On my flight from KunmingIt’s winter holiday so that means it’s time to go out and about and explore this huge adopted country of mine.

So what’s the plan this year? Well, like always, to me winter means going south. So I’m going to start in Shenzhen to visit my best friend Color for a few days. Shenzhen is right on the border next to Hong Kong, so I’ll be going there after just for a few days to see some friends and enjoy some western decadence like Afternoon Tea.

Then from Hong Kong I’ll be flying out to Taiwan!! I’m super excited about this one. Here’s the thing, I like traveling in China because I get to practice and improve my chinese. But I’ve been thinking as I’m in this new part of the world I should explore the other asian countries while I’m here. So for me Taiwan is the first step. It’s kinda a different country, but they all speak Mandarin so it’s the best of both worlds.

I’m really excited for Taiwan, I’ve heard so much good stuff about it, especially the street food. Taiwan is famous for their night markets and unique nibbles. I will dutifully try as much as I can and report back to you, dear reader.

I’ll be in Taiwan for a few weeks, traveling around. The last week I’ll be joined by an old friend. (Old as in I met her several years ago.) She can also speak chinese, so I don’t have to worry about taking care of her, and even better she had points at the Shangri-La in Tainan (southern Taiwan) so she hooked us up with two free night! 5-star luxury!

Free 5-star luxury for a few nights?! yes please! (And yes, this is the actual place I'll be staying.)

Free 5-star luxury for a few nights?! yes please! (And yes, this is the actual place I’ll be staying.)

Then comes the old “What do I do for Spring Festival?” problem. Like I’ve said in the past, spending spring festival in China is a nightmare. Just imagine 1.2 billion people all trying to travel home on buses, planes and trains. Stories of 24-hour traffic jams, people standing on trains squeezed so tight they can’t move and not a single available hotel room are common. I always try to avoid China during this time of year.

But this time I’m jumping right in and going to have a totally traditional Spring Festival in a small village. Color invited me to his home and while I’m nervous (because who knows how many traditions I’ll probably screw up) I’m also totally excited. I’ve already met his family, so this will be a reunion of sort. And since I’ll be staying with his family I don’t have to worry about hotel. And I timed my Taiwan trip so that I can take a plane direct to his hometown where his parents will pick us up at the airport. So I can safely avoid the horrible crowds and experience the most important holiday with a real family.

As usual I have pre-loaded my blog with entries to keep this space busy. But even better I’ll be in Taiwan where Facebook isn’t blocked so connection will be easier than normal. Hopefully I’ll update on the road a few times.

Writer. Traveler. Tea Drinker. I don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

Writer. Traveler. Tea Drinker. I don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

 

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