Saturday, July 24, 2010

Do you need a receipt?

I keep forgetting if I've been back in Taiwan for one week or two since Thailand. That's how blurry everything is. (It's been two by the way.)

There is just so much going on.

I told all my classes this week that I'm leaving. I've been reading my Southeast Asia on a Shoestring book like crazy. I actually read the entire Cambodia chapter and most of the Laos chapter. 

My first cooking camp is over. I loved it and hated it all at the same time. And I get to do it all over again next week. Yay!

I finally broke down and went to buy new luggage today. 

I came to Taiwan with a duffel bag, an over-sized duffel bag and my mom's medium (22'') stand-up luggage. 

The small duffel ain't gonna cut it. The over-sized duffel is large but not large enough, not to mention it mysteriously turned up with massive holes in the bottom rendering it useless. The stand-up luggage has also seen better days. It's what I used to move the majority of my stuff to Joslyn and David's apartment, but it's missing a foot and so it doesn't exactly stand-up anymore, which was really the only redeeming feature it had left. 

I'll be leaving with a 29" stand-up luggage (with the 360° turn feature), a 40-liter backpack and a purse. There is the possibility that I'll need a small box for extra random stuff (breakables?), but I won't know until I get my new luggage home so I can start filling it up.

Why isn't my new luggage home? That's a good question.

I went to Carrefour to check out the prices on luggage after I got off work tonight. I found a 29" bag that was only $3,660 NTD (a little more than $110 USD) which I thought was not to shabby but I wanted to go have a look at another place that is actually out in the "mall" area of Carrefour. 

Turns out they had a bag that was essentially the same but it has a lock already on the bag. This bag was only $2,980 NTD (about $92 USD). Now I'm not one to go nuts about saving $18, but, hey, $18 can go a long way in SE Asia so I'll save what I can. Not to mention, this one has it's own lock!

So I said I would take it.

Then I looked in my wallet and saw that I only had $2,800 NTD plus some random change. I told the lady I would run home, grab the money and come right back.

I guess she thought that I wouldn't come back because she said, "If you don't need a receipt then I can sell it to you for what you have there." (In Chinese, of course, so at first her meaning was totally lost on me. After a little gesturing and deciphering I caught her drift.) 

Well, who am I to say no to saving yet another $5 USD? That's one and a half night's accommodation in Laos! I asked her if I would have any trouble leaving the store without the receipt (luggage doesn't exactly fit in a bag which usually deters suspicions of theft). She said I'd be fine, so I went for it.

Now, yes, I do realize that was a totally shady transaction, but I figure she probably knew what she was doing. I would have been more than happy to go home and get the other $200 NTD.

It wasn't until I got outside to my scooter that it hit me: How the hell am I going to get a 29" piece of luggage home on a scooter? I would have just taken a cab home, but I gave the woman my last bit of cash. 

At first, I thought I was in one hell of a pickle, but finally I decided on just taking it over to the dorm, so now it's sitting there waiting for me to pick it up. 

Joslyn and David have a car and said they don't mind helping me out, but worse comes to worse I'll just grab a cab. 

So, now I have a new $87 USD piece of luggage. I think I can manage to get all packed this week without too much hassle.

Tomorrow, Wulai with Leila and some others. Just like every other trip I've ever taken with Leila, it's supposed to rain. And just like all those times before, that will not deter us.

One last thing, I'm in the process of moving to my new blog. I've already imported all my posts from this one. I think the title will allow me to use that particular blog for a long, long time in a whole lot of places. 

You'll be able to find me over at Tales of a Traveling Texan. Be sure to add that your to blog reader, folks.  

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