Credit Card Bills for October 2008 – Woops!

Well, it is true,… all good things must come to an end, and just as I ended the summer in Hyde Park in London, then came back to Taiwan… so the last of my summer trip bills are coming due. And the total damage isn’t pretty. So here goes…

The bill can be divided into three sections: vacation spending, online expenses, and regular bills.

Vacation Spending

I stayed at a little guest house near Toll Bridge in Southern Scotland; then I stayed at the Hanover Hotel in Edinburgh, Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen, and finally in Imperial College London. The total damage for each of these places was NT$18,418. Each of the locations was notable for something; but the highlight had to be staying in Imperial College London, which was located so close to Hyde Park, Harrods and the price was amazing. I found at least two of these places courtesy of

I also bought a few other items over that period including: a router for Mother which I couldn’t really install properly – NT$1984; a pair of shoes from Marks&Spencer in Inverness – NT$1762; gasoline (wow! That was expensive) – NT$2900; Internet – NT$599 from T Mobile; a cup of coffee at Hong Kong International Airport at 9am on the way back… I couldn’t find any money in a currency I could pay with (no reminbi, US$, HK$ or S$…) so I paid by credit card – NT$165. Grand Total: NT$7410.

Regular Bills

We also paid our life insurance term – NT$2000; a mobile phone bill – NT$1970; and a trip to Carrefour for shopping – NT$585. Total NT$4555.

Online Spending

Curiously there was some online spending too. I paid for writers to produce some work for this site, and for an upcoming Dow Jones website which cost about NT$2199. I also paid NT$95 for Google Advertising. Total NT$2294.

There were also several credits to my account of about NT$155 and for some reason, I wasn’t charged any interest on the outstanding NT$444 that I didn’t pay off last month by mistake.

I also purchased several things on my secondary credit card including renting a car from Hertz and purchasing airline tickets courtesy of BMI both of which were quite expensive… but BMI was well worth the cost as I was able to buy return tickets from London to Edinburgh for about NT$6766. The Hertz Rental car was easy drive (if French!) and I rented it for about 9 days, so the total was NT$25,168 for that.

Total Cost of the Holiday Trip

I can now calculate the cost of my trip:

Airline Tickets: NT$50,766
Car Rental: NT$25,168
Hotels: NT$18,418
Expenses from September: NT$16,438
Cash: NT$31350 (est. because of fluctuating exchange rates).

So the total cost of my trip was NT$145,000. Wow! I had hoped to keep it under control, too. Perhaps the biggest expense was the car rental because of the cost of gasoline. Overall it cost about 1/3 of the total expense.

I was privileged to be able to stay with family and friends around the UK, so whenever possible, I would treat them to meals in restaurants as a way to say ‘thank you’. It’s also a much more relaxed way to visit friends and family! It also helped to cut the cost of travel.

While I feel sad that I had to dip so much into our family’s savings to do this, it was necessary because I hadn’t seen family for three years. They live in the north of Scotland, making additional travel expensive, inconvenient and tiring. It was well worth the expense, and I thoroughly benefited from the trip. I’m so glad to reconnect with people, so it was WELL worth the expense.

Now that I’ve established how much it cost to visit the UK, it has me wondering if there are any ways to defray such costs by finding ways to make money while traveling. Could this be the subject of another post?

Don’t forget to subscribe to the feed for this blog! Click here…

Vivid Skies: Sunday Trips in Northern Taiwan

Today’s trip was the result of a fortunate coincidence: great weather with clear skies, good company and something to celebrate. We started off at the Taipei University of the Arts where we had a big nosh up replete with steak, salad, cheesecake, etc.. After lunch, we wandered around the campus and enjoyed the lovely views over Taipei City.


This picture looks down across the fields of Guandu towards the city center. In the distance, partly obscured by the clouds are the southern suburbs of Taipei, and the mountains.


Looking out over the sea towards the setting sun, we were amazed by the richness of the colors: blacks, golds, silvers, and oranges all presented very vividly.


The new tourist point! It’s well-trafficked by couples taking wedding pictures!


A view of Fugue Harbor and Fishing Port from the new tourist point.


And there’s a great little cheesecake shop that just opened there… It’s called SanChih’s Little Pigs and is named after the story of the Three Pigs (a play on the name of the town!)


This was wonderful cheese: Rum and raising Cheesecake. I’d have loved to show you the cheesecake, but it was so good we scarfed the lot down… So all I have is evidence of sins past. If you like, check out the website for the restaurant and see what we ate!



cinnamon cheesecake

Both delicious! I can only find a map to the original store, but if you keep driving along the No. 2 coastal highway towards JingShan, you’ll pass the store about 5~7 minutes past BaiShaWan.


Right at the end of our trip, we met up with a photographer called Ernest. He spends most of time traveling around the island taking photographs of the beautiful environment that Taiwan has to offer. And his blog is linked to in the image below. I couldn’t find his gallery, though. So click through the blog entries to see some of his art work.


And that was our Sunday! We had a great time! How did you spend your Sunday?

Missing in Action: The following keys from my keyboard; V, A, C, A, T, I, O, N

(ed. Backed date post to January 29th. Written February 2nd.)

This is more of a personal post: I haven’t posted for the past few days, and I bet some of you are wondering why… Ok. I have to tell the truth: It’s hard but I can do it. I think.

These past four days: I’ve been looking for seven keys from my computer keyboard. They vanished one night while I was sleeping. There was no evidence of a break-in or anything.

I’ve searched high and low for them, but they didn’t show up at home or school. The missing keys are: A A C I N O T V. So I spent the last five days travelling the island of Taiwan in search of them. I mean, really you can’t type much without these keys.

Yu rell * ype muh whu hem. Translated: You really can’t type much without them.

I’ll be bringing you upto date shortly on what happened to these keys, and where they were located, and how I found them. You’ll be glad to know that I’m typing normally in this message, as I found them ALL.