Showing posts from February, 2010

Things you should know about Taipei 101

Its pointy, while girthy.  Square, yet rectangular.  It is also a huge rocket.  There's a button in the bottom of the food court that you jump up and down on to make it launch.  No joke.

It has mirrors to sun itself with.

It reminds you where you are.

It contains a non-functional sundial.

They prevent counterfeiting of tickets by changing the color of the actual building, not the one on the ticket.

The fine print isn't so much fine as it is in Chinese.

 The elevator is a roller coaster

Which dumps you into space, so you can take satellite-grade photos of just how huge Taipei city is.

And to keep the building from falling over, a monkey, a dog and a cat have to survive in harmony with each other inside of this ball for at least a year at a time.  Coincidentally, it is also the shock absorber for the entire building, exposed so that people can see what they're buying souvenirs of later.

Taipei 101 is marketing genius.

They will try to sell you things more expensive and smaller than an…

Leaving Thailand

To actually leave Thailand, its key to remember the nature of the environment.

Everything is covered in dots.  Do not be alarmed. 

Those are not cakes.


That is not art.

The sky is molten lava.  The plane is somehow impervious to its deadly deadly heat. 
Fifth: Sunsets are pretty awesome. 
Sixth: Cloud stains do not come off.

Memories of Thailand.

By definition, we "shouldn't" remember this.  That however would indicate that we had actually gone in.  The woman in the photo is selling wooden frogs.

Award for "Best DJ at a Weekend Market" goes to you, sir.

When driving a boat, its important to be comfortable.

And always, always, ALWAYS, pound the red curry paste harder.  HARDER.  YOU'RE NOT DOING IT HARD ENOUGH.  STOP POSING FOR THE PICTURE AND KEEP POUNDING.

So we just got back from Thailand...

Cori and I enjoyed a lovely time in Thailand. We ventured to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Phuket.

This trip has taught me many things:

1) Buddha, he is taller than you, even when he is not.
2) Thai people are impressed when you can eat the real "local" level of spice.
3) Always request a new credit card when the old one is shut down due to fraud. Always.
4) Do not believe a man who says he is an english teacher if he is hanging out on the street with a towel in the back of his shirt at 11am on a Thursday.
5) Just because a hotel has cleaners doesn't mean that they will follow their namesake.
6) Bangkok is hot.
7) All the hippies in California moved to Chiang Mai
8) Elephants make great gifts.
9) Bangkok is hot, but in the way Phoenix is hot if Phoenix was next to the Ohio river.
10) Would you like that fried? Of course you would.
11) Thai is a hard language to pick up once you start learning Chinese.
12) Just because a sign is in english doesn't mean its in english.
13) …

Indigo Pearl Resort, Phuket, Thailand

After sensory overload in Bangkok, we headed south to Phuket for a little rest, relaxation, and sun. We stayed at Indigo Pearl, a 5-star resort on one of the northern beaches. We quickly realized we had crossed over into a world of luxury and extravagance as soon as we climbed into the sleek, black, hotel van. Before the engine was even running, the hotel employee in the front passenger seat reached back to offer us a platter with two neatly rolled damp towels for us to clean our hands with. During our 10 minute ride to the resort, we were given bottles of water as the driver turned up soft jazz music. I couldn't help but turn to Dave and giggle as we pulled up to our destination.

The resort is stunning; every room is a work of art. The design concept, created by visionary landscape architect Bill Bensley, is based on Phucket's tin mining past. The architecture and design are meant to evoke a Thai factory from a century ago. This concept is carried out down to the most minute d…

Television in Bangkok

Rodent Show

Rodent Show

National Anthem

National Anthem

Grasshopper Bike Tour: Bangkok, Thailand

The Grand Palace: Bangkok, Thailand

Making our way to the revered Grand Palace wasn't an easy feat.

Coming from the Khao San area, we fought through the crowds of people, dodging back packers and street vendors with every step. Emerging out of the hippie jungle, we found ourselves on a busy street corner. I looked up and saw the Chedis in the distance, glistening in the sun like the Emerald Palace in the Wizard of Oz. "We're almost there!" I thought.

However, directly in front of us was the dizzying sight of traffic whizzing by us in various directions. The last thing I remember is Dave grabbing my hand, then my mind went blank.

Somehow we made it across the road safely. In the intense afternoon heat, we continued to walk down a dirty, shadeless sidewalk lined with people that appeared to be selling trash. Feeling parched, we stopped to buy a bottle of water which was stocked in an old freezer box. Finally, we approached the Palace.

The first gate we approached was guarded, and had a sign that said &quo…

Hemlock Restaurant: Bangkok, Thailand

Our first evening in Bangkok, we ate at Hemlock, a Thai restaurant just north of the Khao San area. With it's dim lighting and white linen table cloths, the restaurant felt intimate yet upscale.

The menu was extensive, offering standard Thai dishes as well as some unusual ones. Our food was delicious as well, yet the prices were mid range.

Perhaps the most memorable part of eating at Hemlock was the fantastic view we had looking out on to Th Phra Athit Road:

In our direct line of vision was the Anal Tour sign.

Of course we had our share of laughs and juvenile jokes while nibbling on lettuce wraps and sipping on masala tea, but we found the most amusement in watching others as they confronted this absurd sign.

Some people stopped dead in their tracks, while others merely glanced at the sign and chuckled.Others strolled by the sign nonchalantly,  did a double-take, then quickly back pedaled while reaching for their cameras.

My favorite was a solo traveler who after spotting the si…

Chiang Mai Day 2: Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and iberry

On our second day in Chiang Mai, we set off to see the famous Buddhist temple Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep (Doi Suthep being the name of the mountain on which the temple is located). To get to the temple, we crammed ourselves in the back of a songthaew (red taxi truck), where we tried not to sit on the laps of elderly french people or fall out of the truck.

Once we arrived, we headed up a huge staircase flanked with Nagas, or mythical sea serpents. At the top, we purchased our tickets at from the "foreigner" booth. The ticket conveniently listed the Do's and Dont's of temple etiquette, and I found out that wearing a short skirt to a Wat is a bad idea. Not to worry though, with a small deposit I was able to borrow a sarong from the temple.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, built in 1383, has many legends surrounding it. Perhaps the most famous is the legend of the White Elephant. According to this legend, a Lanna king wanted to build a temple. To locate a holy sight, he mounted a…

Reasons Chiang Mai is awesome!

Not 7, but 8 days of Buddha.  THAT'S AN EXTRA BUDDHA FOR FREE!

They are not afraid to show you how ridiculous they think white people look.

Rawr.  I'm a sea monster. 

Their umbrellas hold THEMSELVES up.

Yo dawg, I heard you like roofs, so we put some roofs on your roof so you can have shelter beneath your shelter.  While you ride. 

In case of flood, remove shoes, hop three feet, but DO NOT ENTER.

The trees are covered in thoughtful Public Serenity Announcements. 

There are hot girls there.

The animals live in perfect harmony.  Perfect, tense, hair-raising harmony.

They have Monkey School and Elephant Camp. Your kids have to stay at the hotel, but your Elephants and Monkeys will be highly educated and entertained. 

Your dad's old pickup with a custom cap and tail job is the new local bus.

They invented the StairMaster(tm)

Anyone can be a designer label there. 

They have a super highway.  

The children are well-versed in the art