Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Oct 05 2002

I went over to Caves Bookstore Friday afternoon af…

I went over to Caves Bookstore Friday afternoon after work to get more of an overview of the kind of publishers who put out books on Taiwan. It seems that most of the books written about Taiwan that are not of a scholarly nature seem to be vanity press releases, i.e., the writer paid someone to print out a number of copies. On the surface, this doesn’t bode well for the damn book, but then again, there’s less competition, especially considering my subject matter. Every time I experience real doubt in the whole thing, I go back and read a bit of it, and my confidence returns. I think it’s a good little piece of writing, and even if it needs the professional editing touch only a publisher can provide, I still think it’s got potential.

An online friend of mine suggested I stop by a certain teashop called “Nook” just north of the northwest corner of Minchuan and Chengde Rds. It turned out to be a rather eclectic place, with an almost overwhelming abundance of cozy little touches everywhere. I sat down and ordered a Cinammon Oolong tea, which came with rather tasteless cookies delivered by the friendly staff. At another table, a very familiar woman was shouting at a friendly old man. I knew I’d seen her before somewhere, but I couldn’t recall where. She made cellphone calls and spoke even louder, her comments about how nasty the people she was apparently renting various apartments to echoing off the walls. The staff was cringing in the back. It wasn’t the best environment for reading or thinking at that particular moment, so I decided to leave.

I made my way down to the train station, lay down on the surprisingly sharp-edged grass of the park located more or less where the old train station used to be, and gazed up at the successively higher structures of the Hilton, Asiaworld and the Mitsukoshi buildings. Not many people use that park, which is rather recent. Instead, everyone seemed to be busy rushing around the crowded alleyways of the old downtown, making the emptiness where I was all the more peaceful. A guy in a little blue water truck drove around watering the plants without getting out of his vehicle, and a mother took snapshots of her little girl as the toddler rushed around the park. It would be a good place to go and write, if you had either a good battery for your laptop or an extremely long, waterproof extension cord.

That night Dean, Kay and I went to B&Q, the Home Depo of Taiwan, up in Shilin. I’d never been there, and he’s got to find materials to fix up his new place. It was impressive, and I found myself longing for a nice, new kitchen or bathroom. “Slap me out of it, Dean,” I said, and he complied by hitting me over the head with a handy jig-sawed moulding. We bought some paint and tiles and left before the allure of bright white ceramics could get another chance to enslave our fragile little minds.

Back at Dean’s place, I was rewarded for my helping carry stuff up the elevator-free building’s stairs with pizza and Simpsons episodes I’d never seen before. As we were fiddling with the VCR, a local program came up. The production values were, of course, horrid, and it featured the typical shouting man and crying woman. The woman’s wailing sounded familiar, and I looked up to see that it was the woman from the teashop. Of course. That was why she was being so obnoxious; she’s rich and famous.

Today’s been mostly wasted with laundry and pointless Internet surfing. The weather’s supposed to turn cold again soon, so I really should get some walking-about done before sundown. Whilst I’m out and about, take a look at the newest addition to the photography page.

posted by Poagao at 7:28 am  

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