Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 06 2002

Yesterday I took a train down to Miaoli. My book i…

Yesterday I took a train down to Miaoli. My book is just about finished, or at least I can’t think of anything else to do with it, really, so I decided to go back down to the old army base where I spent nearly two years several years ago, to see if there was anything I’d missed. It was a beautiful, if hazy day, and cool enough but not too cold.

I got to Miaoli, noted that they’ve panelled the boxy little train station down there, and took a bus through the largely unchanged town and up the mountain. It was the weekend, so not many people were about. Not that there are anyway. I walked into one of the military supply stores and talked to the owner, who actually remembered me. Everyone down there speaks with a Hakka accent. Lots of Hakka in Miaoli.

Then I walked out to the training fields, which were deserted and smouldering from what looked like a controlled brush fire. Packs of dogs barked at me as I walked through the old obstacle course and past the amoury. I chatted a bit with the guards at the gate. They’re almost up to 1900T now. There are 24T a year. I was 1748T. The guards were suitably impressed with my seniority. They were the ones unlucky enough not to have leave over the weekend, or perhaps they wanted it that way. I know I always did. I’d rather have my leave on weekdays, when less people are crowding around everywhere, and there’s less on base to do as well.

Still, it’s been so long that anyone I would have known there has gone, been discharged or transferred. It felt like visiting a house where you once lived, kind of sad that all of the physical infrastructure is still there, but none of the atmosphere and people you remembered. There was nothing much else to do. I considered getting a cheap haircut but decided against it when I recalled the jobs they used to pull on me when I was stationed there. So I got on the bus and went back to Miaoli, where I had some lunch. While I was waiting for my meal, I ran into a guy who told me we met at a New Year’s party last year, but I have no recollection of the event.

After lunch I walked through the town back to the train station. It’s a long way. Miaoli only consists of two streets, but they’re long streets. The town is a block wide and something like 30 blocks long, it seems. On the way I passed a sexy underwear shop and a traditional clothing shop, a roadside statuette vendor and a pool hall. My feet were aching by the time I got back to the train station, and I wasted my window seat on the way back by sleeping for most of the way, waking up just in time to see an ultralight flying by outside the train.

Last night I let Dean copy Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and he immediately began playing while I watched his copy of The Man with the Golden Gun. Not only is it one of the best Bond films, but Nick Nack is just too sexy for words.

This afternoon I had a delicious breakfast at Jake’s. The reason it was delicious was that I was very hungry more than anything to do with the actual quality of the food, though. I think visiting my old base made me more appreciative of being a (relatively) free civilian in a way I haven’t really felt since I got out of the service. I’ll probably feel differently tomorrow, though, when I go back to the office.

So now I’ve dug out all the pictures from my army days and dumped them in a pile on my bed. I need to look through them and select some for the book, even though I really don’t have a clue as to what kind of pictures people expect to see. The only time I got to take pictures was really during leisure activities, not really the most exciting stuff. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a few interesting ones together.

posted by Poagao at 10:30 am  

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