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Taiwan is awesome.

You want mountains? Check out these mountains.




You want coasts? Check out these coasts.



You want flowers? Check out these flowers.




You want pagodas? Check out this pagoda right here.


You want birds that stick their heads out from their cages because they want to bite your finger cause your finger looks like a fat worm? I gotchu right here.



You want sinful desserts that comprise a frankly ungodly amount of cotton candy atop a normal amount of waffles and ice cream? Look no further.


You want hot girls and hot guys? I got your hot girl right here. For the hot guy, please scroll back up to @Celt Z's post.


(Bonus: The hot girl just noticed that a wave is about to engulf our shins.)

So yeah, my wife and I took a trip to the east coast of Taiwan with her parents this past weekend.
Also, side note, I've mentioned before that my wife has an older sister who lives with her parents, and this sister absolutely hates getting left out of things. She couldn't come with us on this trip because she had to work. So instead of saying that we're going on a two-day vacation to the east coast of Taiwan, my wife and her parents told her sister that my wife needs to attend a lecture at a university there, so my wife's parents were driving her over to the university, while I was tagging along because I had some PTO I needed to use up. So don't worry, sister-in-law, you're not missing a fun outing, you're just missing a boring lecture!

Now, I used to be a compulsive liar in my youth. This meant that I developed, from a very young age, the ability to examine a fib I'd told and come up with corroborating details or answers to follow-up questions that people might ask. So I put this skill to use throughout our trip. Where did we stay overnight? How did we end up staying there? What did we have for dinner? For breakfast? What university was the lecture at? What did I, and my parents-in-law, do while my wife was sitting in the lecture? Did we wander around the university campus for three hours? Are there any interesting things on campus? A quick Google search shows that the campus has a nice lake, but the weather's rather hot so it's implausible that we walked around the lake for three hours. There's a cafe on campus near the lake, with some nice views of the water, did we head to the cafe and enjoy some drinks there while we waited? What did we drink?

I've always made it a point of personal pride to be 100% honest with my wife at all times, and she knows this, so this was the first time she's witnessed me crafting a full-blown tall tale out of one small lie in the 20 years she's known me. And, believe me, she was REALLY freaked out.

Also apparently my wife's sister didn't ask any questions anyway, so this whole thing basically ended up as a fun mental exercise for me and not much more.
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My girlfriend and I went on a trip to the Gold Rush area again, specifically the cities of Columbia and Sonora.

Columbia has a small state park that is a preserved city street from the Gold Rush time period:
Dave & Precious Columbia.jpg

Columbia Street.jpg

Sonora is the town we stayed at, which has many buildings still standing from that era:
Sonora Inn.jpg

Sonora Street.jpg

We learned during this trip that when the miners ran out of gold in the surrounding mines, they actually started digging tunnels right below their towns trying to find more.
This stairwell leads to one of those tunnels right below the store we were perusing in Sonora:
Sonora Mine.jpg
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Our youngest has informed me that everything I say, do and wear is embarrassing and has forbidden it.
My wife got that today too. Our dog is wearing a bee outfit, and she’s wearing a honey pot. This morning my son said to her “You won’t be walking by me when we’re trick or treating are you.”

He will be getting lots of hugs tonight.
Two months ago, I went on my first vacation abroad in +- 5 years, and also the first vacation abroad where I was all by myself. I went to San Sebastian (Basque Country, Spain) for about a week, with a day of Bilbao tacked on coz it was easier to fly back. The weather was great, the sights were cool, but the food was amazing. Have some pics.