We’ve been riding up the California coast for about a week and lovin’ it. We’ve started slow, because after all, once this trip is over we have to be responsible adults again, so what’s the hurry?
We are going to try to post as often as possible, so keep up with us on the road!

Advertisements

Show Me a Sign!

Everyone has seen poorly worded signage. Although, living in a Chinese speaking country you are surrounded by poorly translated, strangely co-opted and awkwardly phrased signs, ads, and warnings.

I have seen so many that I haven’t taken pictures of for one reason or another but here are a few of my favorites.

ImageI don’t think I really need to tell you why this is funny.Image“WooHooo!!! Lets have some FUNG!!!”Image“Some one already used KFC…What about KLG?”ImageAll I can think is how awesome that flying baby is.ImageI don’t know, maybe it’s a PSA, like “look out for that shit!”ImageWhat a wholesome toy!ImageThe shamrock really ties this one together.ImageNothing like smelling of spam all day.

If you look online there are so many more hilarious signage mistakes and odd translations, but it really makes me think how bad our signs must be in the states or in Europe for that matter, that have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese or really any other language other than our own native tongue.

I Survived Yue Mei Kang: Bear Grylls’s Got Nothing On Me

 “I don’t think we’re going the right way” is how our real adventure started.

Mal and I had heard about a river trace in Jiaoxi and though it would be a great Sunday trip. We didn’t really know what to expect, or honestly, where we were going, but found a promising trail.

Image

The trail is steep and chalked with forks, so like any would-be Indiana Jones we started following the mysterious red arrows painted on rocks and trees. We had been meaning to get to the river but instead were climbing a mountain.

Image

That’s when we decided to back track and our story starts to get interesting. After winding our way back to the river, it was time to cool off. We split from the trail and found a great little fall to swim at. The water was fresh and cool and the perfect depth to do cannon balls off the fall.

Image

All of a sudden we were in the midst of forty Chinese tourists and the luxury of our secluded private pool was quickly lost.

They all headed back down on the path we had taken up, so we made the most obvious choice, leave the safety of the trail and follow the river all the way back down to the park entrance.

It started out easy enough with a few easy traverses down into shallow pools, but when we got to the third waterfall things got real. At this point it was still completely feasible to turn back and get back on the trail but being headstrong adventurers (idiots) we forded onward.

Image

This particular waterfall was beautiful but too high to safely leap, luckily for us there was a slippery mud soaked rope that went down, under a rock bridge and off a small overhanging boulder. While, this rappel wasn’t all that high, it was awkward and the rope was less than confidence inspiring.

Image

After that we were sure that we were on easy street…NO. Just past our treacherous abseil was an even gnarlier waterfall. Mallory uneasily pointed out that the rock bolts on the edge probably meant that it was going to be a rough climb down. She was right.

Getting down involved straddling the fall and then sidling up as close to the right side and jumping out as far as you possibly could, all the while hoping and praying that there wasn’t a hidden rock to break your fall.

I went first and to my great relief it was a deep pool with a relatively mild current.  Mal was getting ready for her leap of faith, and what do you know, her biggest jungle fear showed up to keep us company, a snake swam right down the fall and was wading in the pool.

There wasn’t a whole lot to do about it though and we splashed past it without getting bit (honestly it was probably harmless, but no sense in testing it out). After that we had a nice easy wade back to the trail to little the adrenaline settle.

Image

The main attraction, Yue Mei Kang Fall, is an awesome sight. It’s relatively tall with a wide, shallow pool at the bottom. This is a perfect summer time trek.

Image

If you go to the base of Wufengxi trail, instead of going up the stairs cross the river where all the kids swim and head up the dirt trail. Getting to the base of the fall and back down should take an hour or two. Safe travels!

This site has good instructions on getting up to the fall.

http://www.mandarintaiwan.com/2/post/2011/09/yang-mei-kang-waterfall-hike.html

Oh That Smell, Can’t You Smell That Smell

The first time I smelled durian I was in Vietnam. It is not a pleasant scent. People compare the smell to that of dirty diapers or porta-potties, yet it is an Asian treat.

Image

Recently I was taking a train down the coast here in Taiwan, and this old lady busted out her bag of durian. The thing about the stink is that it’s pungent. It’s not that it smells; it’s that you can smell it from a mile away that makes it so offensive.

So if it smells so bad why is it so popular? Well, durian is a very healthful fruit; Durian contains more potassium than bananas, it has a wide range of minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. It is also a uniquely high source of b-complexes among fruits. Durian has a lot of dietary fiber and, having soft flesh, is easily digestible.

Image

Ok, ok, ok. So the question you are all asking. How does it taste? Not bad. It’s sweet. It has a strange texture, but it isn’t nauseating once it reaches your mouth.

It is less stinky if you chill or even freeze it. If you are spending time in Asia or anywhere else that you come across some durian, give it a shot…but hold your breath.

Typhoon-o-rama

When I was a kid we had snow days. Here in Taiwan they have Typhoon days.

Well it’s typhoon season again. Typhoons come and go here with little impact on the urban areas. The season goes from July to August, the rest of the year it’s just normal storms.

Image

We are slated to see the first of the season on Friday. While the Typhoons I’ve been in haven’t been all that pleasant, they have been relatively benign. This on the other hand threatens to be a more spectacular storm.

Image

Typhoon Morakot, in 2009, hit Taiwan hard and resulted in around 600 fatalities. The next year an equally intense storm (Megi) resulted in at least 25 deaths. Soulik is predicted to bring similar rains and winds, but if we are all smart and safe, less fatalities.

The Taiwanese government has been much more proactive in canceling school and work when there is a typhoon risk, but it is also important to know what you can do to ensure your safety.

Here are a few tips that may help you in a dangerous storm:

In high winds be wary of falling glass and roof tiles

Avoid the coast if possible, water rises quickly and the seas become violent

Avoid places that are landslide prone.

In all honesty Taiwan is very safe as far as storm preparedness, however it is good to know what to expect; hope for the best and plan for the worst.

I hope I didn’t worry anyone, just be safe out there. If you are interested in more information about storm preparation check these sites out, http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu020/enjoy/en/emergency/06.html, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php.

Really my best advice is to make some hot coffee and watch your favorite TV show from the comfort of your house; relax and let it all blow over.

Image

How Old Are You?

“How can you live with him, he is so childish.”

Mallory gets asked this every day at work.

Teaching little kids means being a little kid. We are both teachers at an English language school. She works with kids from elementary to high school age. I teach mostly elementary age and I have a kindergarten class as well.

My kindy kids are from four to six and they are freaks! They are so weird they make me weird. I never know what the day will bring when I walk into my classroom full of twenty little psychos.

Image

Since little kids don’t know how normal humans act, it can be totally liberating, but some days I want to pull my hair out. To keep these kids interested in English I have to be 110% of my normal energy (normally I’m a steady 65%). Luckily I can blow their minds with the simplest things. Yesterday, I talked to my finger; just to be weird (we have been singing Where Is Thumbkin) they couldn’t get enough. About a month ago they learned the word underwear, I don’t know if they’ll ever get tired of it.

Some times they really bring out the best in me, other days I feel defeated. Kindergarten is an emotional rollercoaster, but if you can hack it you will be a rock star to any five year old you meet.

Image