Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 28 2002

I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it to work in ti…

I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it to work in time for the office-opening ceremony this morning. All of the cabs were taken; it took me 15 minutes of standing in the freezing rain to finally catch one. When I got to the new office, I could hear the drumbeat of the lion dance, so I followed a few other latecomers down to the basement and then up the stairwell to join the back of the crowd inside the lobby rather than show up through the front door.

The lobby was filled with incense smoke from the joss sticks everyone had. Slogans were thrown around and speeches made, as the smoke irritated my eyes. I was glad when we were told to go out into the rain again to watch the finale of the lion dance, which was being performed by four guys and one kid. The kid had his own little lion costume and was incredibly cute. The other lions were two-man costumes, front and back, and they did the customary acrobatics and after our Big Boss fed them red envelopes for breakfast. Everyone was huddled under the Bridge To Nowhere to get out of the rain.

After the performance and some fireworks, the lion dancers began to pack up their equipment and load it into their little blue truck. It was still raining, and the little kid, perhaps 5 or 6 years old, stood watching the older men work.

“Aren’t you going to help them load the equipment?” one of my co-workers, a woman about my age, asked the kid. She was bending over and staring at him.

“Ah, come on, give the kid a break. He’s been dancing in the cold rain for the last half an hour, after all,” I said, and the woman stood up straight and said (altogether now):

“Wah, your Chinese is so good!” (thanks, you can sit down again). The kid was completely forgotten in light of the astonishing revelation that The Foreigner Can Speak, so after the woman left I took some pictures of him on my digital camera and showed them to him. “That’s you! Look at you!” I said. He was delighted. I wondered how long it would be before he, too, is taught to react to non-Chinese like the woman did.

Eventually we were allowed back in the lobby, which, although still unfinished, was filled with tasty treats. The lion dancers didn’t get any, however, which I found rather petty. Unfortunately they had already left by the time I made my way inside. The first three floors of the building are still unfinished. I found my computer on my new desk, all set up, but one of the moving people apparently stole my telephone, so I had to get another. I feel like someone stole my cubicle walls, but hopefully I’ll get used to it. At least I have my old chair and plenty of space for books and stuff. The pool table and punching bags are right in front of me, and a wonderful view of Four-animal Mountain right behind me. The basketball court and ping-pong table are just downstairs, and the pub is on the next floor up. I think I’ll wait until the weather clears before I visit the rooftop gardens, though.

It seems louder here, probably because there are more hard surfaces and fewer sound-absorbing partitions. The bathroom on this floor is really strange, with bowls for sinks and a window in one of the toilets so the people in the building next door can watch as you do your business (I’m kidding; there’s blinds on the window). There’s also a shower.

Steve is in town, on a visit from Tainan, where he’s staying with his in-laws. I foresee expensive taxi rides in the near future. But that’s ok. I’ll buy lottery tickets just in case I don’t have enough cash. You never know when a few million extra dollars could come in handy.

My feet are wet after slogging through the streets all day. In case you hadn’t noticed, I am not a big fan of Taipei’s wet winters. In fact, were it possible, I would like to hunt down and kill Taipei’s wet winters, but I suppose they do make the summers seem much nicer.

posted by Poagao at 7:18 am  

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