Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 18 2003

I spent my time at the office yesterday morning it…

I spent my time at the office yesterday morning itching to get out into the warm, sunny weather, but when I stepped out onto the sidewalk at noon, I was at a loss as to exactly where to go to enjoy it best. I bought a sandwich and considered the problem as I ate it while sitting under a brilliant red Tallow tree in Da-an Park. Eventually I decided I would try and find out just how high I could get without the use of drugs or wings, just using my motorcycle.

I took Zhongshan North Road up through Shilin, zig zagging up the side of Yangmingshan. Gendouyun was running especially fine considering I hadn’t started it up in weeks, with little to no smoke coming from the tailpipe. I rode up through the national park almost to the cleft in the mountain past the sulfer springs and took a left on the side road to Danshui. The roads were still wet and the temperature dropped. I took a right after asking directions at a solitary shop no doubt mostly used by the soldiers at the radar base on one of the peaks, and made my way up to the top of Datun Mountain. There was some sort of radar base on the top of this peak as well, but it seemed to be inhabited solely by a pack of unkempt dogs who barked at my arrival.

At first the scene was peace itself, with only the wind and an occasional insect chirping. The entire northern part of Taiwan is visible, all the way from Yehliu and Turtle Island in the east to the coast beyond Bali in the west, not to mention the entire Taipei basin as well. Taipei 101 is obviously the tallest thing in the city, and it’s not even close to being finished yet. The downside of the spot being so easily accessible is of course that anyone could make their way there, and all too soon a rich couple in a brand-new BMW drove up, Kenny G blasting out their open windows. They didn’t even turn the motor off, much less their radio, preferring instead to just sit there looking at the view from their car.

Not long after that we were joined by a guy on a huge silver Kawasaki racing bike. He appeared to have only bought it recently. Decked up as he was in full racing gear, all rubber and thickly padded, he seemed to be having trouble keeping both feet on the ground at the same time. The Kenny G folks and I watched as Racerboy spent a full 15 minutes simply turning his bike around on the road. He then spent another quarter of an hour unzipping himself from his gear, then five minutes looking at the view, and finally another 15 minutes getting back into the suit before zooming off rather jerkily, barely missing the BMW.

I stayed until after four o’clock before beginning my descent, choosing to continue on to Danshui rather than going back the way I came. On the way down I stopped at a lovely little copse/bird sanctuary, the brilliant blue sky reflected in the water, beneath which schools of fish could be seen swimming around. A very pleasant spot. The fact that it was Friday helped things a great deal, as I didn’t have to deal with weekend crowds. I continued down the other side of the mountain on Route 101. As the sun got lower in the sky it began to shine in underneath the thick foliage hanging over the pavement. The road itself was very nice, twisting and turning gently, fairly smooth and fun to ride, especially in light traffic.

I made it to the Danshui pier just in time to see the sun set over the Taiwan Strait. They’ve finally completed the bridge across the harbor, though it’s not open to the public yet. I walked around the piers a bit, looking at the ever-larger yachts moored there and dodging groups of giggling students watching the lights come on all over the high-rise apartment buildings lining the river on both sides. I rode into town and enjoyed dinner at a rooftop restaurant after almost electrocuting myself on the neon signage at the edge of the balcony.

On the way home I managed to restrain myself from opening Gendouyun up on the miles-long stretch of straight roadway on Dadu Road, just keeping pace with the cars at around 100 kph. I’ll probably get a picture of myself speeding in a few days anyway, if the police can make out my license plate number. It’s been a while since I washed my bike, so it could be a bit hard to make out. *whistles* I had entertained thoughts of going out to Fresh or someplace that night, but a look at my bank account statement after withdrawing some cash changed my mind.

This afternoon I took a trip, this time via the MRT, out to Xindian, where I exchanged some books and other treats with Sandman and Jo-jo at the Sandcastle in Bitan. The Cat Formerally Known as Smoke looks more like some alien species after having his fur shaved off everywhere except his feet, head and the tip of his tail. Most bizarre. After sampling some of Sandman’s excellent pasta, another visitor arrived, a Dutchman into old maps and photos of Taiwan. Later on Sandy introduced me to the Roti of Athula, a cheerful, heavyset Sri Lankan man who runs a stand on the near side of the susension bridge. As Athula served some other customers who were waiting for their Roti, Sandy and I cast jealous aspersions at a foreigner who stode up and jumped into a new MGF convertible alongside a Taiwanese girl before driving off.

I tried two kinds of Roti, beef and chicken, taking my meal down to the waterside to eat whilst watching the swan boats mill around on the river with their little lights blinking. I liked the chicken better, though it tasted somewhat like liver to me for some reason. Now I’m home again, and feeling rather worn out. It’s just as well I don’t have any money to go out and do anything with.

UPDATE: Some Mirror Project pictures I took during my trip up the mountain are now up.

posted by Poagao at 2:58 pm  

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