of things about the situation that felt wrong and i knew it. i replay the situation in my head and ask myself the same things over and over: why did i not follow my instinct to watch him close the trunk? why did i not stop the taxi to check my bag? why did i accept help from this person? in the end it's not going to do any good to keep thinking about these things...i know i must move on. i will have to change the way that i move through the world with photography being the first thought in my little brain. i still have my waterproof camera but am now lacking the card reader to transfer images to a computer.

keith and i thought of all of the ways in which it could have been worse. luckily there was no physical assault. also, we were lucky to not have been hit by a truck. or have malaria. we still have our health and safety which is not replaceable.

for now i have to take a hiatus from posting photos to this blog.

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28Aug/090

thailand 8/24-8/26

getting the heck out of bangkok was a relief! thailand is even more touristy than i had imagined. i was excited to not see any other foreign tourists on the local buses that i took to pak chong, although when everything is written in another language, one just has to hope that the bus drivers will remember to tell you when to get down!

when i arrived in pak chong i was a bit lost and asked for help from the only other tourist. he showed me to the only hotel in town and i bumped into him again the next morning en route to the national park. we ended up hitchhiking and trekking around various parts of the park which was amazing-we saw so many monkeys, horn bills, a gibbon, lots of butterflies, spiders, two piles of elephant poo, and met a whole bunch of leeches!

we spontaneously decided to rent equipment to camp overnight in the park. we saw lightning bugs, were accompanied by some increasingly drunk thai boys, and were almost robbed by a monkey of our breakfast (two bananas and some crackers)!

the next day we saw even more groups of monkeys, hitchhiked down (hitching here is thumbs down, not thumbs up), and took the slow train to bangkok. bart and i stared tirelessly out the window! that night we went straight from the train station to the thai boxing stadium- it was an amazing action packed day!

23Aug/092

thailand 8/21-8/23

the past couple days have been action packed! leaving taiwan was another emotional experience. perhaps i just have a hard time saying goodbye sometimes.

my welcome to thailand was memorable-it took me some time to find a place to stay when i arrived. some gigantic drops began to fall so i found some shelter to cover my bags. immediately after, it began absolutely cats and dogs and i waited for 45 minutes of big big rain until i was ready to brave it. the streets were flooded shin-deep and i was really happy to have a waterproof camera and flip flops that floated! i went to the firsthotel where i met stefano and fabio who were also just arriving. the hotel ony had triple rooms available so it worked out perfectly. we're getting along nicely! i am so lucky!

today we visited chatuchak, the weekend market. the brochure touted being able to find all sorts of goods, including "fluffy dogs." believe it or not, i did find some little guys. i really enjoyed a nie thai iced tea and am loving the yummy thai noodles! we took the sky train metro and boat ferry back to our hotel and had a nice view of temples, wats, ppalaces, and bridges lit up at night.

it's pouring again right now! no camping in the national park like i had originally planned!

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

last day at work

august 6th marked the end of my 6.5 year stint working at trader joe's. it was difficult to say goodbye. my generous and thoughtful co-workers gathered a compass, a hot pink t-shirt, and piggy bank travel moneys for me! thank you all so much for your encouragement! i will miss you.piggie

14Aug/090

new zealand 2009

i met my friend stephen, who was on break from his study abroad program, for a nice time camping in lovely and scenic new zealand.

photo gallery coming soon.

14Aug/090

cambodia 2008

be sure to wear mosquito repellent in south-east asia! i contracted dengue fever when i visited the volcanic lake of remote ratanakiri. there is no vaccine or treatment for this disease! dengue fever is spread by certain types of mosquitoes and in general mosquitoes really, really like me. luckily, the effects of the disease didn't hit me until after my new friend lionel and i completed our jungle trek. i was quite ill for my trip to the ankor wat ruins, perhaps i will return someday.

i was nearly held back at the airport leaving thailand for taiwan, and nearly quarantined when i arrived in taiwan!

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