About Sean "Raptor"

Eight-time Runner-Up for the prestigious Basalt-Clavius Award which he just made up; Sean now follows in the footsteps of millions of other people. He is on a multi-part adventure that will take him, in time, around the world. He does so irresponsibly, not knowing any languages that would help him in the areas he plans to visit, nor even really having much of a plan. It should be exciting.

Wednesday July 25th: Water Water Everywhere

And not a potable drop at the hostel to drink. By tea and coffee making facilities, they mean you can buy it from the cafe. No hot water, no cold water, no room temperature water. No water that is safe to drink.


I’m going to break my streak and actually review this place, because that’s simply unacceptable, and I can’t believe no one has called them on that yet. I mean I may have complained about the place in Taichung, but at least there was occasionally water.

At least I snagged the two bottles included with hotel room (you always get two included in the room price in Taiwan). Had I known, I would have filled up my 3.5 empties too. I still have the two left from the last hotel, and part of a 1.5L bottle filled giving me about 3.4 liters on hand. Which gives me a little over a day of water.

This doesn’t become apparent until after you pay, so of course I’m stuck.

Damn it.

Well, I need to get out there soon and get pictures, the clouds against the mountains are pretty, and the ocean isn’t far either. It’s a mostly clear day, which is good for pictures, but bad for internal heat regulation. At least I’m not Sebacean (again a reference almost no one gets).

The friends I made in Taipei recommended getting a scooter to drive along the coast rather than taking a bus, they only cost about $12 to rent for a day, which is about twice the cost of a bus, but I could stop anywhere I wanted to take pictures and such.

Interestingly, scooters kind of don’t require a driver’s license in Taiwan, it’s weird; however, Taiwan recognizes Washington State driver’s licenses for 30 days, so it doesn’t matter. Also thankfully unlike Korea, traffic is pretty sane. About the strangest bits of traffic are the scooters, which act more like fast pedestrians, including jaywalking, but they also yield and are polite, unlike Korea where it’s aggressive driving on the sidewalks.

Of course the sidewalks here are typically filled with scooters, so you can’t even walk on them, so everyone is used to pedestrians on the shoulder and are appropriately cautious.

I’ll probably go look for a place that will rent one for a fair price tomorrow, though apparently some won’t rent to people without a Taiwan license, which only people staying over 6 months can get

Tuesday July 24th: Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Me Me Me

I guess I’ll start with the end. I forgot to give the key back at my last hostel. I really liked that place, it wasn’t the nicest as far as buildings and facilities, but it was a good place, fun people, roof top table.

It was crazy raining (I have video), which caused some train delays. It also turns out the train that goes to where I am now, only runs twice a day. Google has usually been quite reliable in Taiwan, today, not so much. It was also slower than Google had suggested.

The moment I realized I was going to be just slightly later than the 10PM cut off for arrivals at the hostel, I sent an email to them with my Kindle from the train station at 2:10PM. I didn’t hear back from them. Walked the slightly further than a kilometer or so carrying my 30kgs of luggage to find it dark, closed, and locked.

I might have been slightly irritated. I’m still not sure if I’m going to cancel my 3 other nights with them out of spite for their lack of professionalism. They had 8 hours to reply with a “Nope, we close at 10. Too bad.” That would have saved me time, as there were motels just outside the train station.

So here I am at a hotel down the block because I was exhausted, and after they gave me a lower price (only 3 times what the motel a km away costs) my will gave in. They then upgraded me to the large room for no extra cost, and there’s breakfast included.

On the bright side, I can mail the key back from the hotel. The bathroom in this room, is bigger than at least one of the hostel dorms I’ve stayed in. Seriously. I’m frustrated with my weak will, weak body, and the expense, but… that’s pretty neat. Also gorging myself on the included breakfast sounds good. Get my money’s worth.

Oh yes, my other disappointment for the day: Post-Human. Continue reading

July 20th: An historic day now marred with tragedy.

For all the jokes I made about punishing those who would spoil the new Batman movie for me… I… who could have foreseen the tragedy that now shares the same day as one of the greatest feats humanity has achieved? I retrospectively apologize.

Shortly after I arrived at the hostel today, I heard the news of the massacre at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora Colorado. An interesting aspect of the internet is that you can now see live local coverage of tragedies while you are nearly half way across the world. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I would have preferred to have been left in the dark.

Glad I had found alcohol just prior to this occurring. Seriously depressing stuff.

Tuesday July 17th: Shopping, I guess.

Well, my hands free earbuds totally died on me, so I guess I need to find replacements for those… not that the hands free part had worked for a very long time. It would be less irritating if it didn’t turn out that my headset’s detachable cable is also a major flaw as it is breaking again after just a tiny bit of use, and sadly a friend who months and months ago I recommended the headset to, has similar issues.

I need to file another ticket before my 1-year warranty lapses in as early as… September? At any rate it doesn’t help me out here. Maybe I’ll just send them back when I stop home in August. I really like them, if not for that cable issue they would be fantastic.

So as for the ear buds, prices on Amazon for hands free put it around $15 USD, excluding ones that are 40 cents and likely trash. Everyone loves when the plug has so little metal it doesn’t actually make contact, right? Anyway, so that means if I can find a decent hands free for under $500 TWD I’ll probably get one, otherwise, I’ll get cheaper earbuds that have no mic for the time being. Hell, having redundancy probably isn’t a bad plan anyway.

Monday July 16th: Where in I try to kill my self and make messes. Also a birthday.

As I was leaving my hostel in Taichung, (which should really be Taijung but the transliteration is very irregular here) I managed to lose my footing on the short steps to the tiny lobby “common room,” and partially tumbled as much as my luggage would allow me. Falling caused me to bump a 1.5L water bottle off the stairs, which exploded on the ground, mess number one.

Thankfully I ended up mostly uninjured but I have another small hole in my cargo pants, a bit of blue paint on them, a small dent in my laptop’s case, and the end cap of the wireless mouse’s USB dealie came off as I guess it got mushed, but it’s just the plastic tip, so whatever.

Later on in Tainan mess number two occurred as I was getting dinner. After the hot sauce was rudely taken off my table, as I was sitting down, by another customer, I went over to get some from an empty table, only to drop it and spill it on nearly everything. Of course as I bent over to try to start cleaning, I dropped my phone into it. Thankfully phones and hot sauce don’t mix, so it was fine. Still managed to cover my left shoe and some of my left pant leg.

At least there’s laundry at this hostel.

Also happy birthday my 3 days later fake twin Katie!

Thanks everyone for your well wishes in regards to my own birthday. Even Steam decided to run their summer sale during my birthday, so… in addition to the travel, it is turning out to be an extended, expensive birthday.

“Thanks” Valve. “Thanks.”

I’m actually being comparatively restrained on my purchases, but it’s still more money than I should be spending on non-travel related things.

Arrival in Taipei or “It’s really hot and humid outside.”

Had to adjust my clocks, as I’m now UTC+8 instead of +9. Almost missed my flight by initially getting on the wrong train (right track though). Thankfully the airline staff was really, really, helpful.

I did forget to move the knife out of my food bag and into my checked bag though, so lost that. Still, I purchased a cheap one for pretty much that reason. I’m only sad because it turned out to be a pretty decent knife, often better than what the hostel had to offer, even if smaller.

Also I got frisked, (before that happened). Not sure why, but I was in such a hurry I didn’t really give a damn. Besides, I’m sure being drenched in sweat made it unpleasant for the guy. Turns out trying to hurry with 60lbs of crap for over two kilometers in 80F weather is… well I’m not in shape. That much has really become apparent to me during this trip.

Not looking forward to walking another 1km in 90+F (65% humidity!) weather in Taipei, I was approached for a taxi and thought, “Eh, what the hell.” $40, but it’s an hour long trip from the international airport to downtown Taipei. So, I didn’t think it was unreasonable. More than most of Korea (though taxis in Seoul were about that price).

My hostel is about 1.5km from Taipei 101, so that’s neat.

Also a preview from my last night in Seoul. I liked it enough to clean up the dead pixels and the weird line that occurs on high ISOs.

This hostel has AC going constantly. So hopefully that will alleviate some of the issues revolving around it being too friggin’ hot.

I meant to write a joke about that, and how only about three people here are familiar with Paul & Storm, in my last post… but it was too friggin’ hot. So hot I managed to burn (or cut?) a bit of flesh on my left thumb’s pad, just a few millimeters below the nail. Don’t remember doing it, but as I switched trains I noticed it hurt.

Tuesday July 3rd: Quick Update from Seoul

So Seoul has been kind of a bust as far as my doing and seeing things. The weather hit me like a rock and kept me down, but unable to sleep. I’ve managed something like 3-4 hours a night which isn’t really conducive to full day adventures in 30/90ish degree weather with 50-60% humidity.

Going to try to get out today finally seeing something other than the few blocks around me, but I told myself that yesterday too.

I fly to Taipei at 11AM tomorrow.

Since Taiwan wants proof that you are leaving in under 30 days, I also purchased my ticket back to Seattle from Taipei so I can leave after circumnavigating the island. Oddly the flight has a layover is Seoul, but it was over $100 cheaper than had I taken the same flight directly from Seoul. Airfare makes no sense. So basically, even though the flight to Taiwan is ~$350, all things considered, really it’s $250.

The other funny thing is that I’m flying out of Taipei on July 31st, at 1:30 PM, and if the projections hold, landing in Seattle on July 31st, at 1:00 PM. So using local time, my travel time will be -30 minutes.

I think there might be a reason UTC exists.

Also, yes, originally I was going to fly out today. With my blah, the flight times, the lack of price differences, I decided to wait a day and have a jet engine or two be my symbolic firework. Aaand seats reserved. Hopefully I’ll luck out and get a nice afternoon look at Seattle.

At this point I have my doubts I’ll be caught up until I get home, but hopefully I’ll get writing again soon, which is to say, hopefully the use of AC is less stingy in Taiwan.

Sorry for the delay and disappointment.

June 16th through the 19th Photoset: Daegu Failed Costco Walk Part 2 also Parks


This gallery contains 216 photos.

Dropbox version.

June 12th through the 14th Photoset: Travel, Daegu, and Failed Costco Trip One


This gallery contains 158 photos.

Dropbox version.