Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 25 2002

Getting up this morning felt absolutely horrid. I …

Getting up this morning felt absolutely horrid. I stumbled downstairs and into Mr. Wu’s blue Saab 9-3 at 8am, and we picked up breakfast and another passenger before heading out to Taoyuan. On the way Mr. Wu talked on his cell phone, trying along with his companion to get instructions to the studios as I sat in the back seat scalding my mouth with hot dou-jiang and egg-cakes doused in soy sauce.

The studios, Mr. Wu boasted, were the second largest in Asia, after some place in mainland China, but they didn’t seem that large to me. They consisted simply of a series of gray warehouses between a ridge and the road. Some of the other people to be filmed showed up and chatted with each other, but I was too tired, so I fell asleep on the couch in the make-up room while everyone else fawned over some bigshot who apparently had a hard time dressing himself as he was wearing about 27 different colors, none of which went together. He seemed exceedingly happy about everything, sort of like the bad guy in the third Huang Feihong movie, “Yao Tian-ba” or whatever his name was.

I got a decent amount of rest before it was my turn to be led to the small booth they had set up in the warehouse for filming. I sat down, got made up and tested for sound, and then the interviewer asked me several routine questions about Tai-chi, which styles, how long, what I thought about it, etc. It was over very quickly, and I hitched a ride back to Taipei with a dentist and his family. I regaled them with tales of the orthodontic terrorist acts commited upon me as a child, and they dumped me in front of my apartment building at 12 o’clock sharp.

Mindcrime was supposed to be coming up, but I wanted to take another look at the room I was interested in up the road, so I called ahead before walking up to see it in the daytime. It was still nice, but seemed a bit dirtier in the daylight somehow. The landlords were there this time, and we chatted a bit. I tried to get them to come down on the price, but they wouldn’t budge. They also wanted three months’ rent, a total of NT$45,000, were dubious about me having a cat (“they stink, you know,” they told me), but said I could have my residency there. They seemed fairly nice, honest people. I told them I would think about it and departed. I had just about made up my mind to move in at that point, but when I got downstairs, I noticed a bunch of workmen getting ready to tear out the trees lining the road there. I asked one of them what was going on and he said that they were going to be putting in a new MRT line down the road. This means, of course, that after they begin construction at the end of this year, that that road will be fucked up for a good five or six years. Large yellow machines, dust, noise….I don’t think so. Not for NT15,000 a month, anyway. Looks like I’m back to square one.

Just then Mindcrime called and said he had fallen asleep and wouldn’t be coming up after all, so I called up Maoman and invited myself over to his neck of the woods. I wanted to see his palatial residence for myself. He lives just a few minutes’ walk from the Wanlung MRT station, in a large rooftop apartment, with his girlfriend Vanessa, two cats and a golden lab puppy. It’s quite a nice setup. I hope I can find a place like that somewhere near the mountains like that. We walked around the neighborhood and up the side of the mountain where a large landslide had taken place a while ago. They were building a series of drainage waterways that looked like a miniature version of the Panama Canal up the mountainside. We stopped at a small, makeshift temple and asked the old woman about apartments in the area. She said she’d keep an eye out, and even did some fortune-telling for me. It was good to practice my Taiwanese with her, but she kept trying to get Vanessa to translate. It seemed to make the old woman happy, so I just let her translate, even if I understood most of what the fortune-teller was saying.

The mosquitoes were coming out and it was getting dark, so we went back and then took a cab over to a nice Thai restaurant on Dingzhou St called, appropriately enough, “Nice Thai Restaurant”. The food was good but the service a bit strange. They kept trying to rush us, which was a little irritating. Perhaps they have had bad experiences before with foreigners coming in and refusing to leave for weeks at a time, camping out with tents and demanding cute little desserts featuring coconut shavings at odd hours.

Maoman and Vanessa were heading out for a gathering at 99 later, but 99 is just not my scene, so I decided to come back home and get some rest. Mindcrime might still be coming up tomorrow, brunch could theoretically be had, and who knows what other facinating things will happen? I sure as hell don’t.

posted by Poagao at 4:37 pm  

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