A Final Day of Touring

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Jun 292010

Tainan (Tuesday, June 29, 2010)

We decided not to attend the second day of the conference, and instead took our time at the breakfast buffet. Although the regular buffet was less exclusive, it was immense, with more offerings then one could browse, much less taste. From dim sum to Danish, there was more than enough for anyone. It was difficult squeezing all of our goods back into our luggage, but somehow we managed. While the hotel looked after our bags, we headed out for some last minute touring. Continue reading »

Tainan Hospitality

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Jun 282010

Tainan (Monday, June 28, 2010)

We started our morning with a breakfast buffet in the exclusive 24th floor lounge. In addition to eggs, potatoes , and yogurt, there were a wide variety of Chinese and Japanese items. We tasted widely and then headed out into the morning heat. Continue reading »

Welcome to Tainan

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Jun 272010

Taipei (Sunday, June 27, 2010)

I had run out of cash, and through extensive web searching discovered that my credit union network had a member nearby. With all the lights, however, it took quite a while to reach, and on the way back I decided to cross against lights to save time. This almost was the last decision I made, because in Taipei there are numerous lanes going in unexpected directions, and I unknowingly darted out in front of an oncoming car, fortunately not two seconds too late. Continue reading »

Last Day in Taipei

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Jun 262010

Taipei (Saturday, June 26, 2010)

It was very tempting to just rest, but it was our last day in Taipei and we had much left to see. Our host Chang was leaving for the U.S., so we made last minute arrangements, made sure we understood how to turn everything off, checked our keys, and readied ourselves to face Taipei alone. Continue reading »

Some Serious Eating

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Jun 252010

Taipei (Friday, June 25, 2010)

Friday morning we awoke to a severe fruit shortage. We wandered down to the fruit store and noticed a lively street market nearby. Bypassing the vegetables, meat, and fish, we sampled fruits and sausages on our way to a shop selling steamed bread, plain and filled with sweet bean paste, pork and cabbage meatball, and who knows what else. This was our kind of fuel, and the proprietor was patient, so we loaded up. She was clear in her instructions: to eat now. And we did, as soon as we got back to the apartment. Continue reading »

Quest for Trees, Part II

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Jun 242010

Sitou (Thursday, June 24, 2010)

I awoke early for a change and thought I might catch a sunrise. Being surrounded by trees was quite disorienting; which direction was East? After roaming the grounds for a while, I hit the shower and packed. We would be leaving immediately after breakfast. Continue reading »

Quest for Trees, Part I

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Jun 232010

Taipei (Wednesday, June 23, 2010)

After a lazy breakfast and extended packing, Chang rushed us down to the curb to take a taxi to the Taipei main train station. Incredibly, this one station connects the traditional train system, the MRT, and the new High Speed Rail (HSR) modeled on the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train system. We had not left a wide margin of error, and the line at the “Today’s Ticket” window for the HSR looked prohibitive. Fortunately, there was a short line to buy tickets using a machine. With its easy touchscreen interface and excellent English, buying tickets from the machine was a breeze. It couldn’t do a senior discount, so we just paid full price and rushed to our platform. No problem. (Although HSR trains depart almost hourly, in order to meet our guide at the promised time, we had to make this particular train.) Continue reading »

A Day of Meetings

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Jun 222010

Taipei (Tuesday, June 22, 2010)

The Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting was being held on the East side of Taipei, at the convention center close to the insanely tall Taipei 101 building. After another breakfast of fruit and starch, Chang bundled us into a taxi. The driver dropped us off at the Taipei World Trade Center, which looks very similar to, but is one block short of, the convention center. Once we figured out where we were supposed to be, the kind ladies at the registration desk assisted us in finding Dad’s “board” where he would post his paper. After the application of much sticky two-sided tape, we were done with that and we strolled around looking for a snack. Hot beverages and piles of cakes beckoned but staff made us wait until the first session break when hungry attendees swarmed the area. Around this time, I made my exit. Continue reading »

From the Famous to the Obscure

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Jun 212010

Taipei (Monday, June 21, 2010)

After dinner, we had visited a large local fruit and vegetable store. Huge displays of ripe mangoes and other tropical fruit drew us in. We came away with a bag of very fresh lychees swollen with flavorful juice, and a container of pre-sliced mango ready to go. We added a few steamed breads from a street vendor, and enjoyed an almost all carbohydrate breakfast. There was a little left over beef noodle soup for protein. Continue reading »

A Delicious Introduction to Taipei

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Jun 202010

San Francisco International Airport (Saturday, June 19, 2010)

The international terminal was quiet at midnight; too quiet. It was impossible to buy a bottle of water and there were no diversions from the boredom of waiting for our EVA Airways flight to board for a 1:40 am departure. Soon enough, however, after a half hour delay, we were in the air. Having seats near a galley meant easy access to water and juice, making the limited service in economy class more bearable. The fried fish with rice, and the morning rice porridge were nothing special. We will eat very well from here on out. Continue reading »