December 21, 2003

Going to Bali

I have had a really relaxed week in Taiwan. Mostly just hung out in the hostel since it has been cold here.. I did make it out to Toroko Gorge for a couple days. First day did an insane hike with two young guys from Minnesota. We gained 2500ft in 1 and 1/2 hours! Ended up being about 11 or 12 miles in a bit over 4 hours. At 6pm, I lay down on my bed to rest my tired feet for a few minutes and woke up at 4:30am.. so put my hiking boots back on and did a 1 mile hike to some hotsprings... amazing sunrise!

I'm now at the Taipe airport typing on my PDA over an open wireless network and have just gotten the go ahead to get on the plane to Thailand... I'll spend a night in the airport hotel then continue to Bali in the AM so I'll send my next update from Indonesia!


-- Bindu

Posted by binduwavell at 04:47 AM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2003

Road Warrior

I had a lovely time in Boulder, and visiting my mum in Albuquerque. Got my 2002 taxes squared away, saw lots of friends, danced, went to men's group, enjoyed being home :) yay! I arrived back in Taiwan this morning, after a pretty grewling (time/routing wise) trip from Albuquerque. About 23 hours flying and about 31 hours total travel time... Shesh... one flight LA to Hong Kong was 14.5 hours! Strange routing Albuquerque to Dallas to LA (go figure)... then LA to Hong Kong and back to Taipei... But it was cheap and the comfortable...

I'm planning on hanging here until the 21st. Will probably head down to Toroko Gorge for a few days before heading out. On the 21st, I'm flying to Bali through Bangkok... I'm planning on a couple weeks in Bali then back to Bangkok to hang with Jess and Wade... hope to dive the Similans with the crew from New Way (now working for Coral Grand in Khao Lak) that I learned to dive with! YAY!!!

Hope everyone is well!


-- Bindu

Posted by binduwavell at 02:13 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2003

Kenting to Boulder

So in just under two days, I made it from the SCUBA diving at the beach in Southern Taiwan to walking around chilly Boulder, Colorado... No problems at immigration. Wonderfull place to stay here in town. Walked around the hill (university area) last night before bed. Then hit the Dushanbe Tea House for breakfast and then walked around the Pearl St. mall.. Had to goto the Army store for gloves... damn it's cold here! Just wanted to send out an update, to let everyone know that I made it :) I'm heading back to Taiwan on the 13th of Dec, so should have plenty of time to sort out Taxes and visit friends etc here... Yay!!!

Posted by binduwavell at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2003


Ooops... Apparently I have to be back in the US before Nov 28th... If not, I'll loose my resident alien status (Green Card). I figured this out at 3pm on Nov 25th on the very south end of Taiwan. I'm now set to arrive in Denver on the evening of the 27th. I'm planning on staying in Denver for a bit over a week, then heading to Albuquerque for a few days to visit my mum before heading back to Taiwan. I'll have a week in Taiwan to finish my interrupted tour here, then I'll be going to Bali to spend Christmas with my brother Wade.

So that's the present. I spent my first few weeks in Taiwan with a cold and then looking for teaching work alternatively. I also did lots of exploring the city. There are lots of really cool night markets, great food, good museums, friendly people, excellent local transportation. Taipei is really quite a cool city (dirt and all :) Once I finally found work, I realized that I didn't really want to spend 6 months here so I gave up on teaching and headed out for a tour of the Island.

My first stop was Alishan for some great hiking, some good tea, a really lovely train ride up the mountains, sunrise hike...

From Alishan I headed down the mountains to Kenting (pronounced Kun-ding) which is on the far south of Taiwan. I stayed in a hostel in a Catholic Church... First few days with a couple nice guys (one from Italy, one from Mexico.) Then had a few days on my own in the dorm... Did some diving, lots of reading Gibson in Starbucks :) walking on the beach... was really relaxing until yesterday afternoon, when I happened to check the Department of Homeland Security... I mean immigration website... for Green Card requirements. It used to be that you could stay out for 2 years... still can if you apply for a permit BEFORE leaving the states... Yikes...

BTW, the diving in Taiwan was nice. Not many fish and most of them small, but quite a few I haven't seen before... Cool trumpet fish, puffers, jet black triggers, lots I don't know the name/type of... Mostly it was really nice just being back in the water... Most of the rest of my trip is dedicated to diving, which I'm totally psyched about!

Hope to see some of you soon :)

Loads of Love,

-- Bindu

Posted by binduwavell at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2003

Yo-Yo Taipei

I have been in Taiwan for almost a week already. I'm staying at the Taipei Hostel. Which is a bit run-down, but has a great central location and free internet if you have your own computer (they are threatening to impose a reasonable charge)! Yay. Before I go into too much detail about Taiwan, I feel that I should post a bit more about Japan.

I had a really nice time in Kyoto, visited lots of temples and gardens (will post pictures soon). Unfortunately I didn't get quite as gob-smaked by the sights in Kyoto as I did by the ones in Kamakura, but still really enjoyed walking all over the city. I especially liked discovering unexpected sights while walking. I met some really great people at the hostel and participated in LOADS of tea ceremonies. I tried staying in a Japanese style hotel, but it wasn't very Japanese (the only thing that the great tourist office in Kyoto got way wrong.) I also stayed for a huge parade/festival, loads of folks dressed-up in traditional clothes. The costumes were amazing, I'll post pictures.

My first impression of the people in Japan is that they are not very friendly (esp. compared to China.) However, once I actually met some locals (much harder in Japan than in China) they are really lovely and very genuine! One of the guests at the hostel made the comment that Japanese people don't seem to be connected with things "outside" themselves, but have a tremendous amount of time/energy for the internal. This seems to hold for friendships as well as for personal space (many buildings look quite ugly on the outside, but inside they are gorgeous!!!)

The flight to Taiwan was easy, as was the bus from the airport to the hostel. I have done a little roaming around here. Mostly walking, which is very easy here, although the distances are a bit much. The underground here is fantastic, so that helps quite a bit at the end of a long day walking. My first impression of Taiwan is that it is a dirtier China... After being here a few days, I have also noticed that it is MUCH easier to communicate with folks here.

I have visited a couple of night markets, and electronics markets (I love browsing.) Also been to see the Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial, which looks like it would be amazing, except that it's completely covered in scafolding. The gardens around it are realy nice. As is the National Palace Museum, which has the largest collection of Chinese art in the world. As museums go, it wasn't quite as nice as the Shanghai Museum, but they did have some really amazing things on display (I especially liked some of the more recent china.)

Yesterday, I tried to get a ticket to see a Yo-Yo Ma concert, but they were "sold out". They broadcast the whole concert just outside the National Theater for free, so I had a great time watching/listening/socializing. And the whole band (Yo-Yo and a bunch of South American muscicians) came out after the concert and did a big charity speil with Mercedes... They performed some live music too, which was quite nice! I put "sold out" in quotes, because I could see plenty of empty seats on the video feed... Maybe they were sold, but folks didn't show, or maybe the ticket agent thought I looked a little rought for something as posh as this concert... Who knows, I would have loved to hear more of them live (rather than through the PA system outside.) Sitting on the ground with tons of Taipei-ites was a pretty great experience anyway, so I'm not complaining.

Posted by binduwavell at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2003

Goodbye Japan, Hello Taiwan

I have had a very full two weeks in Japan and am now heading to Taiwan. Just wanted to post this brief note so folks know where I'm at. Will post more about Japan from Taipe.


Posted by binduwavell at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)
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