Friday, January 19, 2007


Actually I feel horribly wide awake, headachy and slighty dried out. Woke up at stupid oclock last night but was able to push past it and sleep till 10am, but not tonight. Its partly altitude and jetlag. 7000ft isn't huge elevation but its very dry here.

The whirlwind tour of Taipei was fun. Big and busy. East meets West. Noodles and Starbucks. It reminded me of Nairobi and Mexico City, all very modern and but still with a air of not. Maybe its the materials the buildings are made from, bit more grey concrete, or the funky bright neon signs which seem abit yesteryear, or the smell of sewage in the street. Its hard to explain without sounding all "well Sydney is so much cleaner and brighter so nahh".

We took two tours on Tuesday. The morning on was out of town to the north coast. Drove up to the big port town of Keelung, there is a big Buddha Statue and a huge brass bongy bell.
Then to Yeliu, which is a sandstone outcropping weathered into funky shapes. It was humid but the sea breeze was loverly. It was great to see some of the landscape outside the city, sheer cliff and jagged peaks, all very volcanic, flat land definatley a premium.

Got back to town spend the arvo walking the streets and having a nana nap before the Night tour. There was only us two which was ok, but a bit strange. First we had a Mongolian BBQ dinner, not sure if the tour guide was a little disappionted when we said we had done this before, but all very yummy. Next he took us to Snake Alley - Tourist Night Markets. It was narrow, brightly lit with folk selling geegaws, trinkets, jars of eyeballs ...umm actually I think they may have been eyeballs. Basically a small Paddys Market except with guys draining snake's blood into glasses.
The other side was open air and a bit more interesting, but I'm afraid that night markets especially Asian style ones just don't live up to my imaginings. Plently of neon but not enough spotlights and hover crafts.
From there we walked to Lungshan Temple, which was beautiful and full of people offering food, incense, candles and cash to whatever god or not god may be listening. It was dark and smokey but off to the side was a bright office area with megaphones which kinda broke the atmosphere. People were taking a number to pay US$20 to have their name pull into a piller of candles which looked beautiful. Its all about the cash, as usual, but if its going toward the upkeep of the temple then its a good plan on some monks part.
As goddless as I am I still get into respectful mode when I enter places like that. Mocking is done in a whisper.
After the old world we went to the new. Tower 101, which funnily enough has 101 floors and is the tallest building in the world. We took the super fast ear poping elevator to the 89th floor, and the view was awesome, the world looked liked teeny tiny ants. It would be good go up in the day just to see the surrounding landscape but the city lights were stunning.

It was fun and I'm glad we got to go, even for a short time.
Got to Flagstaff ok, except out luggage was still in Phoenix, but we got it today. All good except for the big glass jar of Vegemite broke in Robs backpack. Part of me mourns the lost, a big part, but part of me giggled cause I know how much he hates the stuff, only a small giggle brought on by jetlag and really it was only a small chuckle. Poor vegemite.
It was -10c when we landed, brisk. Today was sunny and brisk. There is snow, not a huge lot but there is a storm a coming tomorrow which will bring more.
We opened a bank account- Wells Fargo, my checkbook (they use checks here- odd) has a stagecoach on the pages.
Haven't been to Granny's closet yet but had lunch/breakfast with Mike at his local. $2.99 big freakin breakfast. Eggs on toast too easy, not enough choices. So many choices.

Well enough blather, I may try and got to sleep or I'll be zmobiefied even more.
Night night