I was there!

SAIGON EXPRESS

SAIGON EXPRESS

He’s taking me on his motorbike to show me the city. I’m getting kicked in the face by Ho Chi Minh City. When I first arrive in a new country, there’s always at least a little bit of cultural shock. I’m trying to grab the meaning, the direction, the movement of lives, of people. It’s not as much of a surprise because I read about Vietnam. I’ve seen so many pictures and movies.
But right now, on Alessio’s motorcycle, that’s a whole different story: I’m experimenting Vietnam through a complex range of sensations.

WALAMI TRAIL – WATERFALLS AND SUSPENSION BRIDGES IN YUSHAN NATIONAL PARK

WALAMI TRAIL – WATERFALLS AND SUSPENSION BRIDGES IN YUSHAN NATIONAL PARK

There are several warning signs along the way about the Black Bears of Taiwan (as well as snakes, wasps, leeches and rock slides) and it’s starting to get on my nerves all those stories about deadly animals, to the point where I completely overreact and jump with fear at the sight of… a bird flying away. So long for my cold sweat followed by my laughter.

WHY YOU SHOULD START TALKING TO STRANGERS #6 - WORLD INN IN HUALIEN

WHY YOU SHOULD START TALKING TO STRANGERS #6 - WORLD INN IN HUALIEN

Like a family, we took care of each other. We cooked together after our shift. Emma used to help me to separate the white and the yolk to bake chocolate mousses. Vincent helped me getting train tickets out of the Family Mart’s vending machine where everything was written in Chinese. I used to go swimming with Emma at Our Beach. I used to sleep with Vincent at the 7/11 convenient store before watching some hot air balloons in Luye.

WHY YOU SHOULD START TALKING TO STRANGERS #5 - THIS WAS OUR BEACH

WHY YOU SHOULD START TALKING TO STRANGERS #5 - THIS WAS OUR BEACH

I still remember the first day we went to our beach. It used to be her beach, the spot Emma chose to go swimming almost every day, meeting fishermen sometimes. I was following her racing her bike, trying to memorize every turn and streets, and was a bit confusing when I first arrived. It’s not a sandy beach. It’s a rocky beach, not really a beach, with a lot of garbage from the Night Market. But there was something extremely extraordinary about having the chance to go swimming every day. Because that’s exactly how it felt: a chance. 

ONE MONTH IN TAIPEI

ONE MONTH IN TAIPEI

I lived in Taipei for a whole month, volunteering in a hostel, which allowed me to get free accommodation et enjoy my free afternoons discovering and taming this new country I chose to live for a whole year. It’s hard to talk about Taipei, to list everything there is to see or to experience because the city is so big that even a whole month wasn’t enough to do everything I planned to do. And as I also like to feel the vibe of a city, I also spent some afternoons hanging out in cafes and bookshops, or Geocaching around Shilin while feeding the mosquitoes with my French sweet blood.