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.
After having covered about 1000 km in rain mode, I was comfortable enough to switch over to street mode. I had noticed a bit of lagging power a few times in some bends, and I knew that once I noticed this, I need to unlock the full 180 hp of the Beast. To be honest, I barely noticed the difference, especially at low speeds. At high speeds, and when you are accelerating away, it does pull away very quickly, but I haven’t noticed the wheel coming up at all, at least not for now.
I started out the week by going to wash my bike. It is a relaxing task, albeit a sweaty one. Once the beast was clean, I took it home. I decided against riding it to my weekly tutoring session, as it was somewhat slower than anticipated, compared to my scooter. Anyway, the city driving in Sanchong is ludicrous, probably the worst that I’ve seen in Taiwan, especially on Zhengyi North Road, so it was probably safer to leave the beast at home.
It was a pretty nerve-wracking week, because the KTM dealer had a bad reputation, but it was the only official dealer in the Taipei/New Taipei City area, so I had done business with them. It was only months later that people were telling me that they were terrible. I’ll file that away for future reference. I was picking it up after work, and my neighbor came with me. He had also purchased a Super Duke, but paid a lot less since he had gotten a license to sell KTMs, again months after I had ordered mine. I was mainly going with him because he had offered me free underground parking for my motorcycle, and in Taipei, that’s not something you can refuse. For some reason my boss and colleague decided to tag along, even after I had told them not to come. It added even more stress to a stressful situation.
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”
Megacities are usually defined by a total population in excess of 10 million, with an additional component of population density. Rapid urbanization will take a heavy toll on the infrastructure of local governments, if city planners don’t incorporate ways to tackle air pollution.
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As I left the school for a well deserved break, it was about 12:30 and I had yet to eat lunch, I came up the teaching director of the school shouting at someone in her office. While this might seem a common occurrence at most school, it isn’t at ours. I have never seen the TD shouting at anyone. The school is a family-owned affair. The TD’s sister is the manager, the grandmother and great-aunt also work there and all of the kids go to this school.
As usual, the good techno events tend to be on Fridays. I have no idea why, but it makes for an eventful Friday, especially since I was teaching 11.5 hours that day, which included being part of my school’s speech contest. I was pretty tired by the time I got home at 9PM that I went to bed almost immediately, even with a Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiato, ingested only a couple of hours earlier.