4. China Outlands 2008

Hong Kong – day 3

Last day in city and back to a bit of tourism. Peak, going higher than the tourists (well, just to the real Peak) and then Body Combat. The Happy Valley horse riding was cancelled due the bad weather of yesterday.

This gym was 5 floors, each floor with dozens of machines. The class was kind of normal, half english half chinese, again more guys than gals. But before the body combat there was a step class… more than 50 people, 70% men and a amazing difficult choreography… and everyone following it without problems.

Back to my Nigerian movie rental shop for writing up the blog. Lets go eat and then airport.

HK, I should visit you again.

Hong Kong – day 2

Hong Kong before the party ends. Sense 99 is the alternative kind of squat here. Two floors, on top a jam session between chinese and expats. Below expats in shirt smoke inside as this is not officially public.

Seems Bjork was here after her concert. This is the Sirkus of HK.

Typhoon signal 3 and black rain signal today left me without much to do. Body Combat and a contemporary dance show was my day.

I ran out of money, only Octopus card now. Will I survive?


Macau is undefined, tried to be Hong Kong, did not arrive and now is getting dominated by chinese and philipinos. Signs are still in chinese and portuguese, but portuguese is disappearing in favor of english and tagalo. Portuguese were here, but not anymore.
The wind was getting stronger and stroger. The boat back was shaking and half people vomiting. My mood was ok all time.

Hong Kong – day 1

Kilometers of advance by Hong Kong compared to NY, London, Barcelona… On arrival to Kawloon a lights show on the other side (Central) buildings was going on with music. Now back to Chunking Mansions, the queue to elevators, all smuggles of mobile phones and the indian restaurants.

Hong Kong

When I like something I try to write it beautiful. The city had impact on me. Because is very easy, western style with translation in chinese. The confortable weather helped an the hotel to be not worst than I expected also.

Missing only company. Would be great to have E here, discover together this amazing town.

One afternoon based on Nathan Road and the Chunking Mansions, the boat to Central, the escalator, small parks (and natural smell) in middle of the city, finished with a beer in a terrace of “Fringe”, some supposely alternative club. Well, music (Morcheeba?) is nice.

Taiwan – day 12

The weather was wonderful at 6:30am when I went to take breakfast, quite nice chinese breakfast. But I was not up for more budhism. Bus back to Kaoshiung and fast train to Taipei. Like shinkansen 3+2 places per row and 300km/h.

Then went to Wulai, hot springs village. The weather had changed and showers started. Try to know some trails. Again no english at tourist information and just a small trail.
To finish a bath in the public hot springs by the river.

Budism Theme Park of “Fogwangshan”

I stayed in their pelegrins lodge this night after bowing for some tooth and trying to write nice sentences in chinese. Like any other religious place they live of donations but they have a gold 20m statue of buda (which is fat) and hundreds of other golden small ones. Not to talk about the 5 souvenir shops, 3 restaurants and even an ATM, just in case you did not bring enough to give them. My donation was thousand dolars for sleep and two (nice) meals. Same I would pay outside.

Taiwan – day 10

Bike in the rain, feet in warm Pacific, noodle soup breakfast. Problems getting money, but machines at 7/11 worked. Lunch pointing to a dish and that costed 85TWD. It was curry chicken. Is getting easier to understand the information. I like the thing of gathering small pieces and understand a chinece only timetable.


The touristic beach paradise of Taiwan. A order: hotel, clothes shop, restaurant and repeat. Television with 100 channels showing many advertisements like home turkish bath, tea pots and underware.

Bike are all very small. Do they ride? And rent is same price as scooter…

Taiwan – day 9

Day started with small earthquake. In the morning still light rain so decided to go South. First stop Taiting. Visitors centre no english. Go south, seach for the sun and a laundry. In this train station a TV show the “Supreme Master TV” with subtitles in 13 languages at same time!

In Taiwan trains we show ticket to get into platform, in the train and when leaving the station.

In Taiwan there are few automatic machines, but they are too old to be useful (except MRT in Taipei).

In Taiwasn small hotels the towels are very small, like in Japan (for onsen).

Taiwan – day 8

Takoro NP is an interesting marble gorge with lots of tourists and a few paths. I got a lift on the way down which allow to get 2 hours advance. Moved to carpe Lake, a bit South. Rainy weather allowed only to check the hotel. Dinner at a supermarked with a family owhere only a guy speak few english words.

Taiwan – day 7

Excursion from 6:50am to some island shape of turtle. Nothing special. After another huge lunch I left and took train to Hualien. Mistake after mistake I stayed in a bad hotel for 16chf and they did not find me a bike. Only tomorrow I can go to Toroko NP and I still don’t know where to go after…
Now in a buffet restaurant a mother send me the child to translate and help. The child had excellent english.

Taiwan – day 6

Hard wake up and conference only at 11:00. In the afternoon was my presentation, nothing special. I changed my ticket to HK for Thursday.
Conference buffet with a band of contemporary chinese music or whatever, but was horrible. Banquet of 10 dishes.
After with Pablo and a canadian we went to a tango bar. Pablo danced and we drunk beer. The bar looked nice but the guy in 30 minutes did 3 coffees in a very long procedure.

Taiwan – day 4

Full day at conference. Went with 2 spanish and indian make a small tour and had a buffet dinner on a DIY (do it yourself). Table was half grill half boiler. What we ate I don’t know neither want to know.
After we walked in night markets where they sell from porno to vibrators, snake restaurants and massages. With Pablo I went for a beer after a while hunting for a bar.

The gym

I went for the body combat class at 22:00. The full of lights gym had a queue of 30 people to enter the classroom. Inseide several from previous class stayed. 30 guys, maybe 20 girls and a class in chinese. In the changing rooms while not all showers were taken (they are covered with courtain), the queue for specific one. In the sauna I stepped to the 2nd floor and everyone starred at me. I believe I shouldn’t have put the feet on the 1st floor. And of course they never show them naked. On the way back I mistake in the train and went to different line.

Taiwan – day 3

Hard time to wake up. Not today the swimming pool. But chinese breakfast and misou soup. I’ll try to change return to HK to Thursday. And good would be to change return to GVA via Partis, but I don’t believe I can. In Taiwan now I think to visit Taroko National Park and then some hot-springs a bit south.
This morning I went to contemporary Art Museum. Quite small, simple exibition. The MRT to North, Dashiu, a costal village at the delta of the river that crosses Taipei. Lots of small shops and lunch at small restaurant with photos. And fruite juice of some strange fruit. Now is my turn to take taxi to conference. At night the gym.


Hard to wake up and impossible to have stomach for a chinese breakfast. Stayed with european style. Met first CERN colleagues and went to the conference. Traffic to arrive there. Packet lunch was ok. Then was the few who took shuttle bus to hotel. Others, I believe, take taxi at CERN expenses. At hotel I discover they have swimming pool and also some library with free internet access. At night I met Florance, a taiwanese girl from hospitality club, we go for dinner in a night market, she makes me taste local food, very strange, and dessert as a cold soup. I give her collection of euro coins. On way to hotel the women seated at my side reads Angels and Deamons. I show her the CERN card. “Are you scientist?” “Yes.”


Taipei MRTThe organization suggested a taxi, I took the metro and walk. The hotel is nice but no free internet…
Hot and humid Taiwan. and a mix of south Korea and Kuala-Lumpur. Still behind cleaness of Japan. However people are friendly, come to try to help. First lunch – lamb with sweet melon – is not to repeat. After walking in foot massage path, hardly supported, I discover a barber for a secon asiatic hair cut experience. Of course couln’t be as good as Japan, the place was worst. Several women cutting the hair to men, a man talking to clients. No english speaker so was machine, 9mm at top, 3 at sides. First cut the ton of hair, then put shampoo on dry head and wash with head down to small bath tub, with women washing all my face altogether. A few hot towels and two candies as offer against 350T$. Some more walk through the Ginza of Taipei, full of shops with strange dresses, metro to a temple and hotspring baths to finish the day. Different than in Japan, there is no washing beginning and is mixed with swimming suit.


Traveling for both conference and holidays is not easy. Holidays are much more important for me. Then in the conference I’ll be with work people I really dont know or share tases. Then I’ll be by my self, discovering people and places. Let us see how it goes. I’m still in Geneva.