Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jul 08 2002

I met up with Dean, Shirzi and Gavin at My Other P…

I met up with Dean, Shirzi and Gavin at My Other Place, where I had a surprisingly decent Mexican Chicken Wrapper. I say surprisingly because I never really liked the food at My Other Place. Gavin thought it looked so good he ordered one himself and, being the proper Englishman he is, promptly began to stuff the wrapper with chips.

Although the party at the 70’s Airport Love Palace was ostensibly an Independence Day Party, there was nary a barbeque nor an explosive device to be found. Instead, entertainment took the form of watching the pet alligator stalk, attack, and consume several mice placed on pieces of styrofoam in the small pool. There had been plans afoot to spray paint the mice red, white and blue, respectively, but clearer minds had prevailed over the idea, since such a display might have been taken the wrong way, especially by the alligator.

I didn’t actually watch the consumption of the mice myself, except for taking a few pictures. By that point I had consumed several glasses of the punch, which consisted of several different brands of vodka with a hint of lemonade mix, interspersed with lots of red wine, so I sat languidly in a chair on the balcony and watched the planes take off and land. I could tell what was going on with the alligator and the mice just by listening to the crowd in any case.

After waking up on Saturday afternoon and swearing my customary vow to Never Drink Like That Again, I shook off my hangover and went to pick up my motorcycle, which was parked where I had left it the night before. Since Dean’s Yanshui helmet was much too large and probably made from cardboard, I rode down to an accessory shop recommended by Maoman to get a real helmet. Maoman paid NT$16,000 for his several months ago, but I didn’t want to pay that kind of money. I picked out a nice red Shoei for NT$7,600, spurning the complicated designs of the more expensive helmets. This, of course, means that I will have to carry my helmet around with me like a foreigner rather than leaving it on my bike like most Taiwanese do, which also means that I will have to stop making fun of foreigners who carry their helmets around with them. Damn, I enjoyed that.

That night was Berta’s Birthday Bash. I walked into Mr. Paco’s Pizzaria at about 8 to find a long table surrounded by Berta and her friends, mostly Americans but with some Taiwanese present as well. I didn’t know many people, or else I had forgotten a lot of people. I’m terrible with names, faces, that sort of thing. The conversations were mostly centered around marriage, families, jobs, etc. The food was excellent, if expensive. At one point I was in the men’s part of the unisex bathroom when Berta and her friend came in, ostensibly to adjust her dress, but they soon began to talk about me. Nothing bad, of course, just your normal chit-chat. I waited until Berta had gone into the female stall before I made my exit, but the friend was still there. I noticed that she was an interesting shade of red.

After dinner Berta steered everyone (it was like herding cats, I tell you) over to Oz, a ritzy mimimalist bar with mirrors and a token DJ stand. I could tell immediately that it wasn’t my kind of place, so I bade my farewell and walked over to my friend Fish’s farewell party at his rooftop apartment on Heping E. Rd. The apartment was gringy and hot, and I was soon sweating copiously. I munched on barbequed corn and chicken sandwiches as I chatted with several of the English teachers who had congregated there. I felt a bit awkward, however, as I don’t really belong to that crowd. They were asking me questions about my visa status, questions I didn’t feel like answering, but I was too tired to make up my usually elaborate, purely fabricated answers, so I was relieved to get a call from Little P, who had managed to get leave and was in Taipei, at Fresh.

I took a cab over and found Little P on the balcony schmoozing with his friends. I was pretty tired, but he wanted to drink, dance and chat, so I waited around for him, don’t ask me why. I guess I kinda like the kid. I sat on the opulant red sofas and watched shirtless couples hug and kiss next to the bar on the second floor until Little P was ready to go. I spent the night at his place. Little P, by the way, is huggalicious. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Sunday was Berta’s real birthday, so we met up at United Mix for brunch out on the porch. Afterwards I had a little time before the Casablanca rehearsal, so I went over to the Chungking Mansions place and had a look around, to see it in the daytime. It was quiet, not many people around inside. I discovered a fairly disguesting yet thankfully not well-used wet market in the basement. The stairways were unlit. A group of men, naked to the waist in the summer heat, played Mah-jong in the hallway. Groups of kids ran around, upsetting the sprinkling of cats and the occasional dog in a cage. I asked one of the shop owners on the second floor how old the building, called the Xinwei Market, was. He said it was 30 years old. “How do you know that?” I asked.

“Because I’ve been here for 30 years,” he said, pointing at his barbershop and giving me a strange look.

Rehearsal was fun, as usual. I read the part of Rick, as usual. Parts haven’t been decided yet, but I think Rowan has his eye on another guy for Rick. In any case, it’s up to him; he’s the director. I just enjoy reading Rick. Later I showed Dean around the Xinwei Market building. He agreed that it was an interesting place. “I wouldn’t want to raise a kid here, though,” he added.

I had just enough time to go home and change before Taijiquan practice. Ok, well, not enough; I was in fact late, and got called on it by the teacher. He punished me by having me lead the class, the first time he’s ever done that to me. It was a good workout, though. I walked back to the MRT station listening to music, as I usually do, although this week’s program, Strauss, wasn’t quite as good as last week’s Bach.

And that, friends, pretty much sums up my weekend. Steve, who is back in Taiwan after a lengthy trip around Asia with his wife, met me for lunch today, and we talked about publishing over excellent noodles at Bellini Pasta. I met with the people at Locus this evening, and progress was made. They are drawing up a contract for me to have a look at sometime in the next few days. The terms aren’t as good as I had hoped, but they’re not unreasonable. Hopefully I will be able to decide on a publisher soon. My computer monitor at home is also becoming increasingly unusable, so I will most likely be forced to spend a large amount of cash on getting a new one.

posted by Poagao at 4:59 pm  

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