A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: reimstal

Tai-what?

Taiwan.

Possibly the greatest impulse decision we ever made. That is of course if you believe I know how to make an impulsive decision at all. Regardless, the point is that I did not even know how to point out Taiwan on a map before going and now, weeks later, I still cannot find the words to describe how special this tiny country (??) is.

First off, you know your officially a lost soul when you can no longer pin point your own whereabouts on a globe. This becomes even more true when the country has so few tourists (especially of the caucasian variety) that the majority of your conversations with locals go as follows:

Why are you here? What are you planning to do?

Followed undoubtedly by our bumbling responses of the honest truth- we aren't really sure.

 I guess there's something about this genuine loss of touch with any kind of reality that leads to a dreamy state. Couple that dream world with some of the friendliest people on the planet and an almost exhaustingly interesting political situation and recent history and you've got our time in Taiwan. 

As I re-read this I realize it makes little sense but as I said, I don't have words to describe. That's right, for once in my life, I'm speechless. Who am I kidding, if anyone wants to talk about my boyfriend Taiwan they'll get more than an earful. I guess the point I'm trying to make is we really really liked Taiwan....in case you didn't catch it. 

Posted by reimstal 23:32 Archived in Taiwan Comments (0)

No time!!!

There's never any time!!

I'm so excited.... I'm so excited.. I'm so... Scared.

No but really between doing a final stint in india at a ridiculous yoga ashram, trekking Annapurna, and wandering China in awe and wonderment I've completely lost sight of the blog.

All of these events are completely worth discussing so I will get to them at annoying length in the next few days. But first, a general insight into where we're at. Currently we're in hong kong coming from shanghai (commercialism in a communist society at its best).  Unfortunately, our intentions to head to Burma in lust of a country untouched by tourism may have been thrown off course by a mild emergency state that was declared in the last week. Now, usually one to scoff at state bound travel warnings, I find in my old age less enticed by such thrills and more by dog walking and cooking dinner. While the latter may be somewhat of an exaggeration, myanmar hasn't exactly been know for stability in recent history, or ever, for that matter.

Conveniently, we discovered there is to be an electronic festival in Taiwan next weekend that will most likely fill that void of thrills, lacking all the danger. Lucky us since camp Bisco isn't exactly an option at the moment and what better to replace it with than some good old fashioned Asian psytrance rage fun. Last call for anyone who wants to join Earthfest 2012. Couple the music with some highly enthusiastic descriptions of the island and you can easily persuade two slightly (or very, depending on the day or country) tired travellers not to head back to the third world just yet. 

Less than two months left. Cant wait to having friends, family, price tags, and turkey sandwiches back in my life.

I shall certainly write a more logical, less rambley update on more important events soon.

Posted by reimstal 20:56 Archived in China Comments (0)

Dogs, Donkeys and Cows

Oh my!


View Travel Around the World with Elyse and Stal on reimstal's travel map.

Feel free to ignore the cheeseball title. But if you aren't in the mood for cheese, maybe don't read on.

For the past week, we've been doing exactly what Dr. Wise requested we not do ("whatever you do, don't play with the dogs and monkeys in India") and volunteering at Animal Aid Udaipur. I wish I had the words to describe it but in those of one of the founders, it literally is "handicap heaven" 

All I can say is I never thought I'd get so close to a donkey or cow, let alone help hold them down and console them while they have their wounds dressed or are given IV drips. I have been shit, pissed and bled on, you name it, by animals both large and small while having the opportunity to work at one of the most loving places I've ever been. While all of this may sound flighty and preachy, I promise there is nothing more rewarding than a morning greeting from your favourite paralyzed dog or blind cow (see below for Vishnu). So rewarding, we're concerned that in the end we may have received more than the animals. I mean who doesn't want to sit and brush 100s of dogs for hours a day? Or work in an environment where staff actually say every cow is their hero. Well if you don't, you probably shouldn't tell me because that's just crazy (despite what you may be thinking of me..).

Anyhoo, blah blah blah, plug plug plug, but yah maybe just check out their website-http://www.animalaidunlimited.com/
Or don't, but at least now you know that yes we are still alive, and no, we have not completely lost our minds (emphasis on completely).

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Posted by reimstal 00:11 Archived in India Comments (0)

The Marrakesh Express

It'll cost you...


View Travel Around the World with Elyse and Stal on reimstal's travel map.

I realize it has been weeks since I've written, but with Tessy's visit (yeah shoutout Tess, come visit and YOU'LL get one too.. You know who you are) and our constant movement in the last month, it has been impossible to get time to write let alone think.

So here it is, the all-encompassing Moroccan blog. As a precautionary warning, if you are one to take offense to vast sweeping generalizations of entire countries I recommend you stop here.

Instead of weighing you down with the multiple ridiculous events that we encountered (or endured, for a better term) I thought it better to just sum up our idea of morocco. I promise they aren't all negative, I just think morocco is a country worth seeing with some serious foreknowledge. You'll think me later if you're planning a trip there, really.

1. If you go to Morocco, You will be lied to (and not your typical travel lies, but rather those that are the psychologically disturbing type, you know the ones.. Where you'd rather have had someone just pick pocket you instead of try to play you for a fool, yeah, those ones.
2. If you go to morocco, you will get cheated (this includes having money swindled, alcohol watered down, exorbitant bribes requested, etc. etc.)
3. you will get lost (ancient cities are not to be messed with, and don't you dare look lost or pull out that map because there is someone lurking at every turn to grab your hand and direct you for a price that will only be rattily disclosed at the end of your "tour").
4. Children dressed as nicely as those in Canada will request money from you and throw rocks when you decline.
5. When you get something done on the street, such as henna, and you dont have the exact dollar amount, no change will be offered to you (as if you are somehow an idiot who has forgotten how much you gave seconds before). Moreover, days later when the lady sees you on the street, she will stand next to you for much time rambling about feeding her children and needing more money while you ignore her.
 Just like the last time you got a haircut in Toronto, paid for it,and then happened to run into your hairdresser days later who began by saying "you know man, times are really tough and I've been thinking about what I charged you.."
6. It will take 6 people to complete a business transaction of any sort, 5 middle men waiting for their 50 cent cut, and then 1 actually necessary proprietary individual. 
And finally,
7. The Sahara Desert is worth putting up with all of this for.

Take my notes in stride as I am most obviously bitter but only because I struggle to understand why being a "tourist" - a word I despise- demeans you from being treated like a human.  Side note that Marrakesh also provided a more positive experience, tea will always be provided when being swindled and everyone should still visit once (and with a return rate of 1% it is likely that's all you will).

In much happier times we are in India loving life, as expected. There are interesting people and multiple types of Aladdin pants with every step you take. Looking for input as we plan the next month or so in the north (west to east, and north north). And finally, if you furthermore have any input on our current dilemma of swapping Tibet for Myanmar (it always be Burma to me), please also get in touch. 
 

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Posted by reimstal 22:22 Archived in Morocco Comments (1)

Animals & Africa

Today I went whale and dolphin watching, followed by a long awaited return to Africa. Living life like a wide-eyed child is AMAZING (if only with the exception that I really need to lower my eyebrows lest I plan to start the Botox process in the next few years).

As an aside (that has become so ingrained in my writing), I have noticed through email responses and re-reading of past blog entries that I may seem like an extremely happy fool who loves absolutely anything. In considering this, I have come to two reasons why this is happening. One is that in truth, many of the places we have seen (especially Brazil...but especially Rio) have both attracted and interested me more than any other place. The second being that I suppose on previous trips having spent so much time in my own head, I may have missed out on a few things around me. Therefore, I am not just some over zealous travel nut.

Weelllll... Only slightly, only slightly.

Posted by reimstal 14:11 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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