« August 2008 | Main | June 2009 »

February 2009 Archives

February 3, 2009

the travel mailing list

Parents always worry about their kids. Parents worry even more when their kids are crazy like me, backpacking to random countries where I know no one. So in an attempt to prevent my parents from having unnecessary anxiety attacks and because, well, something actually could happen to me while traveling, I started a check-in policy: call or e-mail at least once every other day. If three days passed and they didn't hear from me, then they could start calling all the foreign embassies.

Calling was pretty convenient in Germany because there was a long-distance phone place right next to the hostel, but it didn't work out so well in other countries, so I switched exclusively for e-mail. Most hostels had free internet, and even if they didn't, internet cafes were everywhere. And since most of them charged by 15 minute intervals, I figured I might as well send updates about my trip instead of a simple "hi, I'm alive." I found that a lot of computers had their USB ports exposed, allowing me to attach pictures as well. As I began to ask other friends, "Hey, do you want to get trip updates?" the check-in e-mails quickly turned into the travel mailing list I have today.

Here's an update from my recent trip to Taiwan:

Subject: [travel] ball of fat rolling down the mountain

Yes, that would be me. I've been stuffing myself full of good Taiwanese food. I think I'm enjoying the most right now is breakfast, surprisingly. We asked the hotel desk for recommendations and there's a place in the alley behind the hotel that we've been going to. They have these great egg sandwiches, and today we supplemented that with turnip cakes and pancakes with corn and tuna. I know it sounds weird, but it's actually awesome. I've had corn and tuna in a crepe, too. I guess it's an Asian thing.

Today, our main destination was Yangmingshan, a mountain near Taipei with lots of hiking trails. It's a weekday, so our bus up was filled with old people who were probably all in better shape than I was. The first trail we went on was pretty much 1.5km of stairs going straight up. At the end of that was a pretty park with pagodas and a view of the smoggy city. There were clusters of people up there, including a group of old people playing Chinese opera music. I don't really see this in the US, but it's very common here for hikers to have a little radio in their backpack blaring music as they go along. Afterwards, we walked across to some cold springs to catch a bus from there back to the city. The first minibus was full, and we squeezed on the second that came by. I thought it was already pretty bad, but at the next stop, we pushed 6 more people on. Probably like 28 people on a bus that was supposed to seat 15? Yay, a Taiwanese experience! And the driver was wearing a Santa outfit.

Yesterday, we went to the National Palace Museum and saw lots of old Chinese vessels. There was a garden onsite that was pretty and had lakes full of huge fish that would go crazy when you fed them. (we have videos) We ate lunch at DinTaiFung, the king of xiaolongbao in Taipei, and it was awesome. The service was really good, though it bordered on creepy. There was a woman who stood in front of the bathrooms and inspected each stall after someone came out to make sure that it was still clean. Dessert was at a place called Ice Monster... they had stuff like sorbet and custard with fruit pieces. I guess in Taiwan a group of people will go and order one dessert and share, but being the Americans we are, we each got a huge thing of fruit and sorbet. :D

We finished our evening off with a long session of karaoke at KTV! Initially we just wanted an hour because it was pretty late, but we had so much fun singing terrible pop songs that we ended up going for three hours.

turnip cakes xialongbao Yangmingshan

Do you not get these e-mails but wish you did? Comment or send me an e-mail and let me know.

About February 2009

This page contains all entries posted to adventures of a tired coder in February 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2008 is the previous archive.

June 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.