i hate people who talk about their vacation plans incessantly. so if you're like me, you might want to skip this next entry, but read on if you're curious:

alex tells me sundays are when the harajuku girls and boys come out and play dress up. i'll keep that in mind. i also want to wake up before dawn and go see the tsukiji fish market, where fishermen haul frozen fish the size of logs and auction them off. i minored in japanese during college, but unfortunately i've forgotten most of it, so i have to brush up on my nihongo the next few weeks.

i want to try betel nuts and hang out with the girls who sell them. although i'm afraid of heights, i want to go up the taipei 101, the new tallest building in the world (and the only "supertall" to be built on an active earthquake region).

the man mo temple in sheung wan district, to see suspended incense coils.

the islands of halong bay are similar to those in phuket (thailand) and guilin (china), but in the order of thousands. i might take the reunification train from hanoi to hué, about an 11 hour overnight journey, then take a bus or rent a motorcycle to danang and hoi an. the train trip from danang to ho chi minh city (saigon) takes 16 hours; if i have the money i just might take a plane (too much vietnam, i don't want to spend almost a whole day on a train). i want to try cha ca in saigon, i hear good things. the border crossing of moc bai takes me to cambodia.

a day (and maybe a night) in the capital of phnom penh before spending a week in siem reap visiting angkor. leaving via the poipet border crossing into thailand (a 5 hours bus ride to the crossing, another 5 hours bus ride to bangkok, if flights are cheap i'll take a plane).

i'm actually visiting thailand twice, southern thailand into laos and back out to northern thailand. bangkok to ayuthaya to pak chon to spend a few days at the khao yai national park: this place feels like the southeast asian version of costa rica's corcovado, with such exotics as wild elephants and tigers in the forest. did i mention leeches? from there i head to sukhothai, then phitsanulok, which is close to phu kradung national park, rich in tropical pitcher plants. through khon kaen i go north to the border crossing of nong khai into laos.

a brief stay at the capital of vientiane before traveling north via bus (10 hrs) to luang prabang. originally i wanted to take the slow boat to the border crossing of huay xai, but that takes 2 days on a crowded craft, and i think i'd probably go crazy. fortunately, there are flights from luang prabang to chiang mai so i think i just might splurge.

chiang mai to see the hill tribes, particularly a stop at mae hong son to see the padauang women. when it's time to leave, a flight to mandalay in burma.

mandalay to bagan to yangon then back to taipei.

why do people travel? this guy think it's one of 6 reasons (number one being sex) while here's a more scholarly article.

i went to star market to pick up some snacks and drinks and headed over to dan's place in the afternoon to watch the two football championship games. things were kind of casual at the supermarket (management must've stayed home) and there were signs that the employees were eating some of the food. there was hardly any traffic on the road, and the few pedestrians that were out were walking in the streets since most of the sidewalks were buried in snow. i traveled cautiously, making sure no cars were behind me, or let them pass if there were: it's not that they want to hit you, but when the roads are covered in snow, sometimes it's hard to stop. when i got to dan's place (slightly out of breath from the trek), i found him and cymara dressed in complementary green eagles t-shirt and jersey. dan showed me the view from outside his backyard, a 2+ feet tall snowdrift right up to his door. dan gave me some presents he'd bought in brazil, a carved wooden plank depicting a beach scene, and a cuica (brazilian friction drum) made from a coconut. we're going to start a cuica samba band.

the first game was between the philadelphia eagles and the atlanta falcons. i wasn't emotionally invested in either teams but i rooted for the eagles since that was who dan was rooting for. dan promised he wouldn't get crazy berserk this year if the eagles lost like he did last year, but just to be sure i brought my horse tranquilizers. eagles led throughout, but almost every point was hard-fought. watching with his tivo, dan would rewind plays and rewatch them. the game ended with the eagles winning, and the players dousing the head coach with a bucket of urine (or maybe it was yellow gatorade, it was hard to tell). dan celebrated by sharing some champagne (which tasted like light vinegar).

cymara had made dinner and i was invited to stay. we had some brazilian-style fish, some eggplants with tomato sauce, and some couscous.

we finished dinner just in time for the second game between the new england patriots and the pittsburg steelers. i of course rooted for the patriots and so did dan, but he only wanted the patriots so he could enjoy living in enemy territory as an eagles fan for the next two weeks prior to the superbowl. patriots scored first on their first possession and never lost the lead. the steelers kept on coming back, but the patriots always had an answer, made it look easy, even though the game was suspenseful all the way into the 4th quarter. i didn't hold back in my cheering and at one point i got so worked up with my clapping and screaming that i felt light-headed. unlike in the previous game, head coach belichick didn't get drenched with urine.

so the patriots are going to the superbowl, to battle the eagles. dan kept on telling how this was his dream matchup and we can't be friends anymore. i was just happy i didn't have to sedate him.

i left soon afterwards, didn't even wait for the AFL championship award presentation. the snow had stopped, but everything, everywhere, was still covered in the powdery white stuff including all the roads. somerville, cambridge, ghost towns, silhouettes of people walking in the streets, the occasional headlights of approaching cars. i used the underground tunnel, the steps a slippery slide that i had to use the handrails to lower myself down and up. it's beautiful, the blizzard of 2005, but i wonder how long the snow will stay.

i'm already starting to get sick of it.

i wandered around a little bit in the snow. all my neighbors were out shoveling, i've never seen so many of them at the same time before. the only traffic were the occasional plow trucks that rumble by. at some places the snow was up to my waist from the snow drifts. not only was it snowy, but it's also windy and cold. i got as far as mass ave before i returned home.

it's still snowing.

it's almost 3am and it's still snowing outside. i hear it's going to snow until 6pm tomorrow. there's already at least a foot of snow, with strong winds that cause snowdrifts. earlier i was outside getting a head start on shoveling the sidewalk. there's so much snow i don't know where to put it! it'll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow morning...