A few months ago, I saw Richard Saunders posting on Taipei Hikers about an upcoming hiking trip to Yushan, Taiwan’s highest mountain at 3952m. Since I knew that it took time to get the permits and even then, it wasn’t a sure thing, I jumped on the chance to climb this peak. At the time, I was quite fit. As the months passed, and the climb came closer, I actually had no idea what to expect. I had some issues with my previous employer, and had started a new job in September, so I honestly didn’t have much time to get back into the gym and running. Before I knew it, the climbing trip was upon me. I took the time off work, and bought some supplies.
I had a week off in July, so we decided to go to Japan. Specifically, Tokyo, with a short trip to Osaka. Naturally, Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios were on the menu. But first and foremost was the Ghibli Museum, located in Mitaka, Chiba. Unlike some of my other travels, we paid for everything besides transportation and food before we left. This was an interesting difference. After talking with a friend who is currently living in Japan, we decided to use AirBnb for the whole stay. This proved somewhat trickier than I thought, but it allowed me to sort out a Taiwanese PayPal account connected with the only bank in Taiwan that supports PayPal, E.Sun Bank.
Since I haven’t bought a RAM mount yet for my KTM Superduke, I decided to try a different way of navigating. On a scooter, it’s always easy to pause and check directions on a phone. On a motorbike, it’s a lot more difficult.
I paired my Bluetooth headphones with my phone, and started the navigation directions by Google Maps. I have to say that it worked very well, especially on the expressways, where it’s actually not possible to stop in Taipei.
I left my hostel at about 5:30PM in order to catch the last bus to the airport. For some reason, all buses stop at 6AM, making it quite difficult to get around Saigon. At the bus station, near the market, it took me about 15 minutes to figure out that there weren’t any more buses. So reluctantly, I took a motorcycle taxi to the airport. I negotiated a fair price in my opinion of 50,000 Dongs, which was 10x the price of a bus ride.
I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking, but I ended up booking red-eye flights for my whole vacation for CNY this year. It was what was available on the dates that I wanted to fly, and I was in no position to complain much about it, because I had booked the flights in January.
Continue reading “A Week in Saigon”
After having taken it easy for a few days, especially getting detoxed from all of the bad instant coffee and food I drank and ate in the Philippines, I decided to take a half-day tour of the Cuchi Tunnels near Saigon.
I arrived back in Dumaguete on Wednesday, took a while to get settled and planned out the next few days. Since I had spent my time here scuba diving, I hadn’t explored the surroundings much. I planned to go on a day trip to the Casaroro Falls and The Twin Lakes.
After having completed my Open Water Diver Scuba Certification, I decided to join some friends on the search for some new beaches.
I had never done any scuba diving before, but after doing some research and talking to some friends, I thought that this would be a great way to relax after a busy semester at work. Between SSI and PADI, I chose SSI just because it was recommended by the dive masters.
I did not arrive late at the airport this time. I had plenty of time to kill before my initial flight to Manila from Taipei. I decided not to sleep in order to avoid a neck ache. I’m too tall for these small seats on these flights but it’s not for long. The Taipei airport has free Wi-Fi now which surprised me. The same was true for Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.