Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 02 2002

I was cleaning my room on Saturday morning when I …

I was cleaning my room on Saturday morning when I discovered several income tax receipts that I hadn’t submitted when I turned in my taxes this year. Shit. It’s not a whole lot of money, so I don’t know whether it would be worth it to pursue a late entry tax form or not. I guess I’ll have to ask someone about that. Surely this happens a lot, especially for guys who only clean their rooms maybe once every fiscal year.

Mindcrime called me that afternoon, saying he and Janice were coming up to Taipei, so I made my way over to the train station, where we usually meet. He wanted to get some pictures of the Long-shan Temple in Wanhua, so I suggested we take the MRT, since there’s a station right there, but they wanted to walk instead, so we took off down Zhonghua Rd. towards the West Gate District.

“Holy shit,” my friend said when he saw the old traffic circle at the Chengdu Rd. intersection, which looks a great deal more like Times Square and a great deal less like the garbage pit it resembled when he last saw it. We made our way through the throngs of Taiwanese youths dressed like Japanese youths in the general direction of the temple, while both my friends voiced doubts as to whether or not I knew where the hell I was going. On the way we passed an old building leaning precariously on a couple of steel beams that were obviously the only thing keeping the structure from falling over on its side. Just then a procession of rusty trucks festooned with flags and loudspeakers drove slowly by, the guy on top going on about independence. They were generally ignored, as usual. I took a shot of a guy making rice puffs, a delicious Taiwanese snack, and realized when I looked at it later that it captures Taiwanese street life pretty well. You have all of the elements, the scooter, the rice-puff machine, the covered sidewalk, and the building with the struts on it in the background.

My companions were rather footsore by the time we reached the temple, but Mindcrime started taking pictures immediately, so I took a few of my own. The place was undergoing rennovation, and while the temple roof was covered up, they had stuck a picture of the temple roof on the covering, like a bad matte painting. The large brass incense holders had been severely polished; so I took several pictures of it for candidacy in the Mirror Project. One little boy was so concerned about his visage making an appearance on this site took the questionable step of covering his face with a Hello Kitty mask.

After we were finished at the temple we made our way through the rows of fortune tellers and food vendors to the MRT station and took the train to the East District. There we sat down at an old tea house while Janice went to Sogo to shop, and later we went to Eslite (yes, they actually spell it that way), where Mindcrime bought some “Chivalrous Martial Arts” books to practice his Chinese. I should read more of that stuff as well. The lobby of the store was packed with people watching some sort of travel demonstration involving a kayak.

After a meal of dubious quality at Friday’s, despite Mindcrime’s whining that he didn’t want to eat western food yet, we parted ways, and I set out for the bar at Watersheds as the last hint of daylight submitted to the ubiquitous neon of nighttime Taipei. I had arranged to meet Maoman and Berta there at 10, so I walked around exploring the neighborhood for a while. There’s always little bits and pieces to this city that you’ve never seen before right around the corner. When the time came, I stepped inside the smallish bar to find that neither Maoman nor Berta had arrived, so I used the washroom and negotiated a gauntlet of similarly attired giggling Taiwanese women to get past the bar. More and more overtly fashionable people strutted in, and the place was definitely taking on a distinctly pretentious air, but my friends didn’t arrive for another half an hour. We sat down at a table near the door and stared at each other, since the music was so loud no one could hear anyone else, which is strange as there’s no dance floor or anything in the place. I took a few pictures of Maoman, Vanessa, and a glass on the bar. I partook of a sugar-free lemonade and a Concubine’s Lament, the real name of which is actually Concubine Yang. I don’t know who Concubine Yang was, but I’d guess she was the kind of person who was very nice to you all night and then hit you on the head with a hammer in the morning.

Berta left for an ABC party at a bar in the Droid Control Ship, and the rest of us got a bit tired of trying to shout over the music. Maoman and Vanessa were going to Carnegies, and since I’d never been there before, I decided to check it out. Carnegies turned out to be a high-ceilinged room with a long bar and a wall full of alcoholic beverages under a large clock. Maoman seemed to know the doorman and chatted him up in a nervous fashion that caused me to wonder if the guy wasn’t also the bouncer. “Hello, ethnic shirt man,” he said in a tired voice when it came my turn to enter. I was wearing the aborigine shirt I bought on King Street in Perth.

The clock indoors read 1988, at least it seemed that way to everyone in the place. I was amazed how hard everyone in there was trying to have fun. It was almost desperate. People with no idea how silly they looked danced on top of the bar. One guy was wearing a shirt that looked as if it had been made from a large disco ball. People were dancing wildly and seriously, as if they trying to fight their way out of a time warp. It was the bar experience equivalent of a dog humping your leg.

The glass of wine that came with my NT$400 cover charge wasn’t exactly getting along famously with the Concubine Yang, and I made my exit before I too started to enjoy the place entirely too much. I floated through the streets and across the park back to my room. My bed felt like heaven.

I woke up sometime this afternoon, and joined Kirk and Victor for lunch at the Vino Vino restaurant on Shi-da Rd. I like Vino because it has a balcony where you can look out over the park and the road. The wind whipped our placemats around rather violently as Kirk and Victor, after hearing me say that I was taking China Airlines to Bali, discussed how much they could make off an insurance policy for me. After lunch we went to T-Zone to look for a new hard drive for me, since my old 30gb is making strange noises. I saw a nice 120gb drive, but it was too expensive, so I’ll probably get a 60gb, and then get a 120 when I start doing digital video. We also looked at LCD monitors, since my 19″ CRT is on the verge of giving up the ghost, flicking on and off even as I type this. An equivalent 19″ LCD costs over NT$50,000, and there’s no way I could afford that, so I’ll most likely have to settle for a 17″ or, god help me, even a 15″ monitor, since a CRT would just take up too much space. Hopefully the prices will come down a bit more before I absolutely have to buy one.

Victor, however, hadn’t brought the proper software to transfer my goodies to the new drive, so we decided to do it next week and instead repaired to a cafe on Yongkang St. where we had tea and cake. It was quite pleasant, a very Sunday-esque activity. I had sword practice at around 7:30, so I gathered up all of my sword gear and went to the Droid Control Ship to meet up with Mindcrime and Janice, who were watching Episode II there. The movie ran late, however, so by the time we had had dinner, it was too late for class, so I just came home, feeling fat and lazy. I need to get more exercise, but I just can’t see myself doing the whole gym thing, much less paying that much money to do it. Stilll, I should do something other than Tai-chi and sword, something more aerobic. Maybe I’ll get a large dog and train it to chase me around while it tries to hump my leg.

posted by Poagao at 1:29 pm  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment