Tuesday June 27th, 2006

My little bumpkin, Datsun ... an angel, indeed! If you have a moment, please check out the new album, Messing Around. I am a newcomer to Photoshop and I'm in the process of learning how it all works. Brother J gave me a quick run around today ... it's a pretty cool program, but it seems a bit complex. As time will be tight over the next month, I'm not sure how much playing I'll be able to do. Keep your eyes posted!

P.S. Comments are always welcome! I get a lot of emails with feedback which is awesome! Thank you! Thank you! If I may take a moment to point you in the direction to the small comment link at the bottom of this post. I encourage you to click on it and post your comments there. That way, all can read and enjoy!

Sunday June 25th, 2006

And yet another photo of my little Levi. I just took it this morning. I've been trying to get a nice shot of Datsun but, due to this almost unbearable heat, he's been sleeping under covers. Yes ... under covers. I often wonder if he might die from heat exhaustion under there ... he always seems overly content, however. Being under the covers is his safe place. I think he goes on the theory that if he can't see us it must be impossible for us to see him ... it's a good thing he's cute!

I don't have much to write about today. I've been racking my brain for a topic, but not much is of interest. A picture will have to suffice. What a face, huh? Who is the lucky one ... gosh.

To Flush or Not to Flush ...

Last night, Jason and Spring invited myself and his best friend, Murray, out to dinner. We went to one of our favourite Thai restaurants here in Taiwan. We had shrimp cakes and water spinach and yellow and green curries and some papaya salad among a few other things. This restaurant has it's own small brewery and, luckily enough, it seemed to be happy hour.

I'm not much of a beer drinker as it always seems to go right through me. A beer and a half in, I found myself making my way to the restroom. Upon my arrival, the plastic sign hanging in the bathroom stall reads:

1. Please do not flush toilet due to malfunction.
2. Please flush after each use.

Hmm ... what is one to do? In Taiwan, it is a common rule that nothing is to be flushed down the toilet ... meaning any kind of tissue or feminine product. You are to place them in a provided garbage bin. A how-to picture did accompany the sign, so I believe the first rule was supposed to read something like ... Please do not flush tissue down the toilet due to malfunction ... some key words missing there, I think.

It still amazes me that you see incorrect English around Taipei. Big signs that have been made and paid for by companies read things like , 'Comming Soom' and 'Bisiness' and one of the best so far, 'Languguage School'. Needless to say, that school didn't stay in 'bisiness' too long.

I can scoot from home to work in about 7 minutes if I catch all the lights. I always see at least one foreigner on my way to work ... at least. I wonder why it is that one can't tap another on the shoulder to ask for a little help.

This must be one of the most interesting time periods to be living in a place like Taiwan. Things are developing so quickly that come another 10 years down the road you won't see errors such as the few I've introduced.

My apartment is scattered with new odds and ends from Jason's old apartment. It is going to be very sad to see him go. I feel luckly that I can say my bro and I lived in Asia together for a few short years ... it was a pretty special thing. I guess there always comes that time when one is ready to move on to something new ... something bigger and better.

Brother J ... you will be missed greatly. Best of luck to you and Spring on the other side of the globe!

Tuesday June 20th, 2006

Pinglin (坪林) River, Taiwan. It's a quick jaunt out of the city via scooter ... through windy mountain roads ... small towns ... country homes ... a little over an hour's worth. Mostly all one finds there is some fishermen.

One time, however, a year or so back, a few of us ran into a group of Taiwanese camping for the night. There must have been about 15 of them partying it up ... and when I say partying it up, that is putting it mildly. They were lighting off fireworks all night ... and I'm talking fireworks. Maybe I should now remind you to look at the photo on the left. Notice that there isn't much space between where one camps and the lush greenery across the somewhat narrow river. Where we camp is a bit of a bigger area with the river being quite a bit wider, but, still. What a blast ... no pun intended, of course.

The highlight of the past weekend camping trip was the sighting of a monkey. He was in the trees across the river. Now, I have seen monkeys in most of the countries I have been to along the way, but this one presented a different situation. As we were camping, we had nothing to do but be interested in his activites. We saw him in the trees and on the rocks by the water and then back in the trees. He came out one tree and my thought was, he's going to fall in the water ... I guess that was his intention. He had a bit of a swim ... it was a pretty cool thing. The day was hot ... who could blame him, really?

The sun has been out for day number 4 ... hopefully it is here to stay. I had to pull out the fan on Sunday ... it's back to that humid, sweating all the time, kinda heat. It beats the rain, but it doesn't make one want to do much. I am thankful now for the cold, white tiled floors and the beautiful breeze a corner apartment gets ya! I enjoyed the pool today which means I didn't make it to Wen Hua. Procrastinating? A bit. I still have next week and I say why do today what you can do tomorrow.

My plane ticket has been purchased. Money gone, ticket in hand. According to my countdown (see the bottom of my blog) I now have 40 days, and ... the time ticks ...

PS - I'm liking this whole photoshop thing ... need more time to learn.

Temples of Cambodia ...

I've sat down on numerous occasions to write this story, but it's hard to come up with the right words to express exactly how I was feeling on that particular day. I do recall my first thought. That being, I should have allowed myself more time ... I don't really think I understood the massiveness of what I was about to be introduced to.

The ride through the jungle I thought to be breathtaking until we had reached our final destination, Angkor Wat. Awe overwhelmingly consumed me. I felt like I had been removed from the world and placed in a far away land that couldn't possibly have existed.

I love Wikipedia ... The outer wall of Angkor encloses a space of 820,000 square metres, that's 203 acres ... the wall is 1025m by 802m and is 4.5m high. It is surrounded by a 30m apron of open ground and a 190m wide moat. The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century. It was built as the king's state temple and capital city.

I spent hours wandering around in amazement. It seemed there were a ton of tourists, yet it wasn't hard to find your own space within the walls. I picked a window sill and allowed myself time to sit and enjoy the calm, quiet world in front of me.

I'm sure the pictures have spoken for themselves. If you haven't taken the time to look, please do yourself a favour and click on the sidebar link. As I had said in an earlier post ... I hope to get back to Cambodia in the next few years to allow myself some more time. My experiences were unique. So unique, in fact, that I believe they are to be only mine.

If I had to recommend one thing to do in Asia ... Cambodia would probably be first on the list!

Sunday June 11th, 2006

How can one not fall in love with that little face ... I mean, come on?!

A friend has shown me how easy Photoshop can be to use. This opens a whole new world for my photos. I know a good way to spend my time on that 15 hour flight back to Canada ... Photoshop for Dummies!

Speaking of flights ... my ticket has been issued. I will be picking it up on Tuesday. I will also be going to 文化大學 (wen2 hua1 da4 xue2) to apply for Chinese classes. I am a bit nervous to make such a big commitment, but I think the benefits have the potential to be great. I will keep you posted about my acceptance ... fingers crossed!

Sunday June 4th, 2006

Taipei 101 ... the tallest building in the world. I hear Japan is already in the process of building a taller one. I am awaiting a nice day so that I can go to the top and check out the view.

Taipei 101's basement has a grocery store called Jason's. It looks like it may be affiliated with the IGA stores ... I only say that as the logo is very similiar. This store allows one to buy lots of western things such as jalapenos and tortilla wraps and cheese. Of course you have to pay for the luxuries like salt and vinegar potato chips and spinach and balsamic ... but it makes you appreciate them that much more.

My Chinese textbook has been offering more insight into Chinese culture. I am slowly trekking my way through. I find this book to be much more difficult than the first. It can be a little overwhelming at times.

Think about this ... the area of Taiwan, not including the small islands that surround it, is 35,824 square kilometres ... population 22.9 million. The area of Vancouver Island is 32,134 square kilometres ... population of Canada, 33 million. Imagine taking almost two thirds of Canada's population and moving it all to Vancouver Island ... are you seeing a picture? To add to the amazement, two thirds of Taiwan is largely mountainous with 100 peaks over 3,000 metres. Where does it all fit, you ask? Who knows!

I've taken some time to update my photos albums. Out with some old, in with some new. I have also added maps and flags to the countries I've seen thus far. If you have a moment, please have a look through all the albums and enjoy.