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Third typhoon this month!

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:41

This weekend Taiwan is being hit by the third typhoon this month. While this is probably bad news for certain people (reportedly they snuck through just when the bridges were about to be closed), it's good news for many Taiwanese (and a handful of foreigners) with Monday syndrome: Tomorrow is a day off.

For me typhoons are tremendously more interesting than the Swiss autumn storms I'm used to. I enjoy going out to see which tea stores and restaurants remain open (quite a few) and take some pictures here and there. I'm still waiting for a flying cow but the following is an impressive start:

(I apologize for the lousy image quality. One of these days I'm going to get a new, waterproof camera that takes good pictures at night.)

More pictures in my gallery ...

Okinawa pictures

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:51

It's a long time ago and the memory of my last vacation has already faded, let alone the feeling of relaxation, but some three weeks after returning from Okinawa the photos are finally ready.

Okinawa is a relatively small island in the south of Japan and inhabited by a little more than 1.3 million people. Actually, the whole prefecture includes hundreds of little islands, the Ryukyu Islands, but we only visited the main one. We spent two days in Naha, the prefecture's capital, and southern area before heading up to the center and eastern part.

Some of the views are breathtaking and so is driving on the left side for the first time in your life. Apart from the occasional struggle with the GPS (strictly Japanese and only workable with the handbrake pulled - learn the hard way!) it went fine, though, and we enjoyed five relaxing days in the sun.

The pictures, complete with GPS coordinates, thanks to my trusted and always present "Easy Showily" GPS logger:

Okinawa (Days 1 and 2)
Okinawa (Days 3 to 5)

Patriotism Olympic style

posted by Martin Rubli at 17:28

It's funny how media love to turn things their way if it only makes their country look better.

Now that the 2008 Summer Olympics are over, let's look at the medal table in a German newspaper:

2008 Summer Olympics medal table, German style

And then the same thing in an American newspaper:

2008 Summer Olympics medal table, American style

Obviously this kind of statistics always leave room for interpretation, but this one seems to be a bit of a stretch. Let's see what speaks against the U.S. version:

  • The precious metal market: Please drop me an e-mail if you would like to trade your pound of gold for a pound of silver or bronze.

  • Every single Olympic athlete: "Who cares that I only got a bronze medal. Silver and gold are just the same; it's the sport that counts!"

  • The International Olympic Committee: Their (unofficial) medal counts are sorted by gold, silver, and bronze in that order.

  • The Rest of the world: Yes, it's true. Almost the rest of the world counts in the same way the IOC does.

Too bad China scored so well. I would have been dying to find out how their government can push a 2 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze result to first rank. :-)

Climbing the turtle

posted by Martin Rubli at 03:46

All good things come to an end. This is especially and unfortunately true for vacations.

If you think that vacations are relaxing then you should try coming back from one of my vacations. Hundreds of photos and dozens of GPS traces are waiting to be combined and put online.

Luckily, I finally found a working program that does this job quite well: Geotag. It loads pictures from different directories and multiple GPS tracks and with a little bit of magic you'll have coordinates in your pictures in no time. The result of this can be seen here:

Turtle Island album

Turtle Island (龜山島, Gui shan dao) is a small, uninhabited island on the west coast of Taiwan. Unfortunately it's still under military control and visiting involves going with a rather large tour group or a lot of paperwork (If you have the choice, go with the paperwork! :-), but it's worthwile in spite of that. See for yourself.

Oh, and pictures from Okinawa are coming up soon. At least some of them; turns out my camera is allergic to water. ;-)

Advertisement of the special kind

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:58

While buying some long-needed DIY accessories to get a network cable out of the way we saw some an amazing ad for garden furniture:

Also notice the woman relaxing in the furniture set behind him, playing with her cell phone. Possibly his girlfriend/wife? :-)

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