Apparently it was too high.

Adventures in family-building

October 16, 2009

Jet Lag Part 2

My jet lag is OK, I guess.
Thursday I had a long overdue Cub Scout activity to do. I need to book campsites for the pack for Fall and Spring campouts. After several unproductive phone calls. Irritability from jet lag showed through.
I was really sleepy about noon, even though I had gotten good sleep.
I did do better on Thursday evening staying awake until bed time.
Friday morning I woke at 3:30am too late to take anything, so I stayed up. Frankly, waking at 3:30 happens occasionally anyway.

October 15, 2009

Jet lag part 1

While I was on layover in Tokyo. Did I mention it was 4 hours? I surfed jet lag at the airport. I also took a shower at the airport. I highly recommend the shower. Even though I had only had one 4 hour flight, I had been up for 10 hours and it helped. It was hard to put my socks back on while still steamy.

I set my watch to Dallas time. Rats. My layover sounds worse when you consider it is midnight to 4 AM Dallas time. I stopped drinking either alcohol or caffeine and drank lots of water. When I got on the plane I took Tylenol PM, put in earplugs and put on a sleep mask. I only stayed asleep for a couple of hours. When I woke at 7AM Dallas time, I had missed a meal service, I had a cup of coffee in the back of the plane and had a protein bar I had brought. From then on I was on Dallas time. That is I was reading and watching movies in a dark plane where everyone was a sleep. It was really hard to stay awake towards the end.

When I got home we all went outside for some sunlight. The whole evening I was a state where if I wasn't doing something active I would sort of fade out. I stayed up until 9:30PM Dallas time.
I fell asleep immediately.

2AM I woke refreshed like I had taken a nap until 4PM, which I had, in a way. I took a sleeping pill and surfed for 45minutes. I went back to sleep until the alarm went off at 6:30AM and here I am. According to my Tokyo surfing, the worst should be over. We will see.

October 14, 2009

I am home!

I am so happy to be home. Camille ran to me. Trevor hugged me and took my luggage. Simon giggled at me then sucked his thumb as I carried him. (so he was not so sure). Wife brought me cookies and a cold beer. I brought 'Wana Wana Pocky' for everyone.

I am sleepy, but will stay up till bed. I did get a couple hours sleep from Tokyo to Dallas. I need to go see if my souveniers made it.

October 13, 2009

In Japan for a couple of hours

Gee, once again, it's an airport.
We did fly over 6 count 'em 6 golf courses on the way in. That is a lot. Well off to find some grub.

0 Days Left - I gotta go

Stock Photo from Dallas. I will be on a JAL flight to Tokyo then switch to American for the long flight to Dallas. I am just glad I am not going through LA.

I started packing last night at 11:30PM. I took one last stroll through the night market a block from my hotel. For a Tuesday night, it was rocking. Still did not see anyone eating snake but the shop was open. I was going to post after I got done packing and then I realized that I packed my network cable. So, here I am at the airport using the wireless. I packed everything into the big suitcase. Please handle it gently! I asked the check in lady what the weight limit was. She said 23kg. I put it on the scale and it was 22.9kg. :-)

I only slept about 4 hours last night. It is all part of my anti-jetlag plan. Nah, just kidding, I was too excited to go home. After 22 days I am comfortable in Taiwan. Just one thing. I miss my family every day. I will be home soon.
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October 12, 2009

1 Day Left - It was a long one

The photo for the day is one of the ones from Sun Moon Lake. It did not fit in the original post. There is this wonderfull boardwalk that runs around the lake. I walked it for 3km before realizing that if I wanted to climb a mountain before dark, I had better get after it. My legs are still sore from that climb.

Today was a 13 hour day at work. I guess it ended well, I will know tomorrow afternoon. I got room service for the first time. I got to the hotel at 10PM. Most restraunts only go to about 9:30PM.

At lunch I ate in the free food line. The main dish was the usual noodles, with some ground meat, a pork meatball and some 1 inch thick tofu pieces. Not bad. I also got a side plate with a cold meat and veggies. The cold meat had a sauce on it and I had a small piece. A few minutes later I tossed a big piece in my mouth and chewed. Yuck. I asked my neighbor if it was liver. He enthusiastically agreed. "Yes, Liver!"

I don't know why this is but it happened in Malaysia too. I have gotten so used to the cab drive home that I sort of tune it out. So, tonight we were at a stoplight and I guess someone else broke down. Two guys walked across and in front of the taxi over to the passenger side and wanted the driver to talk to them. He waved them off. A couple of lights later my driver had to stop and wait to turn left, once traffic cleared he just sat there for 30 seconds and let the light turn red. That is not how you drive here. Overall, he was a cautious driver, the first cautious taxi driver I have had. I hope that was my one wierd taxi ride for the trip.

Tomorrow is my last day at work in Taiwan. Yee Haw.
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October 11, 2009

2 Days Left - Made in USA

One of my co-workers asked us to look for something made in USA and sold in Taiwan. My contribution was Aquafresh.
Today I planned to lay low. The weather was not better as it was supposed to be. However, I decided to just run in to Taipei for a couple of errands to get souveniors. 7 hours later, I got back to the room. Mass transit just takes a long time. My train out of Taipei was a really old one. It had no signage telling you what stop is coming. I had become used to getting a nice heads up. I was OK and found my stop.
I am sore from my hike yesterday. I was hoping for a massage in the hotel, but they are not available today.
I did not want to make a big production out of dinner. I went to the Jalapeno. It is a mexican themed restaurant right next to the hotel. It is really not that good. I will not be back. I did get more cheese than I have seen in weeks on my plate.
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October 10, 2009

3 Days Left Part 3 - There and back again

To properly get this three part post. Start at part one and read top to bottom.
5:35 "Climbed almost to top of mountainIts now raining and I still need a bus back to train" Nothing like climbing a mountain in 100% humidity. I might be overly dramatic in this picture. GPS confirmed I was real close to top of mountain. However it gets dark early here. I turned around and went back down. It was dark within 10 minutes of me getting off the mountain. Oh, and the last bus out is 7:30PM in a packed tourist town. Today is Taiwan Independence Day. Sleeping on a park bench seems a possibility.

6:24 Wow got lucky. Got down mountain at dark. Bus came within minutes of me figuring it out. They are hourly and it is a holiday so traffic has them off schedule. Hard part is over I think

I made my way back to the tourist office which was still open, thank goodness. They rounded up an English speaker who got me in the right bus line. The bus showed up minutes later even though it was off schedule. Lucky. The hour and a half bus ride with the air blowing on me, water and my second protein bar refueled me. My schedule did not leave time for lunch or dinner.

8:45 PM Now on High Speed Rail Saw 293kph on the screen
Ahh, After a long day of train rides, bus rides, walking and mountain climbing I am ready for a Taiwan beer on the high speed rail. 293kph is 180mph.

Bye bye trusty steed. Just a taxi ride away from the Kuva Chateau.
9:25PM Back at hotel. Really need a shower!
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3 Days Left Part 2 - Getting Around Sun Moon Lake

Still on the bus ride to Sun Moon Lake. Bamboo. I see the resemblance to Taipei 101.
3:30 PM Made it Sun Moon Lake in the misty mountains. Had a coffee (at Starbucks) now walking. They have a fantastic boardwalk down near the water. The huge line of cars is about 30 feet above and you hardly notice them.
I chose to climb Mt Maolan. This is what I wanted to do, walk among the tea plants. I had seen tea plants, but I never had my camera ready.
I wanted to see the mountains of Taiwan. Check. This is beautiful. The haze is from the 100% humidity. It is good for tea plants.
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3 Days Left Part 1 - Travel to Sun Moon

Today was my adventure travel day. Everyone either worked or went to Taipei. I have been twice and I needed to do something different. I was a little nervous going alone being that I know people who had a hard time returning once they got to a rural Taiwan destination because they could not communicate.
I emailed the wife as my version of tweets. Follow my travel timeline.
10:52 AM I am striking out on my own. I will take high speed rail and busses to sun moon lake if possible
I got a late start in part because my travel planning started after breakfast when I checked the weather and looked for a region that was raining less, something touristy in there, then how the heck to get there. I chose Sun Moon Lake.
New scenery... by Train going South.... Rice fields and housing.

12:40 I made it to Taichung waiting bus

1PM Made it onto correct bus to sun moon! Woohoo
The electronic board did not match the actual busses. Some helpful chap that knew English helped me figure out the actual time. Pictures from the bus to Sun Moon Lake. More rice growing with complicated terracing and water control.

It is a pretty amazing highway going into the mountains.
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October 9, 2009

4 Days Left

This is a picture of the HighSpeed Rail Train.
It is really really cool. I may ride it again today as my travel theme.
Yesterday was a day so bad I had to laugh at it. We had 6 hours of tool time. I got back 30 minutes late from a lunch our hosts took us on. I found the engineer with floor tiles pulled up looking for a very small part which fell through the floor. In a fab, the entire floor is a giant return air vent. That was just the first setback. We ended up getting 2 hours of work in the 6 hours.
The day was perfectly summarized when I ate the last Dove chocolate out of the bag Andrea gave me for the trip. The saying inside was "Go ahead, have another"
I was late leaving work, I am the only one at my hotel, I got bad sleep Thursday night and the ATM rejected my card and I was low on cash. Solution? Dinner in the hotel lounge. I actually got a cheeseburger. My waitress said, "Everyone gets a cheesburger". It was pleasant, I had a second floor window seat in a couch with live piano coming from downstairs. And it was easy no taxi to take and I charged it to my room.
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October 8, 2009

5 Days Left

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October 7, 2009

6 Days Left

Over the weekend we ate at a restraunt called the Modern Toilet. It is toilet themed. My hotpot came in a minature toilet. Here is my swirl ice cream in a small squatty potty. Yum.
By the way, I tried a squatty potty here for the first time. You have to have endurance in your legs. Other than that it was fine.
My boss goes home tomorrow. We had Teppanyaki, a favorite, and went to the River Bar. We are creatures of habit. I lost several pool games. We left my boss when he was winning at the table. Talked to an English guy. He teaches English for US $30k a year. Of course, that goes much further here.
Breakfast, though good, is getting boring.
Work is going very well, so no issue with coming home on time.
Gotta go it is after midnight here and I have to work in the morning.
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October 6, 2009

7 Days Left

Today was wire bond and Japanese barbeque.
Wire bond was an easy day. Tomorrow is wirebond encapsulation. This is our only remaining high risk item.
Japanese barbeque was a repeat. This time we had zero, zilch, nada communication. It is all you can eat, just select from the list. Our first order was totally botched. We got fish and squid and I know we did not order either. We also got maybe 5 plates of sliced beef. It was ridiculous. For our second order we used the Chinese menu and Chinese order form and marked it up ourselves. That worked better. When it came time to leave, she really did not get that we were going to go pay at the cashier. We pretty much had to ignore her and leave to pay. Usually, you can point or mime things and get the point across. Not tonight.
Tomorrow is my boss' last day here. He will leave on Thursday AM.
Friday is the project leaders last day here. He will leave on Friday AM.
I will be the last one at this hotel and I will have 5 days left.
There will still be 5 folks I know from Dallas, but they are all at the other hotel.
I will likely travel on the weekend. Not Taipei. But the daily grind will be more lonely.
All-in-all I am quite ready to go home. The work is fine, interesting and I am engaged, but I could do without the 1 hour of taxi commuting, same food for breakfast, same questionable food for lunch everyday and every night's dinner being a 2 hour affair.
The countdown has begun....

October 5, 2009

For Daddy, with love.

More Taipei 101 part 2

It was windy when I went there last week.

This week I went back there with my boss in red and another co-worker.
This is the giant damper which moderates the building swinging. I bet it really moved in the recent earthquake. I slept throught earthquake. :-(

Due to the nearby Typhoon, it was rainy, cloudy and windy. We could not go outside.

Just me and my rooster. (Camille is a rooster)
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More Taipei 101 part 1

Yup, I really went there...
Inside has an almost art deco feel.
Only 26 stories? Pathetic.
Sorry. I did not get the picture of the airliner flying below us.Posted by Picasa

Teppanyaki Upgrade

As you have figured out, Taiwan is about eating. Look on the bright side, I could be blogging about mishaped chrome fiducials and expired adhesive pot life.
Anyway. Probably the single best find in Taiwan is Teppanyaki. My first meal I got chicken. My second time I got chicken with double meat. I thought I was really doing great. Then my neigbor got sliced beef, spices in a small bowl, a piece of fish, two shrimp, veggies and then more sliced beef.
I was totally "Out Whataburgered"
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October 3, 2009

Dress-quest 2009 is over

Coming to Taiwan, it was obvious that I would find these dresses. Looking around, I did not find them in the first week. I finally found them in Taipei. They were about $15 each, but with negotiation I expected to get them for under $10. I planned to buy 4 for $40. The lady then said, no discount. They seem kinda pricey at $15, so I only got these two. One for Camille. One for Greta.
We went essentially repeated but improved last Saturday's trip.
We went back to 101, but did not get lost and take 3 hours there. On the downside, it was windy and cloudy (there is Typhoon coming you know) so the outdoor observation deck was closed.
We went back to Long Shan temple. I took more and better pictures.
We also went back to the night market. I ate more different food and we went through twice as many stalls. One new feature. The folks who set up stalls in the middle of the alley apparently do not have permits. So, every once in a while a group of them would fold up their table and walk off within about 10 seconds. Later they would be out again. Bonus, I started buying souveniors.
Coming back was the biggest improvement. Instead of an hour on a standing room only packed train, we splurged, $3, and took the high speed rail. It is a short trip, but it was nearly empty, clean and fast. 180MPH! Oh, and we had a seat to rest our weary feet. The train does not stop in our hotel town, so we took a taxi the rest of the way. Again, no standing or walking. Ahh.
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October 2, 2009

Longshan Temple

Rather than bore you with the details of today. Got to work about 8:30AM..Left work about 11:30PM. Need to go to work again 8:30AM for a little while. Then we go back to Taipei before the Typhoon hits.
For now, look at some pics from last weekend. Longshan Temple.
Chinese people pray by lighting their incense sticks in the fire and then shaking them in the direction of the god they need help from.

They can get a good fire going. Tomorrow Oct 3 is the Moon Festival that includes family gatherings with Barbeque.

Not sure, but maybe this is R rated...

Chinese temples are very ornate. Quite the contrast with ordinary buildings which are purely functional. We noted that a job such as finish carpenter must not exist in Taiwan. We also have been pointing out electrical code violations left and right. One example was a major circuit for a building totally exposed about 8 feet in the air. An unfortunate curious kid or even some rain could shut down the whole building.
Must get some sleep...

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October 1, 2009

Another day in Jhongli

The day started at the Kuva
Our taxi passes several Betel Nut girls. Here is one...
After work we went to a Hot Pot restaurant. No English menu.
They give you the food and you cook it. Like fondue with mystery meat. It was actually good. It is easier than the Japanese barbeque since the water cooks things more evenly.

Other notes. I was supposed to go to dinner with a friend from Dallas, but he could not make it. That was going to be an adventure as I was going to go 40km South by myself to find him.
I did find out that I will likely have a late night tomorrow.
We will probably go to Taipei again this weekend.
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