Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 25 2001

On the way to work this morning, I saw a white gar…

On the way to work this morning, I saw a white garbage truck, with the phrase “We clean up Taipei” written in English on the side. The city garbage trucks here are big yellow things, though. Is this a rogue garbage truck? Does this have anything to do with recent sightings of policemen actually pulling people over for breaking traffic laws? Dean said that this is one of the signs of the apocalypse, while Carl tells me I must have been “on an exceedingly bad trip.”

Steve, Irene and I are going to climb Kuanyin mountain tomorrow. Well, half of it, anyway. We plan to take a bus up the first half. I’ve never been up it, even though it is a familar part of the Taipei skyline, with ridges at the top that, viewed from a certain angle, look like the profile of the goddess Kuan-yin. I hope it’s not too strenuous, because my stomach is still not feeling entirely better.

Henrik called me today at work, quite out of the blue. He’s been all over the world while I sat at the same cubicle for almost nine months. Makes me wonder…I know several foreigners who spent all their time in Taiwan complaining about it, and yet they always tend to come back after leaving for a while. Henrik isn’t like that, but it just occurred to me as I spoke with him. I had lunch with some foreign friends in the Zone today. “The Zone” is what they call the area near Minchuan and Zhongshan Roads. The full name is “The Combat Zone”, but most people call it “The Zone.” It used to be where all the US servicemen went to drink, carouse, etc., but now it is where all the expatriate businessmen go to get drunk and oogle the Chinese waitresses. It’s like a foreign ghetto in that way, a little pocket of foreigness in the middle of Taipei. I had lived here for many years before I experienced it myself, and it was quite a shock. Going there always makes me a little uncomfortable, as if this place shouldn’t exist, but it does. Lots of “Old China Hands” hang out there…there were some there today, guys who have been in Taiwan since before I was born, and yet many of whom never even bothered to learn Chinese. That bothers me, but I am not sure whether it is because I did bother to learn it and feel everyone should, or because I can’t imagine living in a country for so long and not even trying to learn the language, customs, etc…instead just hiding out in the office by day and the Zone by night. A part of me feels that these people are just being superior, but in the back of my mind I kind of pity them.

Or maybe that’s just me being superior.

posted by Poagao at 2:51 pm  

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