Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back from Taiwan

Whew!  What a whirlwind trip!  Last Tuesday I was in Taiwan and by last Friday I was back in Albuquerque. 

Door-to-door it took 26 hours to make it from ABQ to TPE.  Thank the gods of airline upgrades, this was business class from San Fran to Taipei.  That more than makes up for the non-reclining seat in the ABQ-SFO leg (watch out in row 12 or higher of a CRJ-200).

We arrived late Monday night.  Tuesday morning, without missing a beat, we met with our Taiwanese colleagues and ventured out to Chinshan to view the proposed storage site.  

That evening our host took us into Keelung.  Since it was the end of Ghost Month, we hiked up a hill in the city center to a temple where preparations were underway for the Ghost Night festivities.  Here's a panorama stitched together with Hugin from 8 separate photos--it's a large temple and one can't back up far enough to get the entire thing in a single frame with a 35 mm lens.

The tables are loaded with hundreds of offerings to the ancestors.  We wouldn't want hungry ghosts causing problems in the year ahead. 

Afterwards our gracious host took us to a sumptuous seafood dinner--sashimi, steamed shrimp, spiny sea urchin roe, squid, hermit crabs, roast frogs, and much more.  Very tasty.

Stand by for more photos tomorrow as I catch up on all of last week's travel adventures.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bound for Taipei

Well, after a summer spent at home, it's time to hit the road again.  This time we're heading to Taiwan to look at the Chen Shan #1 Dry Cask Spent Fuel Facility.

The question has occasionally come up, "what doe the well accoutred bear take with him on a trans-Pacific trip?"

Here's Schlepp while packing (click to enlarge).  The key to the letters is as follows:

A.  Snacks, very important, especially on a 20+ hour trip
B.  DOP kit
C.  Jura single malt Scotch, 3 oz max allowed in carry-on
D.  Shampoo and conditioner, ditto
E.  Schlepp himself, most important
F.  Tempurpedic pillow, since airlines are now reneging on creature comforts
G. Umbrella, it's typhoon season in Taiwan right now

There you have it, the basic survival kit for the traveling bear.  Not shown are headphones, mp3 player, book, camera, and miscellany kept in the under-the-seat bag.  For the entire trip, we only have to deal with this one wheeled carry-on and the much smaller shoulder bag.