Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Mountain Crabs and Fishing for Shrimp?

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Everyone in Taipei is very nice from what I can tell. My co-worker told me that he would take me around to see a few things here. This past weekend we went to a mountain close to the city (still don’t know the name, Yummi?), went bowling, and went shrimp fishing.

We visited a mountain (Yummi Mountain?) close to Taipei County on Saturday and did some hiking followed by a meal at one of the many local restaurants in the mountain valley. Our hike wasn’t too long because it started to rain shortly after we left the base area. The vegetation is very tropical (of course) and it’s very humid. Oh and the air smells of sulfur fumes due to the hot springs in the area. On our way up we ran into a gigantic beetle and a crab which is seems odd since there is no water near by. My co-worker said it was a “Mountain Crab”. While looking for a place to eat in the “valley” we sampled some local tiny bananas where a girl from Taipei started asking my co-worker what I was doing there (since they don’t see too many foreigners), and had a baked sweet potato. The restaurant we settled on is in a strip where there are people out front constantly trying to get you to come in to eat at their place. The street vendors along this street were also offering all kinds of free samples. Dinner was interesting, consisting of a sweet potato and ginger soup, steamed bread, various vegetables, fried mushrooms, and some beef/pork. The sweet potato soup was very good!

On Sunday my co-worker took me bowling and to go “shrimp fishing”. I don’t know about you but when I think of shrimp fishing I think nets, large nets and ocean. This style of shrimp fishing was indoors in a giant warehouse and you use rods to catch the shrimp just like you would any other fish. The place we went charges by the hour and they give you a rod and bait. I’ve got some pictures of this that I’ll put up later. I learned quickly that shrimp are a pain in the butt to get off hooks and they pinch. My total for the night was 8 shrimp. After we finished the same building has a giant propane powered broiler where we cooked the shrimp we caught. It was quite the experience.

Destination Taiwan; I’ve arrived.

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Work is setting up a lab and staff to do my job at our Taipei, Taiwan office. I was selected to goto Taipei for 3 months to help setup the office and train staff. The next set of posts will hopefully give you some idea of what exactly I’m doing while I’m in Taiwan.

Trip Begins (09/04/2006 @ 4:30 am MDT)

I spent from Sunday evening at around 9:30pm until Monday morning at 3:30am packing, cleaning my apartment, putting away hiking/camping gear, and getting things in order for my trip. I had a very interesting trip to the airport with a cabbie that was very knowledgeable with old Colorado Springs and even had several historical books that had photos of what things used to look like in the Springs. It was quite interesting to find such a knowledgeable cabbie at 3:30am. As expected the ride to the airport didn’t take any time since there was no traffic and for future reference the United counter at COS doesn’t open until 5:10am. I was a little worried because I’ve previously gotten a ton of heat for not being at the airport 2 hours prior to a “international” flight that includes a domestic leg. With what I know now about the time the counter opens, I don’t think showing up at 5am would have been an issue.

My flight left COS for SFO and I then had 4 hours before my first super long flight (12 hours) to Japan. I spent most of the 4 hour layover on the phone with various people and re-assuring my parents that airline travel is still safe. The trip to Japan was amazingly not as bad as I had thought, most likely in part due to lack of sleep the night before. My only real complaint was that United kindly placed a huge metal box underneath the seat in front of me reducing my available leg room, on the right side only, to nothing. Luckily I was in a aisle seat and I was able to use the aisle as part of my leg room. I’ve got some interesting photos from the Nagoya airport that I’ll put up later.

Arrived in Taipei (09/05/2006 @ ~8:30 pm TPE Time)

I arrived at Chang Kai Shek International airport without issue. The airport is very modern and customs/baggage claim wasn’t painful at all. The walk out of customs is interesting because of the shear number of cabbies and people trying to offer you a ride to the city. The wall opposite the exit is covered in signs with English and Chinese names for people who have drivers picking them up (my name was the very last sign). To indicate your the person on the sign you just walk over and point to your name and the driver shows up. Mine came over very quickly and told me his car number which I later found out was his license plate number. The ride to my hotel was interesting since the driver spoke little to no English. I never got a clear answer from him on exactly how much he could speak, but whenever I asked a question he turned up or down the A/C fan. I guess he figured I was cold/hot. We arrived at the hotel ~40-60 min after leaving the airport and the driver was nice enough to bring in my bags for me. Also the hotel room was much larger than I expected. That’s about it, more later (including pictures)!