1. So there there's this guy, Jordan, who's travelling to various South East Asian countries to make video games about cultural and political issues. It's sort of a travel writing concept, but with games. I KNOW, AMAZING, right? Anyway, so I emailed him, and asked him if he'd drop by Taiwan for a spin, and so that I could play the Robin to his game-designing Batman. And holy frijoles, it worked! He wants to come. So I'm going to give some monay to this dude so that he can complete his project, and so that he can come to Taiwan. I would humbly request that you do, too! Check out his website. It's www.gametrekking.com! I shouldn't have to tell you how exciting this is to me. I was probably born for this.
2. Notes on china!
a. Chinese people have trouble waiting in lines.
b. Beijing (Peking) duck is delicioso.
c. Train travel is disorganized.
d. Things the government touches turn to gold. Everything else is kind of bleh.
e. Air pollution is REALLY bad for you.
f. Yogurt in Beijing is friggin' euphoric.
g. Bargaining is easier if you pretend you're married to the person you're shopping with, and pretend to threaten a divorce if they buy something at that price. Prices drop like flies.
h. The Silk Road is not like the Appalachian Trail. You cannot backpack it. Because it is an idea.
i. The square milage Beijing airport is a significant percentage of the size of Rhode Island. I'm not kidding, here.
j. Kung Fu monk children don't want lollipops.
k. Chinese food is greasy in China. But you can ask for less grease. And no MSG.
g. People in China do NOT know where things are. Don't ask. I think it's because things are changing so quickly, that no one knows the street names anymore.
h. Smoking on trains is not allowed. But people do it anyway. I don't want to guess about airplanes.
i. Big Brother is watching YOU. You must report your address and comments to the government at every hostel you stay in.
k. Buddha safety in Buddha numbers.
l. The government bans things that become more popular than The Party. Like pop music. And brands. So don't get popular.
m. If you don't have a professional degree, apparently, you are encouraged to immigrate out.
n. Most people in China who want to use the internet for reals (and not get all the good sites blocked by the Great Firewall of China) use VPNs. In this way, it is not impossible to use the internet per usual.
o. Taiwan can outlast Mainland China. It's a matter of whether China makes a rash and violent decision to attack.
p. People, it seems to me, don't particularly care whether Taiwan is part of China or not. But they are told how to answer that question in school, so mostly you'll get the same answers from people about it, I think.
q. Get a RECENT guide, if you go there. Things change very quickly.
r. Everyone in China smokes, on average, 75 packs of cigarettes per year. More than everywhere else combined. That average includes babies!
3. While in China, the most oft-repeated phrase was "Meh, we'll photoshop that one later." So much so that we began taking photos specifically with the intention of photoshopping them. So here is my humble series, entitled, "China: Hadokened". Also, a picture of a terra-cotta warrior holding a wiimote. We thought that was necessary.