Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 17 2002

I met Dean and Kay at the Wanlung MRT station on S…

I met Dean and Kay at the Wanlung MRT station on Saturday afternoon. It was gray and cloudy, and the neighborhood looked rather depressing. A large foreign woman was standing on the corner of Roosevelt Rd. talking with some Chinese girls. “I get the feeling there’s a McDonalds around here somewhere,” Dean commented.

“That’s not very nice,” I started to say when I noticed that he was looking at an empty McDonalds cup on the street. “Oh, yeah. And Dominoes, too.”

I had seen Maoman’s place before, but at the time I wasn’t looking at it with the idea of actually living there myself. Perhaps it was the weather; perhaps it was the knowledge that I would have to purchase and install an entire air conditioning system, buy a fridge, and furnish the place myself, but for some reason it didn’t seem as nice as I had remembered. Dean and Kay decided that the 4th floor apartment wasn’t for them, which was disappointing as well. Still, it is quite large and located next to a nice hillside, close to the MRT, but for 15k I expect at least an elevator. Last night in the shower I tried to envision finishing a shower and going outside to get back into the house in the middle of winter. It wasn’t a pleasant thought. But as I was walking around at lunch today, I thought I should at least talk with the landlord, who is an old mainland guy, so I called him up.

“I’d like to ask about the apartment you have for rent,” I said by way of introduction. “I’m a friend of Maoman’s.” He answered in a thick, yet understandable mainlander accent.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t rent to Chinese people, only foreigners. Chinese people just make a mess when they cook, and foreigners tend to be more polite,” he told me. I said I understood, but maybe we should talk about it face-to-face? He finally agreed to meet me at a restaurant in Yonghe tonight after work. I figure I can only afford to move in there if I can get the price down to 12 or 13k at most. If not, then I’ll just keep looking. For some reason, I’m thinking of moving north more than south. I don’t know what the attraction of north is, except perhaps proximity to the sea. I could get a nice apartment for cheap in Tanshui, but the tradeoff would be an hour on the MRT every morning and every night, plus not being able to go out as much. Or maybe that’s a good thing; I have no idea. I’ve become accustomed to living in the middle of the city, and I probably take the convenience for granted. Then again, I feel it’s time for a change, and living in a more rural, healthy setting might be just the trick, especially if I want to write more. Less distraction, and all that.

After we got done looking around Maoman’s place, I took the MRT out to Nangang and met up with Kirk. We took a taxi out to the Dragonboat party at our friends Brett and Alan’s apartment. Now that is a nice apartment, split-level, high ceilings, back patio, etc. On our way into the complex, Kirk found a cat that had apparently locked out of its home, and we spent about half and hour wondering where it came from, whether we should ask someone about it, but then it left on its own accord. Cats are like that, I guess.

The party was nice, with the usual mix of good food, music and interesting conversation. Unfortunately, due to the drought, there was no water in the swimming pool, but we had a good time anyway. It’s amazing how Brett and Alan can pull these things off at every major holiday every year. It’s really cool of them.

Sunday afternoon I went out for brunch at Jake’s with Dean, and then we met up with Rowan and a few other people at G-down to take a look at doing a stage version of Casablanca. Rowan’s idea is to not have a seperate audience area, and just have the action going on amid the audience around the bar, sort of like being in a holodeck simulation for all of you Star Trek fans. We read through a bit, but didn’t get much else done. Nobody really knows who’s doing what yet. They might not even have a place for me, which is fine, of course; it’s up to them. I will be needing to work on my short films by that point in any case.

By the time we were done, it was pouring rain outside, in spite of the fact that I had worn my waterproof shoes. Perhaps the spell has been broken at last! I had a couple of hours to kill before Tai-chi practice, so I went to FNAC and left trails of drool all over their Imacs and DV cameras. Then I went to Toys Backwards ‘R’ Us and bought a Jango Fett action figure and some Play-doh. At least I thought it was Play-doh, as it came in the familiar yellow plastic cans with red tops, but when I looked more closely, I found that it was actually “Doh-Dough” (Slogan: “Multi-colour. Multi-fun!”), made in China and sold in Hong Kong. Oh, well. It’s still fun to play with. I see an upcoming battle in which Jango Fett allies with Office Turtle to fight Attar the Ape, who is wielding not only a santa-shaped lollipop, but also the Globular Glowing Goo from Hell. Film at eleven.

Ahem. Tai-chi practice was good, basic exercises designed to boost and focus energy. The teacher threw me against the wall so hard it gave me hiccups. I’m still trying to learn the concept and utilization of “Qi” for power rather than through brute muscle strain. Like learning to use the force, I guess. I know that sounds geeky, but I’ve seen it in practice, and it’s quite impressive.

Last night I got an email from one of the publishers I was considering, and it seems that they don’t want to publish a book that concentrates on military analysis and hard facts. Too dry. Of course, my book is nothing like that; it’s just an account of the interesting things that happened to me when I was in the army. Their loss. I’ll just go with the original publishers, then.

It’s rather quiet today at the office, since all the Vampires are off visiting their relatives’ crypts or something, and the blinds are open all the time now. My holiday begins on Wednesday, and Kirk and I might go kick around some of the islands to the southeast of Taiwan.

posted by Poagao at 7:09 am  

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