D57 . Oct 27 . Fulong Beach

Sunday started very badly, but ended well, don’t worry.
First, I woke up at 8 because of one of my room mates who was creasing plastic bags – A total happiness when you consider I had gone to sleep at 3 in the morning after quite some drinks with an Hong-Kong room mate. So, in a nutshell, hanged over.
Then, I go to the train station, as I’m planning to spend the afternoon in Fulong, on the East Coast, on a nice beach.
OK, ticket booked, I have one hour ahead of me. So i seize that opportunity to buy my bus ticket to the airport in advance. I follow the signs to find the bus station. I cross one hall, i take two elevators, I cross a shopping mall, I take an other elevator, I cross the street as one guy tells me, I cross an other all… And I’m back to the starting point !!!
OK, let’s forget about the bus ticket. I need to withdraw some money for my way back from the beach, for my last night in Taipei, for the airport, for a couple of meals. I need 1000 Taiwan Dollars, meaning 25 euros. The first ATM keeps my card five minutes before giving it back to me. And I can tell you that five minutes looking at a screen which tells you your operation is being cancelled is pretty long. Long enough for my stomach to squeeze, as i’m imagining the next days without a penny in my pocket. OK, let’s try another one. The other one cancels the operation as well, without giving me any explanation.
My train is in five minutes. Should I get on it or should I secure money first ? I still have 86 dollars in my pocket, the trip back costs 83, I don’t need to eat or drink, let’s get on the train. Though, access to the beach is 200 dollars, so I’d rather find some cash anyway, otherwise the trip is not gonna be worth it.
90 minutes later, I reach my destination. There is a 7/11 grocery store next by, with an ATM. I try. Only in Chinese language, for local cards. My stomach squeezes again.
I find another 7/11 ATM… And it works… Uffff. I have my 25 euros !

I can even rent a bicycle !

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Recently, Fulong city has dung a tunnel inside the mountain, so that people car see the sea from the other side. A five or six kilometers path dedicated to bicycles, a paradise.

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At the end of the path, a fishermen village.

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On the place, a guy plays the saxophone, an other one sells ice cream, a woman is preparing grilled sausages. The atmosphere is so peaceful. I hope its shows on the video below.

Then I finally go to the beach. Beautiful. Its is five PM and the light there is amazing.

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I’m happy and very relaxed. I can take my train back to my creepy hostel. Tomorrow, on Monday, I’ll commute to Delhi. I’ll reach the city at two in the morning. I’ve asked to hotel to organize a pick up. I don’t want to take a random taxi in that megalopolis…

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On Tuesday, your hero will have new adventures to tell !

D56. 0ct 26 . Keelung Juifen Jinguashi

Capture d’écran 2013-10-26 à 15.11.19Keelung looks pretty nice, they ara having a festival. Yeah, there is a festival everywhere I go !
Though, I leave this harbor quite quickly in the morning (after a long bus), and manage to catch a bus for Jiufen, famous for its food street. Very impressive indeed.

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Looks good, doesn’t it ?
Non only the small town makes great food, but in addition, it sets on the top of a wonderful hill, with a view on the coast.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?
And, in addition, this :

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Nope ! It’s not a mini-golf…

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… It’s a grave ! And the hill is a huge cemetery !!!
After this strange discovery, I catch another bus, I’d like to reach Jinguashi, an ancient coal mine site…

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Interesting. the mine is not spectacular. The view is.
Finally, I decide to go back to Taipei for the night, as there are not so many hotels in the countryside.

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Good that I was the first one to get on the bus !!!

D46 . Oct 16 . Birds and Mud

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Suncheon Bay. An amazing natural tideland.
3 buses, 2km through marshes, 4km through an amazing canopy…
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… To finally get that amazing view on the Bay.
Korea is surrounded by seas on 3 sides and the mud distributed on the Korean seashore is one of the world’s biggest mud flat, together with the Georgian coast of U.S., the East Coast of Canada, the Amazon estuary,  and the North Sea coast facing U.K.Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.18.11 Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.18.29Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.18.55

As Korea’s mud flats have gentle gradient and shallow water, plus a big amplitude between ebb and flow of the tide, they are the perfect place for crabs, worms and other species to develop.

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Which makes it the perfect place for birds to do shopping.Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.23.03Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.23.27Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.23.45Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.23.17Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.25.32Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.25.45

Many different birds we discovered from the boat…Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.20.28

… Together with our favorite benches of Korean women.

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Alex is starting to worry though. Capture d’écran 2013-10-16 à 15.16.38

Indeed, only Korean women are visiting those sites. So, where are their men?
What do we really have in our plates?
Hum, here, the food chain makes birds and crabs happy. And what if it was also making Korean wives happy?!?

D41 . Oct 41 . Let’s get lost in the fields

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Today was a day to visit temples – Yes, don’t tell me: again (profane I was, profane I’ll remain). Well, note that it’s not that I don’t like temples; it’s just that you might think, after a while, that they all look the same… isn’t it? Never-ending golden leaves in Thailand. Shiva standing, Shiva sleeping, Shiva dancing in India. Buddha awake, Buddha sleeping, Buddha stuffing in China…
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Therefore, when Alex told me we would ride ten kilometers out of the city to see just 1 temple, and then 1 Buddha in a cave, I was moderately enthusiastic. It got even worse when we found out that our bicycle lane was sticking to the 6-lane highway… And that the temple was on the top of a hill… twenty kilometers from the city center. We arrived there exhausted, visited the temple quickly (nice one), gave up with the visit to the Buddha cave.

And then, we tried to find a way to escape the 6-lane highway and just let our compass guide us through the countryside small roads. And then the ride became amazing.
Yellow fields, ochre lights, silence of the road, jumping bugs… Beautiful and appeasing.

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Some farmers as well, not so many.
I don’t now if this was paddy rice, or barley, or millet… If one of you knows, I’m interested…
It should be paddy rice (rice grown with a little bit of water only), but it doesn’t really like the pictures I’ve seen in encyclopedias…

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As we were approaching the city center, pagoda-like roofs where emerging from the fields…

Capture d’écran 2013-10-11 à 12.21.51… And we saw again, under the sun this time, those amazing tumuli (graves under those hills).

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Satisfied we were. Happy we are.


D38 – Oct. 8 – A wet National Park


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We slept on Ondols , which are very thin mattresses, kind of futons, though without tatamis underneath. On the other hand, we could benefit from the subfloor heating… It was so hot that we had leave the windows opened all night. Conclusion: When I woke up this morning I felt as fresh and vivid as a Salmon A l’Unilateral…

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Then, we walked through the Seoraksan National Park.
It rained all day, a side effect of the Danas typhoon, which is heading South of Korea at the moment…
When I searched for information about this typhoon in the Western media, they were only reporting on the Formula One Grand Prix, supposed to take place in Korea, everyone wondering if the show would take place – No mention of people, except of pilots!
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Anyway, the typhoon seems to move away, quite a relief I must say…

D25 – Sept 25 – Far East landscapes

So, I entered the train at 4AM on Sept. 24. I had decided to travel first class, to avoid being four people in a small space and to have a shower. Unfortunately, the train is super old and there ain’t no shower. No plugs in the compartments neither, I’ll have to charge my computer in the corridor.

Though, the train decoration is unbelievable. Entering my cabin at night, I have the feeling I am entering an Agatha Christie décor. There is a long stripes carpet in the corridor, a flowers carpet in my cabin, silk curtains hanged at my window, delicate sheets on my bed, flower pillows… So the décor makes its first class. Plus I have to towels instead of one, though I wonder what I’m gonna do with those since anyway there is no shower to have. Plus there are only two beds. Plus the Prodvinista looks nicer than in other classes. Haha.

As I went to bed very late, I will not be very active that day. Watched series (How to Make it in America, good one), had several naps.

Couloir et toilettes Cabine

Meanwhile, the train is leaving the Baikal region. I’ve read yesterday that, in the Irkutsk region, houses collapse because of global warming. Indeed, taiga is planted on ice, the famous permafrost we heard of at school.

was leaving Buriatie, one of the poorest republics of the federation. A few meters of iced land, frozen all year long. In theory. It is starting to melt in some areas. And Irkutsk houses collapse. Later, trees roots will not find anything to grip, soil will melt, and the forest itself could collapse… Without mentioning the cities concrete buildings, the nuclear plants…

maison qui s'enfonce

The train keeps going, and I say good-bye to Buriatie – by the way one of the poorest Republics of the Federation. It is also time for a farewell moment with TAIGAAAA, before I warmly welcome the steppes, finally!

Good move: landscapes at the end of the day are unbelievable.

At the beginning, nice tones of autumn, a full range of colors from yellow to brown.

And then, one hour later, it looked like the nature was on fire.

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The second day, Sept. 25, we pass by many rivers and MARAIS. And I understand why this portion of rail was a nightmare to build. Everything is liquid here. Here as well, sunset in unbelievable, as the sky reflects perfectly in every single drop of water.

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D21 – Sept 21 – a window on the Baikal Lake

Hi everyone!

I’m stuck in bed with my cold, an amazing running nose, and I’m running out of tissues.
We have reached Ulan Ude, capital city of Bouriates.
Our hotel is quiet, and today we should meet with some travelers we met in Olkhon, the two girls from Leeds and Nicolas from Paris.
We’ve spent seven hours in the train today, on a section bridging Irtkusk to Ulan Ude, one of the most challenging part to build, at the time.
We had been told that it is the most beautiful part of the trip, but frankly it looked very much like the others. Taiga on the left. Lake on the right though.
I’ll let you have a look at the two videos below.

D20 – Sept 20 – On the way back to Irtkusk

I don’t know if it comes from the cold shower at the back from the vegetable garden, or if it was meant to happen anyway, but I have a cold. My nose is completely blocked.

Today we have spent six hours in a jeep with a bench of backpackers, on the way back to Irtkusk. Landscapes were awesome. Lonely cow on the side of the road, yacks even, old trucks from the USSR Times (or from Mad Max, I still wonder)…



In addition to the foreigners, two local ladies were chatting and chatting next to me.

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I would like to share more details but I’m really very tired. So I’ll just share two additional pictures from the market, where we have bought some supplies for the train we take tomorrow our new direction : Ulan Ude…

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D19 – Sept 19 – North Cape

Chrystele had to shake me like a plum on a tree, as I didn’t want to get out of bed.

And… Finally… I did it!!!!!!!!!! I had a shower!!!!!!!!!!!
The weather was so-so but we went for an excursion to the North Cape.



We ended the day in a gloomy bar – actually the only one still open in the low season – were e met a couple of local ladies who were dancing like crazy. Around the table:
Two Korean girls who had already a five days break;
A German guy who was born in Tchekoslovakia and learnt Russian in the sixties with an old Lithuanian lady;
A French banker who had quit is job for a four months trip and when he is back he plans to become an interior designer;
A Swiss nurse who will also travel for a while before returning to her job in Zurich;
Wendy, a girl from Leeds. She also quit her job and doesn’t know when she wants to be back to the UK. She told me she was given her first name in reference to Peter Pan. Let’s hope she will find the Imaginary World…

D17 – Sept 17 – On our way to the Baikal Lake

The Baikal Lake is a top destination for Russians. In the middle of it, an amazing wild island called Olkhon. We are on our way…

From Irkutsk, We had to take a minibus to the shore, then a boat, then a bus again.
An interesting road, were you could feel the proximity with Mongolia. Same trucks, horse riders, never-ending land and sky, it reminded me Arkhangaï very much
(see http://www.stephanienedjar.com/html/Violons.htm)




Called Dalaï-Nor by the Mongols – meaning « Holy Sea » – called Baï-Khaï by the Yakoutes – which stands for « Wealthy Sea » because of fishes – the Baikal is more than a sea to all the Siberian populations. It is unique and sacred.
More prosaically, it is the biggest unsalted water tank of the world, 23 000km3, 1/5 of the planet’s reserve. 1737 meters deep, it is like a reversed mountain. And the water is sometimes so transparent that you can get vertigo, as you never see the end of it.
At least but not last, it is now part of the “Unesco heritage” – People who have already travelled with me know how impressed I am by that label 😉



We had a quick lunch here, when waiting for the boat. Not to bad, is it?

11 video