Page 8 of LivingTheDream Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Taiwan » Nantou County » Sun Moon Lake September 18th 2009

(Day 532 on the road)From Tainan, my mum and I took a combination of train and bus to Sun Moon Lake, the largest lake in Taiwan. On the way we had to change trains in a small little town, and walking around waiting for our connection we stumbled across a crammed tea shop manned by a lovely elderly couple. They spoke no English whatsoever, but with hands and feet they explained to us what their various teas on offer were good for (headache, throat problems, sleeping etc). My mum bought two packages, and leaving the shop she wanted to take a picture. The men felt compelled to put on his shirt for that, and the resulting picture of the old couple in their shop was was not of a very high photographic interest, but a memory ... read more
Beautiful Tsen pagoda
Misty Sun Moon Lake
Me looking down from the top of Wenwu temple

Asia » Taiwan » Tainan September 15th 2009

(Day 529 on the road)We had wanted to see some Taiwanese temples, and we got more than we bargained for in Tainan. Tainan is famous for its abundance of beautiful temples, and people from all over flock to the city for this reason. Our guidebook recommended a walking route that takes in the main temples, and we had every intention to complete this walk. However, we failed, not miserably, but still. We managed to explore about four temples before the heat and the long distances between the temples forced us to abandon our venture. The four we did see however were beautiful, especially the first one we went to, the Chihkan Towers, also called Fort Proventia. In most of the temples we saw the statues on the altar were all of a dark black colour. They ... read more
Turtles at Chihkan Towers (Fort Proventia)

Asia » Taiwan » Green Island September 13th 2009

(Day 527 on the road)We hadn't initially considered going to Green Island, but with a recent Taifun wrecking havoc in many parts of southern Taiwan, our plan to visit Alishan needed to be adjusted. It was a mixed blessing: On the one hand Green Island was very beautiful, on the other hand Alishan boasts a narrow-gauge alpine railway and some grand mountain vistas. Anyway, the choice had been made for us, and Green Island it was. I had told myself not to ride a motorcycle with my mum again to save both our sanity, but as soon as we stepped off the ferry we realised that the only way to get around the island is by scooter. In fact, all the guest houses and hotels offer a package of rooms and scooter (there were hundreds and ... read more
Lighthouse on Green Island
Sleeping beauty rock

Asia » Taiwan » Taroko Gorge September 10th 2009

(Day 524 on the road)A three hour train ride south on one of Taiwan's comfortable and reliable trains brought us to the city of Hualien on Taiwans' east coast, the stepping stone for the magnificent Taroko Gorge. Or shall we call it, as the English translation in the tourist brochure does, "Extreme beauty of the world and a pleasing delight of hills and water"? Catchy! We had missed the last bus for the day to Taroko Gorge and thus spent the night in Hualien. That was not bad actually, as this way we set off the next morning on our own rented scooter, which gave us a lot of flexibility in the remote mountains where we were heading. It was the first time that my mum was riding on the back of a scooter, and she ... read more
The imposing Taroko Gorge
Baiyang waterfall
Eternal Springs Shrine

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei September 7th 2009

(Day 521 on the road)"Taiwan really good!". This was literally the very first thing I saw after stepping off the plane in Taipei. I have never fully understood why the Chinese and apparently also Taiwanese never bother to check for spelling and grammatical errors on their billboards and signs, but I am very glad they don't - as it always provides for some of the best spontaneous entertainment possible! T-shirts and posters with writings like "Three win the first", "Happiness just like flowers", "Fuck the hot" (serious), or a hotel named "The trusting hotel" never fail to make me smile. And how happy I was to have arrived in Taiwan - finally! After I had planned to come here more than two months ago but was delayed by my hospitalisation in Borneo in June, I am ... read more
Taipei 101, rising high above the city
In Taipei's trendy Ximen district
Dictator on display like a hero (Chiang Kai-shek)

Asia » Singapore September 4th 2009

(Day 518 on the road)"Wasn't the Airbus 320 the plane that crashed a few months ago, you know that Air France flight from Brazil to France...?" The pretty Asian girl in the seat next to me on the flight from Bali to Singapore tensed up noticeably, then she mumbled something which I didn't quite catch. With hindsight, this probably wasn't the best line to chat her up, and thus for the next two and a half hours I just kept to myself and read my book. It had been the very last day of my Indonesian visa. In fact, it had been the last two hours on my Indonesian visa (as I went through immigration in Bali at 2200h). Having entered the country exactly 30 days earlier just a few minutes after midnight, I thus used ... read more
Proboscis monkey at the zoo
Giant tortoises at the zoo
My mum about to cool down in the river

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Kuta August 27th 2009

(Day 510 on the road)I think my timing to visit Bali was not quite the best. The main tourist area of Kuta was super-crowded when I was there, mostly by vacationing Australians (some of which are simply amazing on their surf boards), who seemed to have taken over the place. It also didn't help that I arrived late at night - I spent a good two hours looking for a place to crash, checking more than thirty hotels, guesthouses and homestays. All full, crazy! Just as I was thinking I would have to spend the night at the beach I found a hotel that had exactly one overpriced room left. With a couple standing in line behind me also looking for a room, I decided to take it. The next morning I was up at six ... read more
Hindu offerings at Kuta beach, with surfer walking by in the background
Surfers riding the famous Balinese waves
Whom can I hassle next with my souvenirs that nobody wants to buy?

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Mount Bromo August 15th 2009

(Day 498 on the road)From Yogyakarta, I opted to take a direct minibus to the magnificent Bromo volcano in eastern Java. The twelve hour journey was exceptionally boring, which was mostly due to the four other people in the minivan, two French couples. None of them spoke much English (one guy didn't speak any English at all), and barely enough for the most basic of conversations. I am not a native English speaker myself, but English really is THE language to speak when you are travelling. And when you don't speak English you are typically quite isolated from everybody around you, as you can only talk with people from your own country, which takes away an importaant aspect of travelling (meeting people from other cultures and backgrounds). Whilst I am on that topic: The French are ... read more
Laotian Pasir - the Sand Sea - below Bromo
At the base of Bromo
Gunung Bromo ridge

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Yogyakarta August 13th 2009

(Day 496 on the road)After crazy Jakarta, Yogyakarta, a pleasant eight-hour train ride east and sporting some great views of the green countryside, was a welcome change. Despite the unbelievable hassle as I stepped out of the train station (I stopped counting at the thirtieth "Transport, boss?", "Hello Mister, taxi?"), the small alleys of the city were quiet and offered a welcome respite from the constant attention of taxi drivers, hawkers and salesmen found elsewhere across Indonesia. I soon found a small losmen with a clean room and a nice balcony overlooking the alley below, and settled in for a couple of days of taking it easy. The main reason to come to Yogyakarta, (or Yogya, as everyone calls it), however is to visit the nearby ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. I started with Prambanan, ... read more
Morning mist over Borobudur
Few customers means all the more hassle for the existing tourists
Prambanan's Shiva Mahadeva temple

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Jakarta August 8th 2009

(Day 491 on the road)They say certain places have to grow on you in order for you to appreciate them. Well, after almost two more weeks in chaotic Jakarta I have to say this saying does not hold true for me this time. I found the city just as mad as the first time I was here a few months ago. But I was here to see my Indonesian friend Endah who happens to live here, so I had to brace the city in order to meet up with her. Checking in for my flight in Kota Kinabalu, I was very pleased when the scale at the airline check-in desk showed 5,6 kg for my big backpack (this included all my belongings except my laptop, which I had in my hand luggage). The doctor had told ... read more
The green volcano lake Kawah Putih
Picking kilos of strawberries
Typical Indonesian traffic situation

Tot: 3.316s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 45; qc: 217; dbt: 0.1328s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 2.1mb