Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 26 2002

The sun shone through my blue curtains this mornin…

The sun shone through my blue curtains this morning, waking me up and causing the turtles to scramble about in their basin. No surprise, actually, due to our ongoing drought. I called up Maoman, waking him just to make myself feel better just like the bastard I am, and we arranged to meet up at United Mix for brunch at 2. Of course, I was the first one there, but soon enough Sandy and his wife showed up, followed by Maoman, Vanessa and Baldur the Dog, all perched Taiwanese-fashion on Maoman’s ample scooter. We all sat out on the balcony since the weather was so pleasant. There was another foreigner with his wife and kid there. The child, a girl of about 3 or 4, couldn’t decide whether to be delighted or terrified about Baldur the Dog, and she expressed her angst by screaming at the top of her pretty little lungs. “Leave! Now!” I suggested diplomatically, but Maoman et al knew the guy and waited politely until he left on his own. This is why I want a cat. Not a child. Not a dog, but a cat, preferably one that pretty much takes care of itself. Perhaps one of those robot cats, as soon as they can purr realistically and fetch me some Bailey’s from the store.

After the screaming child’s departure things were quite pleasant. I even took this picture, which, due to the fact that you can see the reflection of me holding up the camera in the upper left, could theoretically be submitted to the Mirror Project. They would take it, of course, as they accept everything, but I should show some restraint, after all. Maoman is talking to Kimmy, while Vanessa poses in shades.

After brunch Maoman and Vanessa had to go home and clean up their apartment to prepare for the former’s first meeting with the latter’s parents, so I left my motorcycle parked at the restaurant and hitched a ride with Sandy and Jojo to have a look at their place in Xindian. For a mere pittance, Sandy and Co. have managed to rent an entire house in Bitan. It’s amazing. It’s an older house, and smells strongly of 1953 when you walk in, warm and charming in a black-and-white TV series way. They have two stories and several rooms all to themselves, with a magnificent rooftop view of Taipei. It’s ideal, or would be if it weren’t surrounded by huge apartment blocks that block out the sun on three sides.

We went out and walked around to see if we could find some of those red stickers Taiwanese use to advertise rooms for rent. On our way out we passed a sick dog lying on its side next to a box. It looked like it was near death. Sandy explained that nobody could get a vet that was of any use to do anything about it. I felt terrible seeing the poor thing. Every breath was obviously a pain, but it tried to lift its head and wag its tail when Sandy rubbed its head. Jojo is going to try and find another vet tomorrow, one who can do something to help the poor thing, either to treat whatever is wrong with it or end its suffering. Most likely the latter, I’m afraid. The China Airlines crash had already cast a bit of a pall over my day, and seeing the sick dog didn’t help my mood any. I am sure that they will do what they can for the dog. I don’t know who can save China Airlines, though. it has such an abysmal safety record I’m surprised anyone is still willing to use it. But the fact is, most Taiwanese people put more value on a cheap price than they do on safety. Witness the traffic here, the fake plastic helmets people give their kids, if the kids get helmets at all when they’re riding on their parents’ scooters, and the building columns with empty salad oil cans in the supporting walls. China Airlines has survived this long because of the Taiwanese mentality. That sounds arrogant, but it’s true. It never would have lasted this long otherwise. It will continue to operate in the same fashion, though. In a few weeks people will have forgotten the crash, just as they have all of the previous ones, and cheap prices will once again reign supreme. I love Taiwan, but this attitude is something I think we should do our best to eradicate. Actually I believe that our company trip next month to Bali is on China Airlines. I will see if I can switch to Cathay or Singapore. If not, I might cancel the trip altogether.

Back to today. We found some of the ads on a neighborhood wall and followed them up. A couple of them were for outrageously priced rooms in fancy large apartment buildings, but one was for an entire house, complete with porch and yard, located deep within a labyrinthian traditional Chinese neighborhood, for a reasonable price. I liked the house and would have considered living there if it hadn’t been right next to the freeway and thus a bit too noisy for my tastes. I can afford to wait, however. Finding a place for me is apparently Jojo’s new hobby. She’s done it for other people in the past. I suspect, however, that the Sandcastle represents extraordinary luck rather than the norm for the Xindian rental situation. In any case, spending time in the area felt like a day in the country. The air seems fresher out there, even if the place is overrun by mouth-breathing tourists from the city every weekend.

Dean, Graham, and possibly Boogie will be joining me tomorrow night after work for a second viewing of Episode II. I feel that enough time has passed that I can see it again without it being overly fresh in my mind (things in my mind don’t tend to stay fresh for long). On the other hand, I think Monday also involves going to work or something like that. And the sight of this construction equipment suddenly appearing directly downstairs from my room, accompanied by loud thumps that shake the building, does not bode well, either. Then again, I do have a couple more mirror project photos up. A mixed bag, in any case.

posted by Poagao at 2:12 pm  

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