Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jul 03 2002

I had a craving for Hot Dog on A Stick today after…

I had a craving for Hot Dog on A Stick today after work, so I went and got a couple of corn dogs. Only, when I bit into them, I realized with a shock that they had gone and replaced the ordinary corn-dog material with sweet, soft Taiwanese dough. Gah. Last time I eat there. Their cherry lemonade is still good, though.

There seemed no need for an umbrella when I left; despite the scurrying black clouds, the blue sky was plainly visible as I entered the City Hall MRT station to go meet Maoman and Vanessa for the concert. By the time I followed a guy with wonderful calves up the stairs of the CKS Hall Station, however, the skies had opened up, and all I had was the little umbrella I always keep in my backpack. It was good enough to keep my upper half dry, but I was soaked from the thighs down by the time I reached the concert hall.

Maoman and Vanessa were waiting for me, looking surprisingly dry. We went and found our seats in the cavernous hall, which is decorated with huge swaths of rosewood and white marble. A gigantic pipe organ dominated the stage. The audience remembered to applaude when each and every person either came or went from the stage. That included the choir, the small orchestra, and the guys that moved the chairs around.

They also clapped between every movement. The theme of the evening was Baroque music, and while the choir did a bang-up job, the harpsichord player just sounded banged up. The string section couldn’t be bothered to tune properly, and the soloists were lackluster at best. There were glimpses of great music here and there, but if one listened too carefully, one was all too likely to be jerked back to the reality that these performers lacked the polish of professional players. Please.

Vanessa wasn’t feeling well, so we left at the intermission and caught a cab to Mykonos Cafe, to get some hot soup into us. The Christmas lights strung along the ceiling, added to the Greek music playing on the stereo, gave the place a nice, comfy feeling. We pigged out and chatted about film and travel, two of my favorite subjects, while rain gushed down outside. I called a number I had found on Oriented about a room available near the Ta-an MRT station, and after several tries finally got in touch with the current tennant, a French woman named Ann. We arranged to meet at the station at 10:30.

The room, it turns out, is a small apartment located in an old, old building, probably originally built by the government by the looks of it, many, many decades ago. Ann led me up the dark, wide, unkempt stairway to the 5th floor, where she lived. With the dimmness, the smells from the markets on the first couple of floors, the sounds of iron gates slamming shut, the general air of raw usage, of entire families living in cramped quarters, I could have been in Kowloon’s Chungking Mansions.

The apartment itself was well-kempt. Ann was obviously a clean person, and she had bought quite a lot of stuff for the place, mostly from Ikea. Here’s the way it’s laid out: You walk in the door and immediately on the right there’s the bathroom, complete with dirty-looking tub and iffy electric water heater. Then there’s a space, beyond which is the kitchen, old-fashioned but servicable. Keep going straight and you’ll be in the large bedroom/living room/whatever, the main part of the flat. There are two windows in one wall, with old, old non-see-through glass of the kind the Taiwanese know and love.

I liked it. I didn’t like the stair-climbing bit, and I didn’t like the rest of the building, but I liked the flat, I liked the location and just having a place to myself, and I liked the price. So I told Ann I would take it. She has yet to tell her landlord that she’s leaving, however, and she doesn’t know if said landlord will freak out and try to find someone else or not. We’ll see. I dread the move if things do work out so that I can live there, but I look forward to fixing the place up into a pad Greg Brady would be proud of.

posted by Poagao at 5:20 pm  

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