The backpack was 10 kg, I don’t work-out, it’s too much for me. But I can’t leave these love behind, I reluctant to give away clothes I brought from Taiwan. Some souvenirs I bought on the way. Some tuffs I put in my backpack I hang it out, someone said I’m more and more like a tramp. Only people who yearn for the past get more burden.
The only thing I regret on the travel is I didn’t bring souvenirs that present Taiwan or myself. Pineapple cake, candied fruit or cookies. I thought I want to be free. It became to be worried in all travel, what I can offer to people? When I meet some people who are lazy to cook, I tried to make Taiwanese food. Like tomato egg soup, fried carrot with egg, pickled cucumber, fried rice. You ask me these dishes are present Taiwan? It’s not that easy. Except for meat, some area is lack of vegetables, I could only found onion, cucumber, eggs and tomato. It’s even rare to find green leaves like cabbage. The most convenient to bring for long-term travel should be tea leaves. People around the world drink tea, especially businessmen traded tea on the ancient silk road. Taiwanese’s favourite milk tea is not common at all. When I stayed with Irani’s family, they had milk and black tea, but they have never ever mixed tea and milk before! I googled milk tea recipe, then cooked for them, I told them this is Taiwanese’s favourite drink.
Sometimes we played games with kids. After games, they always asked for some gifts or pen or paper. I traveled with 2 Muji pens, a blue pen and an automatic pencil. Each of them costs at least 5 dollars. I had had to take out my own designed stickers, wrote down their names one by one, they were so happy. This doesn’t work on grownups. We always have some left of banknotes or coins from different countries. In the end, we could only give some money we collected, people surprisingly accept it. I remember one time we got a ride from Xin Jiang polices. We gave a Ukraine banknote as a feedback. They were all happy to take photos with it. I told them “In Taiwan, we have also our own currency." “Right, right, right. We also have Xin Jiang currency, let me find it!" I thought probably they have money of East Turkestan, what I read on Wiki. East Turkestan starting in the 20th century, Uyghur separatists and their supporters used East Turkestan (or “Uyghurstan") as an appellation for the whole of Xinjiang, or for a future independent state. I was surprised and asked to take a look. Then two polices took out RMB with Mao on it. Somehow, I got two banknotes for free, even I didn’t expect to collect it.
Play hard with kids definitely a good feedback in the trip. When we face to adult, answer each of their questions to meet their own curiosity, some people can practice English, some people can know what happened in other countries, a sincere exchange is important, but next time I will seriously bring Taiwan high mountain tea out.
I got lots of gifts on the road, here are gifts I put in my backpack and traveled a thousand miles, some of them I gave it away.
Chinese decoration with 3 bells: From an Indian-Malaysian friend, AJ, he came to Beijing attend to a wedding. The size is similar to rice dumpling. It became a tool for camping to prevent strangers take away our stuff.
Green and white Kyrgyz yurt shape box: Our second couch-surfing host in Kyrgyzstan gave us. I got it in the car. I was worried about it might occupy too much space in my bag, then I put more gifts in this box. I asked him, what’s the meaning of the symbol on Kyrgyz flag? He said, When you look at the roof in the yurts, there is double cross, this is the symbol.
Golden clip large earrings & 2 cubes of perfume: A Turkish mom at the beach invited us to her home to stay one night. Next day before we leave, she took me to a table and took out some stuff for me, underwears, 2 cubes of perfume, earrings. Why did she give me underwears? (probably she found out…) and two sandwiches.
Spinner: When I was in a truck in Turkey, I saw this spinner with a different shape that I’ve never seen before, I wanted to play it, then, the truck driver said: “You can take it with you."
Cheese balls in a plastic bag: Local product in Kyrgyzstan. They make milk into a sphere shape, it tastes very salty and strong cheesy. I couldn’t eat it in short time. It’s from a man who picked up us.
Golden bracelet: I had really fun with a group of kids at Pamir, they didn’t want us to leave, they asked to exchange gifts. The next day 2 girls brought us a bag of cherry, a bracelet, a made-in-China towel, I only gave them stickers and chocolate, I also gave a pair of earrings which I bought in Japan, but I didn’t use it this whole trip.
Photo: A host in Iran, he said he likes to exchange gifts with couchsurfers, especially foreign currency. I gave him a Taiwanese coin and other coins, then he let me picked one photo. I think only in the Islamic world, female wear hair scarf and long sleeve walk into the sea.
Shoes and 2 scarfs: Ali’s mom took me as a daughter I think. She saw me wearing a scarf with creases and discoloration, actually I bought it only because of it’s cheap in a second-hand shop in Kyrgyzstan. She asked me maybe I want to try something different, I said yes, then she took out 2 scarves. The red one really suits me. I thought I will wear it during my stay, can’t believe she gave it to me, and a pair of cleaned used shoes. I really hope this is not Taarof! In the last day, she showed me one blue ceramics teapot, she wanted to give it to me. This is so interesting! Of course, I rejected her “No, Thanks."
There’s one sitar accessories, some warm clothes, lots of food and water, and those families who offer us a ride, a stay, and shower.