Thailand Part 1: Bangkok and Ko Tao

I left Taiwan with a heavy suitcase and some heavy thoughts, but Thailand has a way to make you forget about your sorrows.

Here is the first part of my 3 weeks in the country.

I was a bit tired after a night of drinking red wine with my dear friend William when I arrived in Thailand. I’ll miss you, big guy!

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Vietnam

Another trip, another country. Not exactly a holiday.

I went to Vietnam to solve a problem and to celebrate a birthday.

Vietnam didn’t feel like a holiday so much as an escape. I felt so trapped in Taipei, I can’t even understand it myself. My life here was “fine”, I made friends, I was getting an education, it’s safe… but this place was getting to me.

After spring break, I’ve experienced a few bad months and there was not much I could do to make it better, although I tried. I’ve started resenting the city and the traffic and the noise and it felt extremely frustrating to be here. I’m much better now. I have left Taiwan on July 7, and just knowing that I was leaving was a relief for me.

But now let me tell you about my trip to Vietnam.

When I arrived in HCMC, Ders picked me up at the airport, strapped my suitcase to his badass black motorcycle and took me to his friend’s place (yes, I was wearing a -borrowed- helmet).DSC03958 Continue reading

Okinawa

It might have been a short trip, but it was worth every minute of it.

Compared to Taipei, Okinawa is first and foremost really, really quiet.

Okinawa is less than an hour by plane from Taipei and mostly famous for its long life expectancy and the related “Okinawa diet” (you should like fish, seaweed, purple sweet potatoes and bitter gourds, if you’re going to try that). But we were only there for 3 days, so I don’t expect any lasting effects just yet. I also avoid bitter gourd like the plague.

I doubt that coke has anything to do with all the healthy centenarians on the island, although they sure seem to try.

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Taking a Break, Part 2: Taitung

After Hualien, I went to Taitung. Two of my professors had recommended it to me! So I had to go and see for myself.

And it was great! I award Taitung with the best scenery, best fruit, overall best food of the trip and the friendliest people.

The train station is a fair bit outside of the small-ish town (pop. 100.000), so we took a taxi and checked into Spring House Hostel. The host is called Summer and she’s a pretty amazing person. She started running this place by herself a year ago, after she came back from her extensive travels around Europe and Australia. You can see that she knows what she’s doing from the moment you walk in. Have a look:

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Taking a Break, Part 1: Hualien

Yes, I actually managed to get some time off to travel what the Portuguese called the Ilha Formosa. First stop: Hualien!

I wanted to make some couchsurfing connections here in Taiwan and chatted up some surfers. One of them, Hector from Spain had an excellent suggestion on where to stay in Hualien (花蓮市, Lotus Flower City?). So, my charming travel companion and I set off on a train for Hualien.

First off: the train ride. While entering the waiting area, our Taiwanese ticket guy surprised us by talking to us in German. We were super early, because finding the right place was (for a change) much easier than expected, so we passed the time eating sweets. When we boarded the train we were pleasantly surprised again. Will you look at all that leg room?

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2014 in Review – How Convenient!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog, isn’t that awesome?

Since I’m not writing anything else for the moment, all of you who need an update now know I’m still alive (and so is this blog, honestly)!

New year’s resolution No 1: Blog more regularly. Ehem.

Best wishes for the new year to all of my dear readers out there! I’ll see you back in 2015 with more startling headlines, more intriguing photos, more thrilling words, and (hopefully) plenty of new experiences!

Guten Rutsch! Happy New Year! 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè)!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.