Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 12 2002

A call from Chen Ye-hui woke me up from the first …

A call from Chen Ye-hui woke me up from the first uncovered-eye sleep I’ve had since The Zapping this morning. He came over and gave me a nice back massage. He knows how to do that kind of thing from being a doctor in Hong Kong. Unfortunately he left his needles behind this time.

As I walked back from taking Ye-hui to the MRT station, I got a call from Graham. He wanted to go up to Yangmingshan today, as the weather was so nice. At first I said no, since I wanted to work on my book, but he cajoled me into agreeing to meet him at his place. I filled up my motorcycle, dusty after a month without riding it, and rode on over. It was good to be out riding again.

Graham had borrowed a motorcycle, a 150cc Kwangyang “Custom”, from one of his coworkers, and we proceeded up the mountain road, stopping briefly at the visitor’s center to inquire as to just where we might find a drink machine and cows. Graham wanted to see cows, just because one doesn’t usually see cows in Taipei. We were directed to Qingtiangang, up the mountain and around another. It got really cold, and Graham’s motorcycle stalled a couple of times before we got to the carpark where the path that supposedly led to the cows began. It was paved with roughly hewn stones. About half an hour into the hike we came across some cows grazing on a hillside. It was 5:30 by the time we reached Qingtiangang, which is a grassy hillside meadow with a nice view of Yangmingshan and the Tamshui River down below. I laid down and took in the scenery while Graham tried to figure out how to turn off the flash on his camera.

On the way back we saw a sign reading “This way to the Waterfall”, so we followed it down and down, through a valley. It was getting dark, but the sound of the waterfall seemed near, so we kept going. And going. We met a few people going the opposite direction, and Graham’s map seemed to indicate the the path would lead us back to the road, which was at least lit.

But it was not to be. We did find the waterfall, but by that time it was too dark to see much of it. We snapped a couple of pictures in vain anyway, and then continued on. The path, however, had other plans. It ended in a wash of mud that was clearly too dangerous to negotiate at night, and it was already night, and the path back was unlit as well.

We had no choice, so we turned back up. It was rough going, and Graham didn’t help matters by commenting that he heard the sound of “something very big and slithery” in the grass next to the path. Hiking uphill in the dark was twice as slow and arduous as coming down in the light had been. I could have sworn that I saw a couple of animals on the side of the path, watching us as we walked past. In the end I had to use the keychain light that Dean brought back from Canada to see where we were going.

Our motorcycles were wet with condensation by the time we huffed into the carpark, and we had a few harrowing moments when Graham’s bike refused to start, but eventually we were on our way down the mountain and back to the 70’s Love Palace, where we share a pizza with Jaime and watched a documentary about the infamous “Tri-state Tornado” of 1925 while Evil Cat, who is staying at the Love Palace while Dean is in the Philippines, tried to catch fish from the fishtank. Graham had his camera all ready for when Evil Cat fell into the tank, but it didn’t happen. Not this time, anyway.

Tomorrow I will work on my book proposal. Or go to a sauna and soak my sore legs, depending on how I feel. Probably the sauna, or hot springs.

I’ve written almost 150,000 words in this journal so far. Twice as many as are in my book. Damn.

posted by Poagao at 4:44 pm  

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