How can Ramen be this Good?

We got thoroughly confused hunting for our airbnb apartment today in Kyoto.

We hunted for a while to find the building, then we got there, and the combo for the mailbox worked, but the lock box with the key was not inside. It was completely empty. Mekayla was already late, so after a quick pay phone call she left me to wait for someone to come let us in. It was occasionally also snowing.

After about half an hour of waiting – bouncing from the entrance to a spot in the driveway where the sun occasionally peaked though – I left our bags to walk a few doors down. I bought myself a hot latte (in a can) from a vending machine to warm up. Warm drinks from vending machines are awesome. I had a hot Canada Dry ginger ale the other day and it was sublime.

My can of latte kept me warm for another ten minutes. Then I stashed our bags around a corner and left to find a hot lunch. Japan does have an insanely low crime rate, and I took the electronics with me.

I was hungry, and immediately honed in on a noodle shop at the corner with sketchy pictures that claimed to have been rated the best ramen in 2012. This is usually the way bad lunches begin when traveling. Choosing the first place you come across is not a great idea, but, well, I was hungry.

So I went in. There were people! Japanese people who looked like they might know what they were doing eating here, so I sat down. Then the guy behind the bar came out, asked me something, and when I acted bewildered said something about “outside”.

I went out, figuring his menu didn’t have any English and he wanted me to point at what I wanted.

He didn’t follow me.

I figured out what I wanted.

He still seemed to have better things to do.

So I went inside and meekly waved, and then he pointed me at the machine next to the door. There’s a vending machine for ordering the food! Obviously!

Stick some money in, push a button with symbols corresponding to what is next to my picture, scratch my head at other options and figure I don’t really need a drink to go with soup, and pay. Then just take the ticket inside to place my order. Efficiency!

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This was probably the best bowl of ramen I had ever had: beef, an uncooked egg, great noodles, amazing spices. I left very happy, got back to the apartment building, and … still no key.

Another phone call, and oh, you’re there now, ok I’m on my way. Ringing bells, looking around, nothing. I opened the mailbox again, still empty. Hmmm, maybe this isn’t the right place, but the code works and we got directions to the street name. And it’s an 8th floor apartment, most buildings are much shorter than that. Except…

I walked a few buildings down to where my drink vending machine was, and found our host patiently waiting by the door.

Just because the code works doesn’t mean you are in the right place.

Chiang Mai Cooking Class

Not sure how much was due to the Ikea effect, but I think the best meal we had in Thailand was the one we cooked for ourselves. Gotta figure out how to get the right ingredients back home.

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Chiang Mai FC Football Game

In our quest to go to find local things to do in Thailand we ended up at a football (soccer) game. We bought mystery food outside of the stadium, bought two tickets for $1.75 each, and wandered in.

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We really had no idea where to go or where to sit so we followed the two guys ahead of us until we found someplace to sit. That seemed to work. No one kicked us out.

I don’t know if you can see it on those tickets, but the Chiang Mai Tigers were playing what appears to be the White Squirrels. I never thought a squirrel would be a good team mascot. Turns out squirrels are more exciting here than back home. An Aussie we were having lunch with the other day shouted “squirrel” and pointed one out. Seemed pretty odd. Maybe it was just an odd Aussie. Anyway, that’s my squirrel story. I didn’t expect to have a Thailand squirrel story.

The game was fun. We finally figured out how to get back home to and were serenaded on the way by a drunk German and (another) Aussie who were rapping about Chiang Mai’s team playing poorly.

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I leave you with the way I finished my evening: with a pineapple and mystery fruit shake. It was amazing.

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It was a great volleyball block, but…

Wow that guy hit the ball hard.

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That’s my 4th metacarpal with an oblique fracture. The ball must have driven my finger down in to my hand. Doesn’t really hurt much anymore, but it is rather annoying.

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That’s the current splint. With any luck the cast I get later this week will be less bulky. Typing sucks. Probably need to get used to this for the next 4-6 weeks.

OK, back to work.

Snowshoeing Christmas Eve and Day

Mekayla and I went snowshoeing with my cousin while she was in town for the holidays. Really wet the first day, but really sunny today.

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What have we been up to?

Seems like weeks disappear around here pretty fast. One day you’re importing and rebuilding your blog. The next YEAR you’re actually writing a post for it. 🙂

Funny how easy it is when you’re a programmer to spend all your time coding for your site rather than actually writing anything. For those who don’t know, about 15 months ago I started working for Automattic so I spend most of my days working on WordPress.com. In practice what this means is that my own WordPress site is never good enough. But it’s getting better.

Beyond work though we have been doing a pretty good job of getting out enjoying Colorado. Let’s take a little hiking tour:

Check out the whole year in pictures.