Category Archives: travel

Off to Banaue.

Don’t panic. =)

コンピューターを使う人は多くの流行語を用いるが、他の人が理解できるかどうかは怪しいものだ。 Computer users have so many buzzword, it’s wonder if anyone else can understand them.

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New York recommendations?

Happen to know of good doctors and dentists in New York? Hilary
Rowland’s moving to New York soon, and if anyone can recommend a
doctor or dentist they’re very happy with, that would be awesome.
Related recommendations welcome, too!

Random Japanese sentence: 私は猫を十三匹飼っている。 I keep thirteen cats.

I’ll be off to Boston tomorrow

I’m not quite sure how the next three days are going to play out, but
hey, it’ll be an interesting story for sure. I’ll try to check my mail
at least once, and I’m bringing my wifi card. I don’t know if roaming
will Just Work. We’ll see…

All set up

It’s interesting, flying without knowing exactly where you’re going to
end up. I hadn’t been able to get in touch with friends in Boston in
the days leading up to my departure, so I flew without any concrete
plans for accommodations. Meep!

I first headed to Hostelling International on 12 Hemenway St. They were fully booked, so they referred me to Oasis Guest House a short walk away. Oasis was a bit out of my starving-grad-student budget, though, at over USD 100 for a single room with a shared bath. The proprietor was kind enough to refer me to YMCA, and even let me use his phone for free. Awww!

So I’ve checked into the YMCA on 316 Huntington Ave (+1 617 536 7800).
The rates are still a bit ouch (USD 49 per night including taxes), but
I feel less guilty now about my research supervisor’s budget. I wish
I’d brought a swimsuit, as the facilities include a swimming pool, a
steam room and a sauna!

The library that I’m blogging from is a few blocks away. Northeastern University Library has free wireless and airconditioned comfort, and all you need is a photo ID. Sweet. They’re open until 11.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll find out whether I’m okay with staying at the Y
for another day and whether I can book another day there. It’s not a
bad place: no frills, but totally workable. (And they have towels and
soap, even! I should’ve brought my slippers.) If I can’t make that
work, then I may have to throw myself upon the mercy of IBMers and/or
the local tech scene and find a couch I can crash on tomorrow night.
;)

I’ll need to forage for food and plan my 2-3 minute spiel sometime
later tonight, but it’s nice to know that I’ve gotten that sorted out.
I need to also buy travel-sized toothpaste. (Darn you, airport security!)

But hey, we have a plan…

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The room

Simon Law reminds me that a camera is not essential, and that I can
draw pictures with my words. Here is the room I find myself in.

A single fluorescent tube lights the room. It sits above a small desk,
which is too high for me to type comfortably on if I use the provided
chair. I sit on the bed instead, over a light blue bedsheet secured by
crisp hospital corners to a bed that seems—if it is at all
possible—just a bit shorter than the twin-sized bed back in my dorm.

The cotton is rough against my skin. For a moment, I think of a friend
and her difficulties with bed bugs. Then again, even the best of
hotels are infested with them, so I do not worry too much about being
penny-wise and pound-foolish. I think positive thoughts and assume
there are none.

Both the blanket and the radiator are superfluous this summer night. A
large window admits the slightest hint of a breeze, along with the
sounds of Boston at night: the constant whir of airconditioners,
sirens trailing off into the distance, cars rumbling past. I can see
into the windows of the Northeastern University, and find myself not
particularly caring that they can see in, especially as I wouldn’t be
able to do much about it anyway. These roughly-painted wood and glass
windows have probably never bothered with luxuries such as curtains or
shades.

I am glad that I packed a light nightgown instead of a flannel one. I
regret forgetting to bring slippers. I hesitate for a moment before I
grit my teeth and tiptoe gingerly towards the communal bathroom. After
all, I survived other dormitory floors. While I’m at it, I also
fill a paper cup with water from the bathroom sink.

I think this just might be the most bare-bones place I’ve ever stayed
in. Well, except for the Internet cafe that I spent the night in one
time—yes, Internet cafes can sometimes come out cheaper than hostels,
particularly when in Japan. It’s doable, though, and doesn’t bother me
much.

Hostelling International will have room tomorrow, but that means
bringing my stuff to IBM, and I’ll have to call ahead to make sure I
get the spot. I think I’ll stay here another night if the room is
available. This might even work out better for now than, say,
couch-surfing—although I’m certainly looking forward to couch-surfing
next time around.

To bed. I’ll dream about my presentation and work out the details tomorrow.

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Travelling

Another thing to remember when I feel homesick – these words by
Nigerian novelist Ben Okri:

Travelling challenges you to change your provincial
perspective. Travel begins by altering your sense of the assumptions
that you make about the world.

From Jim Paredes‘ blog. Thanks to Jojo Paderes for posting the link to PLUG-Misc.

I feel very much ethnic and I don’t want to lose that, but I am also
discovering my global identity. =) Life is good.