24 July, 2005


since returning to the United States, thejayfather has been busy inroducing Americanos to Taiwan's ubiquitous phenomenon of "Chinglish", the best attempts of the Chinese to translate their language into English. one fine example is on the cover of a small notebook i have, which reads: "It's nice, this shop. Located in your town. We inform only the important shopping information. The key to shopping is gentless and quality. Have more wonderful time here to keep your mind calm." huh?

but that's not nearly the worst of it, the best Chinglish tends to be on clothing. in a special treat for you, faithful reader, thejayfather brings you a picture of just such a garment; ask yourself, who would let their child come to school wearing this:

possibly the best Chinglish ever, though i'm not even sure what this was supposed to say.

19 July, 2005


wild weather has had a habit of following me around, but now it just
may be getting ahead of itself. we are due to fly back to Taipei from
Hong Kong in a couple of hours, and are hoping that the airport there
is open again after Typhoon Haitang passed through. we have been
keeping close track of the storm's progress, since our flights back to
the US are in just a couple of days, and i really don't want to be in
Asia anymore. but it looks like Haitang will make landfall on the
mainland of the Middle Kingdom today, so we are told everything is
open and operating again in Taipei. and to think we almost scheduled
our vacation to end yesterday.

part of me, however, was wishing that it had ended yesterday. having
covered five countries in just under two weeks, i was getting to be an
avid collector of stamps in my passports. this avarice drove me to
make the trip across the Pearl River Delta to China's other "Special
Administrative Region", Macau. big mistake. no matter how badly you
want a stamp in your passport, don't go there. i had been given this
advice before, but it went unheeded as i undertook the costly trip
anyway. in contrast to Hong Kong, Macau is a dirty hole with perhaps
one-and-a-half mildly interesting sights, but certainly nothing worth
having to spend part of your life there. about the only cool part of
the trip was the mode of transportation: the jetfoil boat. this is a
large, Boeing-made boat which is indeed powered by a jet engine, and
rides up out of the water on a pair of aircraft wing-like foils.
needless to say it was a fast, and very smooth way to travel across
the South China Sea.

but i'm still looking forward to travelling across it even faster back
to Taiwan.

16 July, 2005


so Hong Kong is pretty much the perfect way to cap off this whirlwind
'round Asia trip. it is just about as clean as Singapore, but without
all the ridiculous rules and fines for everything (it really is true
that chewing gum is banned in Singapore). Hong Kong is also about
twice the size of Singapore, with many more than twice the number of
attractions. for instance, yesterday we rode up the famous tram to
Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island and beheld one of the most
spectacular sights i've ever seen. the well known Central Skyline,
including the perfect geometry of the Bank of China building, appeared
to our right as we neared the upper tram terminus, with what seemed
like the whole of Hong Kong spread out beyond that. what made it
almost perfect was that we went up shortly before sunset and watched
the billions of neon lights come on all over town as the natural light
receded. it was truly spectacular.

on the way back to Kowloon we took the also-famed Star Ferry (we rode
on the "Twinkling Star"), and browsed some of the hundreds of shops
lining Nathan Road, on which i think is the "Golden Mile". i imagine
we'll get to check that out today, along with yet more Chinese night
markets. hopefully this is the last shopping i'll have to do for a
while, and hopefully you put in your gift requests already.

15 July, 2005


well folks, i'm using a free internet terminal inside the
gate/boarding area at the Changi airport in Singapore. i only have a
couple of minutes before i have to get on the plane, but this was so
cool i had to use it.

we just got back from a short stop in Indonesia, at this little resort
in the middle of nowhere on this paradise white sand island. it was
one of the high points of the trip so far. now only Hong Kong to go,
then back to Taiwan for a couple of days to finalize business there,
and then home to the States.

see you then.

09 July, 2005


that's right, the elephants. among many other things we did in
Thailand, a couple of days into the trip we took off on a tour into
the jungles of the country and rode some very large Indian elephants.
pretty much only the pictures do that experience any justice, but it
will be a while before i can get those up here, so you'll have to
imagine. the people are all pretty relaxed about stuff out here, so
we even got to ride on the necks of the creatures, which is really
weird since you can feel their haunches going up and down right
underneath your buttocks, which makes you feel like you'll be thrown a
long way every time they step. then we fed them bananas--boy can they
eat a lot! long story short: it was pretty cool--the best of

then on Friday we boarded a train for our 22 hour overnight journey to
Northern Malaysia, where we waited and looked around a little in what
felt like hot fiery hell for our next train down to Kuala Lumpur.
that one was only 10 hours overnight, putting us here just a few hours
ago, but take a look at a map and try to figure out how the journey
from Butterworth to KL could possibly take so long. i think they
waited till we were all asleep and then stopped the train and took a
nap themselves. honestly.

in general and so far, i have found Malaysia to be much dirtier both
than Thailand and than i had expected it to be. KL is pretty nice,
and we are currently just outside the Petronas Towers, which are a
much more amazing sight in person than in pictures, but the whole trip
is quite different than i had imagined. out of Bangkok, Thailand was
quite beautiful and looked something like i imagine the plains of
Africa to look like. unexpectedly, i quite liked Thailand, but
Malaysia has yet to win me over completely. perhaps it will soon; we
are on our way out of KL to a small resort that specializes in short
cruises to watch fireflies. check out www.fireflypark.com if you want
to see what thejayfather is in for.

05 July, 2005


well this is it, the first email post from "the road". we had a
pretty uneventful, though very late trip from Taipei to Bangkok, and
woke up around noon to find an enormous city teeming with people from
all over the world. i've been surprised so far by the large numbers
of Europeans, Middle Easterners and Africans who are here, all
probably chasing the same supposed bargains (or ladies of the night)
that bring Americans here. many of the prices are actually fairly
comparable to elsewhere, though there are some deals to be had, if you
don't get hustled by the tuk-tuk drivers. apparently, this week is a
very special week, with the "Thai Center" buying gasoline for the
insane drivers of the ubiquitous three-wheeled taxis, allowing special
fares to be had by all passengers. that is, as long as the driver
gets to take you to the shops of each of his friends along the way.
not that thejayfather would know about this from firsthand experience

so we've seen markets galore, and more gaudy golden palaces and
temples than you could shake a very large stick at, and we've only
been awake here for about seven hours. i imagine that tomorrow there
will be a bit more of the same, but we plan to work in some Thai
boxing and an elephant ride. if we can get one of those tuk-tuks to
take us out of the city, that is.

03 July, 2005


behold the test of the new email blog entry system. i'm trying to see
if i will be able to keep up on the blogging during my tour of
Southeast Asia, by using this special email address to make posts. if
this works, you just might get one or two updates from the road,
though they'll have to wait until i get back to be formatted and have
pictures added.

stay tuned; i leave tomorrow night.