Moments in Taipei today

Today was a pretty good day. I went for coffee at Louisa Coffee and the manager gave me a free scrambled egg on my bagel. The bagels there are just the best! They put on the ham and cheese, tomato and cucumber in large slices. I really like the coffee shop and its close to my Airbnb. I walked through a day market which was fun. Got to see all kinds of stuff on sale including really nice fresh fruit and veggies.

Taipei is a fun city to wander in. It’s very concentrated and the change from day to night is a lot of fun. Street lights come on and the night markets get going. Last night I visited one that had blocks and blocks of everything. Hats, pants, socks, shoes, and so much street food! I had some satay at the end of the main area. The fun part though is that down the side streets there is more and many people join up by walking down side streets first.

A really nice thing is that Taipei seems very safe and traffic laws like red lights are pretty much obeyed except every so often by… Motorbikes! Yes those damnable motorbikes will routinely break the law by running a light or riding the sidewalks. But really its a rare occurrence.

I’ve walked the Sanchong District of New Taipei City for 5 days now. Tomorrow will do a walk by the river and park areas and then start Saturday exploring the main area from the Central MRT Station out in different directions. I don’t have a plan or a place to go so I will just go there and walk that city to the monuments, parks, museums, temples and the city streets, alleys, side streets. Whatever really takes my fancy. I booked my Airbnb for a month primarily because visas coming in are not required for US citizens and I got a 90 day exemption stamp for sightseeing free of cost. My take is I should use up as much as I want or desire since the country gives away such a nice entry exemption.

I’ll finish up a month in Taipei and then take the high speed rail to 4 different cities and spend a week in each city seeing the sights. At the end I will catch the high speed rail back to Taipei and spend two nights before leaving for Philippines. Philippines will put an end to my 2019 moments and I’ll leave in January for the US.

learning and loving the iPhone 11

I have been playing with the iPhone 11 a lot for photography both with the default App and the Halide pro app. To me, and for what I choose to take photographs of, the iPhone 11’s wide and ultra wide angle lens work perfectly. I like to take street shots, buildings, parks and people. It does all that very well and the color quality is very nice. If you are looking for a single device and want to lose the camera gear for awhile, and you really want the single device, I would recommend either the iPhone 11 or 11 pro. The pro has the 2x telephoto lens but you can crop the photographs or buy a case and lens like that made by Moment and still be cheaper than the pro phone. I may do that when they get closer to shipping and have it shipped to my ex-wife’s house.

All in all, for the casual photographer who wants to share images on Facebook and Mastodon, the iPhone 11 works very well for me. I don’t have any desire to edit photographs or do much with them besides have a recording of where I went and what I saw. The weight difference alone after getting rid of the camera gear, lens, chargers, body; is nice.

no laptop and loving it

I also got rid of my Macbook 12 inch laptop and got the iPad Air 2019 with the Smart Keyboard. I got the 256gb version in Saigon and I really love not having the weight and frustration of the size. I can hold the tablet on the plane, extend the keyboard and use to type like now, or read so easily on it. I gave some thought to just using the kindle app on it but I don’t like the distractions. If I am reading, I really do not need notifications about mail, news, etc coming in. The kindle is a single use device and its probably the only one I have left. The laptop did a multitude of things for me but I believe for someone going like me, its not needed.

finally its the workflow dammit

The workflow with the Notion app also has made things better with the iPad and iPhone. It’s a nice wiki and note style application which has the features I want to write notes, keep wiki style information, write a journal entry. It’s all in one for me and I have not found things it will not do yet. I do miss Day One and its focused diary approaches but I don’t like separate buckets.

When you combine all the things and add in a simplified photography workflow which is completely empty, the enjoyment of the walking, the recording afterwards in Notion, and extemporaneous writing I like to do; is all there now with two devices with such similar application functionality.

It’s really worth it when you consider the workflow if you decide ever to leave and not come back. Consider the workflow of the things you buy and need, the electronics, the charging, the clothing. You don’t need a heavy duty jacket in Saigon. You probably don’t need jeans. I see so many people that look kinda miserable dressing way too much. If you go to a temple which has a dress code they all offer rentable clothing to cover up. Just consider your own workflows and then cut everything down to a minimum. I just use cheap souvenir T shirts from the places I have been. They cost about $3 each and my wonderful love L will buy them for me if I mention I need them. Consider your needs and really consider your workflow if you ever decide life is too much where you are at and perhaps you want the crazy, sometimes strange, but wonderful life in Southeast Asia. One day I will write a more detailed post on all the things I did to try to make it easier on myself and others. It’s not just packing and going if you want a decent experience. You have to build a basic workflow for what remains behind and things always do.

It’s kind of the rule of life vagabonding I think. Consider the requirements, lessen some of the things, understand the other things and what you want out of them and then build the workflow and implement it. Make it simple though. You don’t need a complex flowchart of things. You just need the right things.

In the end

Tomorrow is the end day of wandering here. I will get done and start going to downtown Taipei. Down where the tourists roam I believe. I’ll spend days there riding the MRT here and there and all around with a 3 day pass on the system repeated a few times. I have three more weeks to get it all wrong :-)

I bet I get more than my fair share of it wrong no matter what. Perhaps I miss a thing but I bet I got to see more meaningless things than the rank and file digital nomad or round the world BS artist.

October 23, 2019