Monday, March 28, 2011

Taiwanese Ice-cream Truck?

I don't think in Taiwan they have a set garbage pick up day like we do. Almost everyday I have heard the songs that I remember as being an ice-cream truck being played by the garbage

(In a comment on this post I was told that there is set times for garbage, but the music is to remind people)

I borrowed this video off of youtube - this was not recorded by me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Home in Taichung

I arrived in Taiwan Wednesday night (midnight) after being awake for 24 hours, with only about 1 hour of sleep on the last plane. The planes had very few people on them, both flights I had my own row of seats to myself, which was nice, but a part of me wished to have someone to talk to. My flight from Seattle stopped in Tokyo then from Tokyo it was about a 3 1/2 hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan. When landing in Taiwan everyone from Japan had to go through a radiation check. I passed the test and entered through customs with ease, probably easier then it is to travel to Canada and back. After I gathered my luggage I met up with two of the teachers here that took me on a 2-3 hour bus ride to Taichung. They immediately brought me to my apartment were I could get some sleep.

View from living room window
Living Room

My Bedroom

My apartment complex requires a key to get into the park outside my window (first photo above) and also to use the elevator. There is two other rooms similar to my room that other students will be living in. I will have Jacob Smith living in my room with me, when he arrives. I live on the 5th floor with many other tall buildings around.

That night for my first meal in Taiwan I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In the morning I had my bowl of Cheerios and started my day. Half of the day I had orientation to learn about how the week is kinda ran and my responsibilities. The first couple of weeks I will be in training observing other teachers before I take on my own classes.

Seattle: Fremont and Skateboarding

Seattle has a lot of interesting art around. More specifically under the Fremont Bridge they have this huge troll, that is holding a real Volkswagen bug car. Fremont is a very interesting place you can find many different things there that you wouldn't find anywhere else and probably would never want to encounter.

A very controversial statue in Fremont, is this one of Lennon. If I understand correctly this is not an original but a remake from an artist.

If I could only see one thing in Seattle it would be this skatepark. It is the Marginal Way skatepark, 100% built and funded by skateboarders for skateboarders. It is only about 5 years old now and I can still see tons of preparation to build more great things in this park. All the transition on the ramps is super steep and hard to skate.

After the skatepark we took the underground buses back home. No not subways they have underground tunnels for buses. They only drive underground for so long though before they rise back to earth.

After the skatepark we went to Tent City. Tent City is a community of homeless people that receive a permit to live on a piece of land for a amount of time. It is a very safe community their own members police and regulate rules to keep Tent City a safe place for themselves and other homeless people. In about a month their permit ends and they will travel to a new location.

Jacob and I went to help out the church to feed the homeless and to share with them the love of Christ.

This was my last day in the United States so I had to make it worth it. Jacob and I tried to be the most American we could, probably was we really didn't know what Americans did. We went out and ate pizza then got stuck on our plans. Everyone suggested we play baseball or watch TV but it didn't sound like fun to us. Jacob's mom kindly drove us around exploring new areas that we haven't been to. Eventually we got near Seattle and I was able to get this photo from Kerry's Park. The only problem was I didn't have a tripod, except for this mini one the size of a pen with bendy legs. However when using it with a 55-200mm lens zoomed all the way out it doesn't hold the camera very steady. If you look closely you can see that the lights on the buildings are a little stretched out.

The next day I woke up around 7am had my last meal in America, cold pizza for breakfast. At about 9am we left for the airport arriving at 10am for a flight at 1:50pm. When standing in line for my baggage claim I realized that my suitcase didn't feel right, then noticed that I forgot my skateboard. I began to cry...not really but if I was to forget anything that would have been my last choice.

Seattle Market

I arrived in Seattle, WA Saturday night. The original plan was to meet up with Jacob Smith to fly over to Taiwan together. However Jacob has to get surgery and will be coming to Taiwan a month late. While in Seattle he showed me around the city and other places.

The first day that we went to Seattle we visited the Public Market. There is a lot of little things that have some how became pretty famous. First of was the fish throwers. (I am not sure of the official name) When people order fish they grave the fish and throw it over the counter to the man in the back to put together the costumers order.

I am not sure why this pig is famous but everyone seemed to want to get a picture next to it.

The pig is actually a giant piggy bank. The money goes towards the homeless.

One of my favorite things in the Market was this creepy Bo Bo the Clown. (Picture Above). One the same street is the first ever Starbucks. It is a very small place but people would jam themselves in there anyway to say the bought a coffee from there.

If you go down the stairs right behind the creepy clown, you will find a famous wall known for its gum. Many people come to get a picture with the wall or to leave their own slime among the others. (Just don't back up to far when getting a picture)

Also along the ally is some cool graffiti that people put on the walls.
Some cool shops along the docks

The last place we went was the Columbia Tower, which is the tallest building in Seattle. It took us a while to get to the top becuase you had to keep alternating elevators. Plus we didn't want to pay for the viewing deck. So we rode the elevators until we found a floor we could look out the window. I believe the photo to the left was taken from the 36th floor from a Starbucks window.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Journey to Taiwan: Flight to Seattle

A photo from 
I have begun my journey to Taiwan. I left March 19th for Seattle to meet up with a guy who is going to Taiwan with me. Seattle is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains. I will share with you more about Seattle in a future blog post.

The past week was a busy week in final preparation for the trip.  I was able to spend some time with most of my family Sunday. I received my tetanus and Hep. A & B on Wednesday, then had some cavities filled the next day, and then discovered a problem with my computer getting that fixed on friday.

I fly out of Seattle on Wednesday to Tokyo and will arrive in Taiwan by 9 p.m.

Please pray for me as I travel. I also still need $400 more in monthly support.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chicago Skateboard Trip

Most of the photos were taken by me and all were edited by myself.
With leaving to Taiwan for the next two years, a couple of my friends (David Tanner Jr. and Jonathan Tanner) wanted to take on last skate trip to Chicago. While discussing our plans for the trip Jon offered to pay for all my expenses so I wouldn't have to worry about anything. (click on images to enlar

Map to all our favorite spots to skate in Chicago, plus some that I found from using google maps (Click to View My Chicago Skate Spots Map) When I thought I found something good, I would try to use the street view to check it out. If I looked like it could be a good place to skate, I added it to the map.

This is a technique I would suggest to anyone taking a trip to anywhere for any reason. You will find cool places you would have never seen.

Skate Equipment - 2 complete skateboards, an extra deck, rollerblades, bearings, hardware, shoe laces, and wax.

Camera Gear - I brought my Nikon D5000, 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens, 3 batteries, 8GB and 16 GB memory cards. Jon brought his video camera along with a tripod.

Food - Jon brought a cooler packed with food. 6 pack of Creme Soda, 20 cans of Mountian Dew, 1/2 Liter of Gatorade, and Peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches.

I recently found a ton of stickers from years of receiving them for free through skateboarding from different things. I finally decided why do I have all these stickers I should use them. So for fun in honor of our Chicago trip, we put stickers all over our boards and skates. Even on the weeks and trucks.

The drive took us 3 hours. However we came into some complications when arriving. First we missed our exit, so in trying to turn around, our gps looked like it wanted us to take this one road and in the confusion we ended up on the wrong side of the road in against on coming traffic. Luckily there was very few cars around and we where able to quickly fix the problem.

When we first arrived we searched for a parking garage. First one we found would have cost us almost $40 for the day, however we drove a little bit to the out skirts of chicago and only had to pay $10 for the whole day.

We left the house at 7:30 and arrived around 11 (by the time we found parking). (photo: Jon)

A couple blocks from the parking garage we found this spot. There was 3 other kids already skating here that we continually met on separate occasions with hours in between not on purpose. This spot had this nice long/low mani pad, along with a longer then normal 7 stair. Neither me nor David have skated a stair set in a long time, so we were both happy to manage to ollie it first try. (Photo: David Manuel)

Our next stop: Cook Plaza
If you notice the green water that is for St. Patrick's day. Knowing today wasn't St. Patrick's day we assumed it was going to be like any other day. However we were wrong. They had a little parade and downtown was packed tight with people wearing green.

If you ever go to Chicago (to skate) it is mandatory you stop by at the Sea Wall. Facing out to Lake Michigan, the Sea Wall wraps around the shore line. This is probably one of the most famous spots in Chicago to skate and one of my favorite. It's not everyday you find a 8ft vert ramp street skating.

When skating at the Sea Wall there is one major danger and that is losing your board to the lake. When skating the wall we used spotters to keep any boards from going in.
Myself going as high as I can.

With a few more stops we eventually made it to the northern part of the city. By this point we are all getting tired from skating all day. I ended up getting home around 9, while Jon and David had another 40min. to go. (photo Jon)

On our way out, we ran into our friends once again. It was a fun day and my body is sore from not being use to skating so long anymore.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicago Updates

HTC EVO 4G Android Phone (Sprint)You can follow me, David and Jon Tanner in real time as we skate chicago all day saturday. Jonathan will be uploading photos with his Evo phone. Just click the click to view the public facebook album.

Tsunami in Taiwan

Friday March 11, 2011 we see massive effects of a tsunami, that has done great damage to Japan. Taiwan has received no damage from the tsunami. They were hit on the east coast with about 10cm high waves according to News Reports. Taiwan is going to send rescue teams to Japan and possibly other countries that have been harmed near by.

Please pray for Japanese people. I have many friends in Japan and they have family members there. The video below is devastating to watch knowing how many people have been harmed. Please pray for them.

I am not sure how things are going to work with my flights. I was going to be landing in Tokyo before I fly to Taiwan. I know the airport in Tokyo is currently closed. Hopefully it will be opened by next week before I leave or if I can be re-routed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Michigan Winter Skateboarding

Taken by Carter Leslie -- Edited by Me. -- Skater Me  bs boardslide
I finally got to do some skateboarding today. It was a little warmer then normal, so despite the snow, we packed our shovels, cameras, and boards for some street skating. I took Carter Leslie around with me to do some filming. After shoveling off multiple spots to skate. We did some skating and got some filming in. So here it is! The video was filmed and edited by Carter.

Taiwan March Newsletter

Here is my most recent newsletter. Just click on the image to enlarge it.