Xiamen

“I can’t believe you got a flight back from Taipei back to Los Angeles”. Fifty-eight dollars for the ticket plus all the other fees, two hundred dollars on Xiamen airlines. 24 hour layover and some hassle, I ended up at nice hotel. They gave a 2 pm checkout.. YES! drank the loose tea instead of Lipton’s and got charged 5 bucks…oh well. Walked around the city and noticed the stares which I understand and realized Xiamen may not have a great number of visitors. Flying in night before I saw animated pictures of cranes and herons superimposed on fancy buildings. I am told this is what Xiamen is known for. What really exciting was seeing the Deputy’s Prime Minister and his entourage from Tonga. They are in a 20 year relationship similar to concept of sister cities. Diplomatic relationships start with noticing the “Ta Ovala” and not mistaking anyone for being Samoan. The last nice hotel I stayed at, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Shariff was also staying there. He was in Hong Kong to finish up the “Beltway intiative”. He’s been in a little trouble since then. Better him than me. Zaijian.

Taipei

I’ve had layovers in Taiwan but hours versus days. Quick bus tours and quick eats was all I could afford. My dear friend used to live in Taipei so she said we were going to hang out here after Nepal. I don’t know Taiwan history about Japanese colonialism around 1952. What I do know is that Taipei is beautifully humid (skin radiant and plump) sunny and rainy all in a day’s time. Looking into the sky, clouds move quickly. Ah then there’s the food. Taipei is inexpensive. Plenty of nite market treats to satisfy both budget and craving. Railways are efficient and wifi is essentially free. “iTaiwan” . Beitou hot springs is a stop along the MRT and yes, I am told the older naked ladies will comment on your body at the spa. They will switch quickly over to Taiwanese if they think you speak Mandarin.

Bangkok

Never heard of this airlines until now. 200.00 dollars cheaper than the rest. No booze though but that’s not the end of the world for some people. Seats are comfortable but tall individuals will be challenged. At 5’6 knees are touching seat in front of me. Update I am aware of the flight from Bali to Jakarta that plunge into ocean immediately after take off. It is an inherent risk and I am aware.

Goodbye Nepal

Raj says ” You need to come back and stay a couple of months”. They identify themselves as mountain, Hill or flat people. Hindu and Buddhist. I spent time in all three areas and I am fond of the all the Nepalese. The hill people have shared with me the peacefullness of day to day life and musically I was most struck by mountain music. After my treks I turned to my friend and said I missed being with the hill people. Mother nature’s sounds and movements are most sought after by this soul. I taught myself some Nepal type dances and quizzed the locals. “Is this mountain hill or flat dance? They would smile and sometimes I would get it right. Nepal. Thank you so much for your goodness. Zaijian.