Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 01 2004

I was shocked when I woke up this morning and saw …

I was shocked when I woke up this morning and saw blue skies out the window. Sunshine and reasonably warm temperatures? I had to get outside!

Apparently most of the city of Taipei had the exact same thought, as I found out shoving my way through the masses of church-walking mouth-breathers at Bitan using my bicycle as a sort of cattle guard. The crowds thinned out as I made my way through the Air Force cemetary (I know it’s not very tactful to mention, but there are a lot more intact bodies at the Air Force Cemetary than I would have expected), and down through the little alleyways lined with traditional Taiwanese brick houses. I priced the rental of one house in the area at NT$12,000 a month a few years ago. After chatting with an old lady about the roads in the area, I decided to head up into the mountains. On my bicycle.

I think I can safely say my bicycling muscles are out of shape. On the steeper bits I had to get off and just walk, but eventually I made it up to the Gangster Village Apartments at the top. Traffic was heavy, the roads full of people made crazy for fresh outdoor air after weeks of being trapped at home, and I was going to get stomped if I stayed on the main road, so I ducked back through the complex and took a rough concrete path down the other side to another steep mountain road, the one that leads to the water treatment plant.

My situation had not improved, traffic-wise, but it wasn’t too long before I made a left at the T-intersection on the cliff overlooking the plant. I coasted quickly past a pedestrian couple having an argument of tree types, down to the plain across the Xindian River from where I live. It feels like a rural village in the middle of nowhere out there, and I was tempted to explore more, but the sun was setting so I headed instead to the ferry crossing. On the way across the river a couple of older men I was chatting with told me they greatly admired Bush’s foreign policy. I asked why. “Because Bush says he doesn’t support the referendum, but he doesn’t mean it.”

“Very clever, very subtle,” the other old man nodded. I tried to hint that perhaps Bush meant what he said and that the US probably just didn’t want to deal with a situation in the Taiwan Strait, but the old men weren’t having any of it. One of them just stopped talking to me, while the other tried to explain to me that I didn’t really understand the way Americans thought. “Nothing will happen, the referendum is only the beginning of a greater movement,” he said as he got off the ferry at the pier.

I shot a questioning look at the boatman as I hefted my bicycle to get off, but he just rolled his eyes. I guess he gets all types on his ferry, especially on weekends. I didn’t mind, though; it’s interesting to listen to other people’s opinions.

I cycled through more crowds along the river and over the twisting turning suspension bridge over to the Sandcastle to see Sandman’s new kerosene-powered space heater as well as his new Chinese medicine cabinet. His place looks nicer every time I see it. He had some friends over, and we went over to Athula’s place for some delicious rhoti before calling it a day. A nice day, in fact.

And now, according to the Central Weather Bureau, we are soon to be returned to our regularly scheduled weather, i.e. cold and rainy for the foreseeable future. Get your kerosene while supplies last.

posted by Poagao at 4:58 pm  

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