An Excellent Session of Cupping Therapy

For years, I would sit at work with hunched shoulders, counting our dollars and contemplating our early retirement and world travel plans

No longer do I obsess about the value of our portfolio, but I have yet to completely shake the Mr. Burns hunch.  Sometimes after long guitar sessions, writing a blog post, or hours of practicing Chinese writing, I can feel that old work tension creep into my shoulders and upper back

This Guy Needs a Massage

This Guy Needs a Massage

Doing a little yoga or getting a massage helps, but some of those knots are deep, built up over years. It isn’t something a 90 minute massage is going to completely work out

So I decided to give something else a try… so I signed up for a session of Chinese Cupping Therapy.  When in Rome…

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Another 3 Meals in Taipei, Taiwan

Exploring the numerous Taipei dining options is a big task.  Thousands of restaurants, food carts, and street vendors offer nearly every dish from across the globe, making it possible to have a hamburger, hummus, and haggis all in the same day.

Buy we are in Asia, so let’s feast Asian style!

Here are 3 more great meals we’ve shared in Taipei

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The Cost of Traveling the World (June 2014, Taipei, Taiwan)

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Taipei National Music Hall

June was a month of adventure, of both the intellectual and physical varieties.

I enrolled in another semester of intensive Chinese language study, and continue to play guitar daily.  Winnie is diving deeper into oil and Chinese water color painting, calligraphy, and the flute… so much so that we made some additional capital investments in this area.  We are now the proud owners of a $10,000 hand-made silver flute (purchased used for $3k, naturally.)

We also dedicated one fine evening to music appreciation at the National Music Hall, listening to guest flautist Denis Bouriakov play with the Taipei Philharmonic.

In the physical realm, we went to the coast with friends to enjoy a little swimming at the Dragon Hole, and I went on a 10-day bike ride around the island.  Since this was the first time we’ve been apart since beginning our travel adventures, I left a little surprise for Winnie at home.

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It’s All Chinese To Me

Oh yeah, give me some of those dumplings

Oh yeah, give me some of those dumplings!

“I’d like some dumplings, please.”

“Why, are you tired?”

“What?  No, I’m hungry.  I just want to buy some dumplings.”

“But I sell dumplings, why would I want to buy some?”

“Arghhhh!  Forget it, just give me some noodles”

Learning Chinese is difficult enough without having to do so on an empty stomach.

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The Cost of Traveling the World (May 2014, Taipei, Taiwan)

How much did you spend?  "Thiiiisss much!"

How much did you spend? “Thiiiisss much!”

In Taipei, April showers bring… May showers. And despite what stoic characters in Game of Thrones might have to say, summer is coming.  In Taiwan that means heat, humidity, and typhoons.  In other words, it means we should get out of town, but no…  the gluttons for punishment that we are, we have decided to stay another few months.  I’ll be studying Chinese for another semester, and Winnie will be continuing her pursuit of the arts

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Biking 900 km Around Taiwan

East Taiwan from the Suhua Highway

East Taiwan from the SuHua Highway

The scent of ripening mangoes and pineapples, still clinging to the last remnants of morning mist, filled my lungs as I fought deeply for more oxygen.  The temperature and humidity were rising, making each breath thicker and harder.  Each downward thrust sent fire burning down my quad muscles.  And just as I began to think I couldn’t push anymore, I passed the crest of this steep climb and saw the valley open up before me…  just in time to see the heavens open up and cast a torrential downpour upon me

This is biking in Taiwan during the week of the Dragon boat festival.  Oppressive heat and humidity, blazing sunshine, and wicked rainstorms, the 3 varieties of Taiwan weather are all represented… sometimes even all in the same day.

A little over 925 km (575 miles) in total, with over 13,000 meters (43,600 ft of elevation change), the ride around Taiwan can be challenging.  Our group was over 50 people, with ages from 15 to 70, and did the route in 9 days.

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The Cost of Traveling the World (April 2014, Taipei, Taiwan)

Panda Exhibit at CKS Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

Panda Exhibit at CKS Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

Wow, April came and went in a flash. As did the bus on which I had left my wallet.  Dodging cars, pedestrians, and stray dogs, I sprinted the length of 3 stop lights to catch it.  After rummaging around and under seats, and inquiring with passengers in semi-intelligible Mandarin, I had to admit defeat.  My wallet was gone

Losing a wallet can be a frustrating experience.  Losing a wallet while traveling can be a near disaster.  Credit cards, ATM card, driver’s license…  all need to be replaced, not an easy task from abroad.  Fortunately the good people of Taiwan are honest and caring, and my wallet was returned to a nearby police station with all contents intact.  Crisis averted

That was about all the excitement we could handle this month…

Back to “normal” life, we’ve managed to keep full bellies and even fuller schedules… At night we’ve explored the culinary opportunities that Taipei has to offer, and by day I’ve been studying Chinese and guitar, and Winnie has been learning the flute and oil and Chinese watercolor painting.

Outside of these activities we’ve largely been home bodies.  Financially things have been much the same…  our expenses were quite similar to March.  All of the details of our expenses are shared below in various formats and depth.  Questions? Please use the comments section to add to the conversation, and check us out on Facebook or Twitter

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A Taiwan Visa Run to Hong Kong

The Overcast HK Skyline

The Overcast Hong Kong Skyline as Seen From the Yacht Club

When spending an extended length of time in a foreign country, a visa run is inevitable.  This was the case for me after nearly 90 days in Taiwan, after which I had to leave the country or face the consequences.  (We’ve overstayed visas before, but since this is a partial home base for us it is best to follow the rules)

There are many short flights to nearby countries… the Philippines, Japan, Thailand… but I settled on Hong Kong for a few reasons:  flights are cheap, Hong Kong has great food, and it is the home of a good friend I haven’t seen in a few years

Many Taiwan expats do an overnight Hong Kong visa run, and this is the general advice that I found on blogs and forums.  I chose to ignore this advice…

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