59 days in Taiwan.
Let me preface this by saying how much I forgot. It’s not much of a surprise that I can be overtaken by long lost familiarity, I forget very easily. That’s about how I would explain Taiwan right now- a remembrance of things past. Coming here, I had absolutely no idea of what I was going to do. No big picture plans except read and eat a ton (literally an elephant’s mass hopefully) and to be happy in sunshine. Number of things first, A) it is not sunny. It is far from the overbearing sun that comes from Texas, albeit I would like our weather more now that I have discovered how much my body sucks in humidity. In fact I’m looking at the 10 day weather forecast and don’t know weather to just give up and like rain or cry about it. Petulant thoughts for pensive weather, it will turnout to be a good thing in the end to get this humdrumness out of the way so I can frolic pettily in the sun. B) I’m literally going to commit accidental suicide because I am a TERRIBLE PEDESTRIAN. If you’ve even seen me walking around downtown Austin you’ll know- that’s how I’m going to die. Also they don’t have sidewalks here and I forgot that having a moped automatically makes you think that you can whiz right next to people. C) I might be terrible at Chinese, but I’m trying. And that makes me feel better ish.
Long story short is that I love it here and I forgot how invigoratingly difficult it is for me and that is why I like it. The buildings, the impossible weather and traffic and streets and all the flora and the stores and food and everything!
Ps I saw a quesadilla place and just about died.
Here we are in LAX just watching people sleep and look morosely out the window. The first leg of the trip over to Cali was good! Slept the whole ride because I didn’t sleep yesterday. Awesome possum. Ready to land after this thirteen hour plane all excited and ready to sleep again!!! Hahahaha see y’all suckas
Taiwan/China for the summer
-become literate in mandarin
-intern???? law firm?????????? This was all set up to go in Beijing but now is very tentative because we do not want to catch bird flu or something.
-hopefully help out in sichuan
one month and counting till liftoff on 5/15!
I am giving a big nope to leaving this place. Ravensburg was absolutely phenomenal with Rutenfest and the people, and now Munich is absolutely enchanting. But I want to go home do badly, it’s terrible being pulled in two directions. Will update on florence, Vienna, Salzburg and Ravensburg probably later on the plane home! One more day in Munich tomorrow and then we are off to Paris in the morning on the 25th. One night there and then wham bam back to Austin!
I can’t believe this trip is almost over, tomorrow is Ravensburg then after that the trip only has three days left Noooo let me stay here forever :/
Nice day 1 03/07/12
Update to de Nice trip! It is now about two weeks after we went to Nice but don’t worry, I haz good memory. Er so we did things and Europe. After we got off the train and dropped off our things at our hostel, belle meunière (which was actually more of a hotel, we had our own room and bathroom and a tv and towels for free…when you live in hostels for and extended amount of time you come to realize how priceless these things are except that they do have a price and it is 1,50€ to rent a towel). Beach beached it up with an anthology of poetry and read some t.s. for a good time. The water was the bluest blue I have ever seen, the whole time I kept yelling “IT’S THE MEDITERRANEAN!!!” we finished the day at the hostel by writing postcards, tell me your address if you want one! It might take a couple of months but that is fine….
Nice day 2 04/07/12
Ok well I wrote about this in journal and can’t exactly remember it actually I can
Went to the beach for the forth of July- it was hot and cold and just right for sleeping
Our day went along the lines of this-
Gooooo America! Saw so many people wearing the flag but that is just because it was in European fashion to do so a few years ago..
We went to a beautiful free public beach but honestly all the beaches are beautiful here. They have pebbles instead of sand though, which is a double edged sword. On one hand you don’t get sand everywhere, and you don’t get as dirty as usually, but on the other foot you have rocks jamming against you in the worst places. I’m thinking that we spent about five hours on that beach? The old ladies here and old people in general have not lost their youthful mentality, I’m not sure how many naked chests of old gals I saw but it was enough that I lost count. And don’t get us started in the state of speedos…I think the social criticism that cites shame and a certain restriction on age and beauty doesn’t affect the people here, which is great. If you haven’t heard fromack, we are very startled and a bit miffed about the state of charging for toilets here. Had trouble with that at the beach. Saw a bunch of Scandinavians who were as red as lobsters, they did not take to the heat as well as us Texans. I think I tanned so much that day that I started looking purple, which is just strange. After the beach, I think we got out at six, we went to mozart cafe and bought sirop de l’eaus, which needs to catch on in America. These were a bit pricey for the size though. Our favorite flavor in dordogne was violet sirop, while in Vienna it was elderberry. They usually make their own sirop and it lasts about two to three months! This is why fizzy water/soda water/mineral water is so favoured here. After the cafe, we stopped by the grocery and got microwaveable dinners. Saving money like usual. Watched spiderman 2 in French which was the hight of hilarity. I got us lost in the town at about ten, and then we had to find our way to the discotheque. This was a challenge. Found out that w had to go to vieux Nice, and met some nice locals who took us on a tour. Met a lot of interesting Swiss and Viennese and Finnish and Scottish and spanish and Dutch and a multitude of nationalities. Found Lana by giving her a nickname, ‘la fille en rouge’ and got sleep.
Nice day 3 05/07/12
Last day in Nice! We slept in till 11 and started off for the museums finally. I had a plan to walk there even though there was a bus that took us directly to the door of the museum. I thought that after champs Élysée, we could conquer any road. Boulevard Cimier proved me wrong. It was not that bad of a hike, but most of it was uphold to the top of Nice, where all the nice hotels and quiet townspeople with money lived. Saw the hotel Regina where Matisse and many other artists stayed, and finally got to the Matisse museum. We walked through the ancient roman ruins in front of it, which was a good set for our mood. Took the us back after the museum which was a good idea. The museum itself had its exhibition as Matisse’s paper cutouts, and they had a lot of his classic things as well. Sadly not his red room, the painting that I like the best, but a bunch of other things. I will write a whole post on art that I’ve seen later. Got back to hostel slept/ Lana and Mack went out to eat, which I slept through. I think that’s happened about four times this whole trip, where I sleep and nap and miss dinner or a meal. Met a lot of Irish people in vieux Nice, who were very surprised that. Could tell that they we irish from their accents. Our ignorant American image precedes us. Went to the beach at night and then packed up to go to our train at five am.
Rome day 1 06/07/12
Rome Rome Rome Rome! Our worst experience on the train yet, from nice to ventimilia is a stop in….monte Carlo, which we chose to avoid because of the uselessness of going- we couldn’t buy anything anyways, so just looking around would feel null. But, apparently many many many other tourists did not think this and we were crammed onto a train standing up because there were so many people going to Monaco. Terrible. I wanted to throw up just so I could sit down. Finally after thirty minutes they all got off and the train cleared, and we got to sit in a three hour train ride to Milan. Milan meh. We didn’t love the pizzeria we went to next the train station- probably because it was right next to the train station. After an hour of waiting in Milan we got l the train to Rome! Built a fort of sleeping and slept the whole way through. The Italian police actually got concerned for us, they kept peeking into our carriage and opening the door just to make sure that we were alive. “lots of thieves girls! Be careful!” when we got to the Roma Termini, we bought a Roma pass ( best purchase for traveling cities, besides being below 19 for museums =free). Checked in at Alessandro Palace, which was a one minute walk from the train station. It was a fun place! Apparently one of the best hostels in the world. Go Lana and booking great places. Ate bruschetta and pizza immediately to acclimate our stomachs to a new gastronomical taste. Met a lot of Aussies who filled us in on culture and lifestyle down south, they were all escaping the cold winter and had went to yacht week in Croatia! FREE PIZZA NIGHT here which was good because I took three. Out like a light for the when in Rome the next day.
Rome day 2 07/07/12
Go to ALL the ancient places today! Colosseum (licked it), Palatine, roman forum, museum, Viktor Emmanuel’s tomb of the unknown soldier (felt the Italian pride rise up even though I am not Italian) a basilica (über catholic), pantheon (Raphael’s grave), piazza nova (gelato), Trevi fountain (helped little Koreans get there- ooOOOh! So beauriful!) and back to the hostel where we had to move rooms. Merp. I got sick (cough/head sore) at the roman forum, which lasted until Vienna where I finally got marginally better. While walking back to the hostel, we found a pizzeria which had a discotheque in the back. I just laughed for about two minutes. Of course, si roman.. Met more finnish people who were funny (pronunciation of hotel and Chicago) and got back to the hostel. Free pizza again sleep sleep after long day.
Rome day 3 08/07/12
Ate pizzas as big as a person for breakfast- mine was only 1,25€! Castle San Angelo, which was interesting but not as much for us because Mack and I have not watched/read angels and demons. Panoramic view of Rome which was great! Spanish steps at nine pm, met a recent Stanford grad who was really nice. Walked home slept.
Florence day 1 09/07/12
Packed up in Rome, check out leave bags in hostel. Off to Vatican city! St peter’s basilica= stunning because it housed Michelangelo’s Pieta, which is my absolute favorite sculpture ever. Stood in front of it for what seemed to be forever and I’m pretty sure I cried. Got lost and couldn’t find Lana or Mack so I just went back to the hostel after waiting at the exit for about an hour and thirty mins. Finally found them after a hour at the hostel, they were in a completely different room than me for like thirty minutes and neither of us noticed! Off to Firenze, which I was looking forward to. Rome really wasn’t my town, I don’t think I’m made for some cities. At the station I fell in love at first sight with the city, seeing the main duomo of the Basilica Santa Maria was breathtaking. Check in at hostel do our thang get out passports and money and our things up, this hostel had run out of rooms when we booked it so we had to change rooms everyday. We had a New Zealander as our roommate and a girl from San Fran who was 19! Youngest we have met on this trip, usually we can only find people in the ballpark of our age..which is a huge ballpark. Off to the Michelangelo plaza for the night, saw the sunset at the ponte vecchio. On the walk up to the Michelangelo plaza, we walked up with some nice Dutch people. Saw our old roommates from Rome at the piazza! So strange but cool, they were Brits. Rested at the scenic view of Florence, listened to old cello players and just lounged in the antiquity of it. Back to hostel and sleep.
Florence day 2 10/07/12
I woke up grump de grump today and was sad mean to Mack, which was bad. Went on the free walking tour our hostel provided which was very informative and things I am so tired right now on this train to Salzburg. It is ten thirty at the moment on the 17th of July 2012 and I am on a train. It is immensely sad to think that this is one of the last train rides I will take, I definitely prefer this to flying. It makes me feel like I’m gliding through everywhere, but everything is just out of reach rather than the feeling of isolation that you get in a plane. Cramped, messy fussy planes. Trains are a whole new expense, a trip in and of itself. Trying to keep up int he past at the same time as moving forward in the present is extremely taxing. In a rare somber moment presently, a little time to ponder but not much so I will not. Leaving luxury and comfort behind in Vienna is a little difficult, especially since it was so easily accessed that it almost felt like a natural right. Getting too lost in worldliness is bad though struggle is good and we are not even truly roughing it. There honestly has been no major complications on this whole trip. A few scares, like when I got lost and when we couldn’t figure out the metro ticket system and when the train almost left without me in Austria, when I thought I lost my money wallet with my passport in it when it was in my bag the whole time, or when Mack got “pickpocketed” with them only taking petty cash. We have been very lucky or maybe very alert and prepared. Thing things through really does make things easier though, as this trip has proven on many occasions (Paris, Annecy). Building up my “Neng Kan” as my mom would say in Chinese. Learning the language is incredibly easy, since they’re all in the same alphabet. I will write more about Florence later, I think this bulk of update has been enough for today. Venice/Vienna will come in a pack, although I might have to separate them because I felt such antipodal emotions about the two cities. Guess which one I loved? Guess which one I hated. Hahahahaha have fun at home I miss everybody!
We will be going to Salzburg on Tuesday!
Extremely bad at keeping this up to date. We are already on day 17 in Venezia but I haven’t even talked about the forth of July/ am still stuck in Nice on this blog! Almost defeats the purpose of this. Traveling is not hard with the backpack, but I’ve got a lot of emotional luggage weighing me down, man. Kidding! But it’s really been a blast and strangely easy doing this trip. We have it easy-so many people e have met are hardcore travelers: a man biking throughout Europe, Scotsmen sleeping on train stations and the road, others not even knowing if they have a place to stay for the night. We really planned this down to the cracks, which only has the downfall of not letting us go to places on a whim. We’ve heard that Barcelona and Croatia are amazing to go to, will include that in a later trip! Tomorrow is more Venice and then the night train to Vienna, which I absolutely adore because Austria-Hungary. Will update soon, or never.
We go lots of places all the time and it is very exhausting and a little hectic but still super enjoyable. This seems a little pretentious to say but it feels more like traveling than touristy because we walk everywhere and really get to “feel the city” if you want a creepy description. I’ve been coughing a lot and a “wee” (as a scot that we met said to our delight) sick so kinda Debbie downer but Rome! Rome is goood. Will elaborate on events and days in Nice preceding later.
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