Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 09 2002

I got on a brand-new train this afternoon at Taipe…

I got on a brand-new train this afternoon at Taipei main station. It was spotless, mostly empty and headed for Keelung. I sat and munched on some Tim Tams that I had just procured at the station’s 7-Eleven while the scenery flashed by, but a strange noise from the seat behind me began to arouse my curiosity. It was a sort of swishing noise, the kind resulting from fast movement when one is wearing a certain kind of fabric. The swishing became more and more animated, and soon began to incorporate a slapping noise. I wondered if someone was having an epileptic fit, so I turned around to see, only to find two deaf people pausing in the middle of their animated sign-language conversation to stare back at me. Oops.

Right before we hit downtown Keelung, the train passed through a neighborhood. When I say passed through, I mean right through. The glass of the window was perhaps an inch away from various walls, porches and other parts of people’s houses. The track was tilted on a curve, but the engineer obviously felt that the curve should be taken very slowly, so we inched along, the cars tilting dangerously in the wrong direction. At one point we stopped altogether, and I was suddenly staring at a family taking their meal in their living room, which the train passed perilously close to. I motioned them to go on eating, and that we wouldn’t be long.

I took a cab from the train station out to the Ocean University and then trudged up to the top of the hill, where Paul my tall British friend and fellow thespian from “A Man for All Seasons”, lives with his wife. Both of them work at the university. They bought the house six years ago, and let me tell you it is a wonder. Ocean waves are visible crashing against the barrier on one side and Keelung Harbor lies to the other. The interior is comfortable and homey. They’ve worked hard to make the building, a former radio transmission station (Paul wanted to keep the huge antenna but had to discard it for safety reasons), into a livable home. Now they’ve got a friendly dog, two cats and a plethora of frogs in their garden to keep them company. It seems a nice existance up there. Moving in must have been a nightmare, but it looks like the hard work is really paying off. Paul plans to open up his production house up there in the future as well.

Later in the evening, Paul put on a bit of his upcoming animated feature, a sort of cross between South Park and Shakespeare, and we also watched his short called “Goodbye Kitty”, which I am proud to say I had a hand in thinking up when we were backstage at the play. The food was excellent and refreshing, and although I tend to get a bit antsy when there’s too many people around, a good time was still had by all.

I took the electric train back to Taipei with Jacques, one of the translators at the newspaper where I used to work, and a French guy named Dennis. Dennis promptly fell asleep on the train, but Jacques and I talked about literature the whole way back. He knows a fellow who is into publishing and might be able to help me with my book.

When we pulled into the underground station at Taipei, a horde of travellers pushed onto the train before anyone could get off. Jacques and I fought our way through the crowd, earning a few dirty looks for our impertinance. One kid with anime-esque hair and what looked like goth make-up seemed to want to get off the train and kick my ass, but I guess he valued his schedule more than revenge.

My friend from Hong Kong, Chen Ye-hui, is going to be in town for the holidays. He is a therapist and has a little Chinese acupuncture shop in Sheungwan, and he’ll be visiting relatives here for new year’s. I met him when he was working at the hospital I stayed at for two months after I had a knee operation several years ago. That is an experience I’d rather forget, but Ye-hui is a nice guy and it will be nice seeing him again.

posted by Poagao at 4:10 pm  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment