Here are some pictures that a friend sent to me that were taken while in Shanghai.
Ben's Big Adventure
Here are some pictures that a friend sent to me that were taken while in Shanghai.
The Stuff That Is Given To Horses For Abortions?
09.28.2010 86 °F
My time so far in Taiwan has been pretty relaxed. I went out with some people to a local bar/club called Brickyard several nights ago, which was pretty fun. There were a lot of foreigners there who are currently studying at the local university or teaching English. There was one guy that I met who said that he plays baseball for a local team. The following night I was watching a baseball game on TV and he was pitching for one of the teams playing. I met a local celebrity! Now I know why all of the Taiwanese were so infatuated with him.
I am sure you are probably wondering why this entry is titled Taiwan Black Bear. It's not because I was attacked by a Taiwanese Black Bear. A couple nights ago I was introduced to a Taiwanese drink called Taiwan Black Bear. It was a concoction of cocunut juice and some really crazy liquor/medicine that construction workers drink to stay awake. "They give this to horses to give them abortions" replied my friend when I asked him what exactly the drink was. I just smiled and nodded my head. At the same time I was thinking is this the night that I'm going to die? It turns out it's perfectly safe to drink in moderation. My Taiwanese friends compared the substance to Red Bull. It tasted like bubble gum. The night was great and I'm still alive.
The hostel that I'm staying at is nicknamed the Sugarcane House, and for good reason. Driectly in front of the hostel are a dozen poles of sugarcane along with a sugarcane juicer. Every morning an old Taiwanese woman comes to set up shop to make and sell sugarcane juice. She has a desk with a scale that she works with along with the juicer. It is really neat getting to watch her perform this process in the morning. My friend and I have helped her a couple of times to move her desk, and in return we have recieved several bottles of fresh sugarcane juice. It is and extremely sweet substance when not mixed with anything. So, we have decided to make a drink out of it, and add it to the bar menu. We experimented last night with vodka and gin. It turns out that adding gin and some lime juice makes for a very delicious drink. We haven't though of a name for the drink yet, so ilet me know if anyone has ideas.
The ocean is about two miles away from my hostel, so last night I went to watch the sunset at a nearby beach that I was told about. Well, I didn't make it to the beach because the walk was a little longer than I originally thought. However, I did still manage to find a look out point where I could take some pictures.
Successful arrival in Taiwan
09.24.2010 86 °F
I spent the last days in Shanghai showing Dave, an American friend that I met in the hostel, around the city. It turns out we are both traveling the same way. Not really in the same direction but with the same mentality, making plans as we go. He is a little more limited on time than I am, but he would like to make it to Nepal, India, and finish in Thailand. I may just have to make India a part of my itinerary and meet up with him as it is one of those places that strikes me as an extremely fascinating country. I will have to think about it during my stay here in Taiwan.
So, I left Shanghai Friday morning for Taiwan. Little did I know that it would take 13 hours to travel from Shanghai to Kaoshiung by air. I had a one hour flight from Shanghai to Fuzhou, and then a layover of 7 hours in Fuzhou airport. Fuzhou International Airport is not a place that you want any sort of layover. They had a KFC and a bookstore. The KFC, which I have never eaten at during my travels in China, made me sick. The only two times that I've been sick since I've left the US was from American food. Go figure, right? I was just asking for it after I ate that two pound hamburger last week - (refer to my previous post if you don't know what I'm talking about). The 7 hour layover was then followed by another 1 1/2 hour flight from Fuzhou to Kaoshiung, which seemed a hell of a lot longer due to the lady seated next to me speaking non stop at a tone not suitable for incabin use. While I'm here I will be staying at my friend TC's hostel - Hamasen Hostel. Those of you that one day venture this way should make the visit to this one of a kind hostel. It's a newly revnovated old dental clinic. The place has a great vibe and is in a historical part of town. TC asked if I could help him out at all during my stay, so it looks like I might be playing hostel keeper/bartender during my stay! It should be a fun time!
I think I'm going to take a walk around town today. There is a mountain with monkeys near by that I visited a couple years ago, so I think I'm going to go make the trek again.
It's taken a little longer to get this entry added because the hostel only has two computers. So, I apologize for keeping you waiting. Anyways, I'm here in Shanghai and I'm still alive for those of you who have been thinking otherwise. Shanghai has a been a great time once again . Everytime I visit this city it changes so much. I can't believe the speed that it has grown over the past two years. They have added several new metro lines which makes transportation even easier than it was before, which I thought was impossible. They even have a metro line that connects the airport to the city! I was pleasently suprised by that because it now only costs 7 yuan by metro vs. 150 yuan by taxi! On top of this I was amazed to see the Chinese people finally understanding the concept of waiting for people to get off the subway trains. The past two years that I have been here one had to push and shove to get on or off the trains. I'm not sure what the government has done to make this happen, but it's finally working!
Well, I arrived last week and checked into my hostel with no problems. The hostel keepers were very generous and gave me what I thought was a blue bath towel. It actually turns out to be my blanket for the bed. Little things like this just make me laugh. So, far I've been wandering around the city visiting my favorite spots that I've acquired the past two years of studying and working here. I made a visit up to my old university and found some changes along the famous backroad where I used to eat and shop for daily necessities. I've been able to hook up with a few of my friends that are in town working and studying. I've also been able to make new friends along the way from the hostel that I'm staying at.
I met a couple guys, Sam and Rob from London and Holland. We hit up the World Expo together, which turned out to be one of the most tiresome days of my life. Woke up early to get our tickets and walked all day until 11:00 pm. I don't think I would have been able to last if it wasn't for Sam and Rob. We decided to forego the whole concept of waiting in lines for each country's pavillion, which sometimes was several hours. We saw the VIP entrances and figured our way into those instead. In order to enter the VIP areas we needed to show that we were citizens from that country by using a passport. I didn't have my passport on me but Sam and Rob did. So it was one American, one Dutsch, and one Englishman who somehow conned their way into the pavillions of Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Switzerland, Australia, Finland, and Denmark. I think there were a few others but It became a blur after awhile. Anyways, it was fun acting like we were from those countries nonetheless. You maybe wondering why an English and a Dutsch passport got us into those countries? We are wondering the same thing. The expo was a little overhyped I thought, but it was an experience worth having.
Yesterday I showed a fellow traveler from Malaysia around Shanghai and ended up eating a two pound hamburger for the hell of it. We were walking down a street and along came an American restaurant with an advertisement reading FREE HAMBURGER, along with replica of a very, very, very large hamburger on a very, very, very large plate. Turns out it was a challenge to eat a 1000g hamburger, along with the fries, in 10 minutes. I wasn't even hungry at the time, but I just said, "Fuck it!". Erich, the Malay, didn't make it easy for me to walk away either. Well, the challenge started once I cut the burger into quarters. I was on track for the first half, but after that I started to feel it. I felt it hard. I was down to about a bite size piece of burger when I looked at the rest of my plate, and then the timer. I was screwed. It was an epic failure that cost me 100 yuan. To make things worse a little Chinese girl supposedly did the same challenge in 7 minutes. Maybe next time I guess.
The weather has been a little abnormal so far with hot and humid conditions. I have been told that this isn't normal for this time of year, but I think that's the same story for all areas around the globe. Fortunately, a cold front has come through today bringing some rain and cooler temperatures.
I will be leaving Shanghai on Friday for Taiwan to see TC, a friend of mine from when I studied in Taiwan two years ago. He owns a hostel in Kaoshiung, so I thought I would go help him out for a couple weeks. Once I arrive in Taiwan I'll add another update along with more photos that I've taken. I'm about to head out with an American friend that I've met in the hostel to meet up with another friend of mine for a drink.
I hope everyone is doing well!
Looks like not all of my photos are being shown on the blog page, so make sure to view the rest of my photos by clicking the photography link on the right side.