January 2009 Archives

Writing Blog Posts On My New iPhone

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This blog post and the one before it were typed out on my brand new iPhone using the Notes app many feet above the Pacific Ocean.

Not that this is the most convenient way to type out a long missive. In fact it is a little bit difficult. But I have to say I love this new toy. I love the clear bright screen. I love having some games to play to pass the time. And I loved having some rented movies in my pocket for the long hours in the air on this trip to the US. (I rented and enjoyed Monty Python's Holy Grail, The Fellowship of the Ring, and Tropic Thunder, by the way. And watching them on the small screen worked out great.)

However, the iPhone is not perfect by any means. I think I still prefer the actual keyboard on my old Nokia e71. But that phone didn't have movies to rent or an easy way to download games and other apps. Not only that, but the iPhone is just so beautiful (colors, fonts, pixel counts, etc. are amazing) and it's just so use-able that I think it is one of the best tech toys I've bought in a long time. And I can hardly wait to get back to Bangkok where I can take full advantage of always having the Internet in my hand wherever I go. Add all that that to a camera... and an iPod... and a phone... and put it all into one beautiful-looking device... and I am a happy man!

Chinese New Year and a Second New Start

I am now flying back into the Taipei airport for the fourth time in a month. The last time was the day before New Year's Eve (New Year's Eve Eve?) and this time it was Chinese New Year. "Gung Hay Fat Choy," the pilot said as we began our decent. "May the Year of the Ox bring you happiness and good health and prosperity!"

So it's the start of a new year on the (lunar) calendar, and it's a new start for me. My crazy 40 days of travel (35,000+ flight miles through 7 cities in 3 countries) is almost over and the new (Chinese) year begins.

The way I see it now, my first New Year that started on January 1 was a trail run -- a two week trial that went very well. Those two weeks that I was in Bangkok, I was at least able to meet most of my New Year Resolutions. I understandably lapsed on this last trip, but starting today, there will be more of the same resolutions, with some additions.

One additional resolution that I would like to conquer concerns this site. As frequent visitors will know, I haven't had much to say here, but I will try to rectify that. Perhaps the format will be a bit different, but I will try to get back to a regular recording of my life, my thoughts, and my life on these pages somehow.

Many times when I return home from a trip I feel anxious and depressed. I love being on the road or in the air on the go, and getting back to "real life" back home is often a downer. But going home this time is different. This time feels like a new start. This time I have a plan. I have goals. I have a path to follow.

This time, I'm back.

Another US trip: NY and DC

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After a full two weeks, I found myself back in the Taipei International Airport flying back the United States. This time, most of my time was spent visiting friends in New York and Washington DC.

I was in New York on January 20th, and although I was staying out in Queens near a friends house trying to save money on hotel costs, I went into Manhattan hoping to watch the Inauguration on TV somewhere. Crowds were starting to gather in Times Square, and the pre-show events were on all of the huge jumbotrons all around the Square. I would have just watched it out there but it was much colder than my Bangkok-trained body could stand.

I finally found a BBQ restaurant with the heat turned on and the inauguration on TV, and so I grabbed a seat at the bar and thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings for the next couple of hours. For me, the highlights of the day were Aretha's hat, and seeing freezing cold people in Times Square, just around the corner from where I sat. Then again, even though I was warm and comfortably seated, perhaps I missed my chance at five seconds of International Fame.

The next day I rented a car and drove down to DC. The whole purpose of this part of the trip was to see as many people as I could, and I did a pretty good job of it, although I didn't see everyone on my list.

But now, I am headed back to Asia one last time, and hopefully I will stay there for a while.

New Year 2009 in Taiwan

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I am home now from my annual Christmas trip to the US. On the way back to Bangkok, I stopped in Taiwan for New Years. Luckily, Piyawat was able to join me for this part of the trip. We hung out with our Taiwanese friends Ike and Jonah on New Years Eve, and went to see the fireworks at the Taipei 101 building. We were a couple of kilometers away, but it was still impressive to see fireworks shooting out of the tallest building in the world.

Here's a 3-minute low-res video that Piyawat took of the festivities that gives you some idea of what it was like:

The next afternoon, Piyawat and I boarded a train and headed south to the town of Hualien, and the next morning we hired a taxi to take us on a tour of Takoro Gorge, a very narrow but deep cut through the mountains. But the coolest part of this gorge is that the walls are made of polished marble.

After another night in Hualien, we caught the express (2 hours, versus 4 hours on the way down) train back to Taipei. We had a couple more nights here, one of which we went to the hot spring spas at Beitou with Ike and Jonah and another night we went out with Jonah and a couple of friends from Singapore who were also celebrating the new year in Taipei.

On our last day, Piyawat and I both decided that we liked Taipei a lot. In fact, we agreed that it was probably somewhere that we would enjoy living. I think that is the only place in Asia outside of Thailand that we have ever reached that conclusion together.

I posted some pictures of our friends and our trip to Takoro Gorge on Facebook.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2008 is the previous archive.

February 2009 is the next archive.

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