Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Aug 22 2006

I didn’t go in to work today. Why? Because last ni…

I didn’t go in to work today. Why? Because last night I got a little too into badminton and got a little ankle-spraining going on. It didn’t hurt too badly right afterwards, but this morning it was pretty stiff and painful, so I walked, very slowly, in the rain, over to the Beiyi Chinese clinic. Unfortunately, they were closed for lunch. So I made my way back home, did my job online from home, and then inched back over later in the afternoon. The guy at the clinic said it looked like a lot of strain for a short time caused the injury. Should be better soon, but no sports this week.

Last weekend Prince Roy and Spicygirl honored Bitan with their royal presences. I took them up to the Dafo Buddhist Temple and then over to the Taiping Temple, a.k.a. the scene of many of my pictures since I’ve been living here. The light was really nice, and we both took quite a few photographs. Spicygirl seems to have a good eye; I think she should get a camera of her own.

Later we ended up back at the Wistaria teahouse to see off Dan, who was getting ready to leave Taiwan. We went to the German restaurant, Goerte or something, near Bongos for dinner, as Bongos was (of course) booked solid with an hour wait. I was reassured by the bread. It took me until I was halfway through my chicken cordon bleu to realize that all the meat was red. I mean, you expect the ham to be red, but the chicken, too? I called the waitress over, and they said they’d cook me another one. When I declined, they gave me a loaf of bread, made me pay for my meal, and called it even. Don’t think I’ll be going back there, no matter how long I have to wait for Bongos.

We went back to Wistaria for some tea, but I got a call from Daniel that he was meeting some friends at Scorpio, a little place just off the Xinsheng overpass. I’d been there once years ago, and I was in no mood to go to a place like Fresh again. Fresh just gives me a bad vibe.

“Don’t be surprised if there aren’t any foreigners there,” Daniel warned me before we went inside, but he couldn’t have been more wrong: I saw three Westerners and many Japanese in the crowded bar. In fact, most of the songs on the Karaoke machine were Japanese songs. I sat between an older Japanese guy from Tokyo and a Taiwanese guy about my age and about my hairstyle called Ah-bu. We chatted over the din of the Japanese songs; it was refreshing. I need to get out more.

PR and SG wanted to go to Maokong for tea and sightseeing the next day, so I joined them on the subway headed out to Muzha. The weather was hot and steamy, but not so bad in the mountains. We caught a bus up to Maokong, got off and were immediately directed to a small path leading down to a stream in the valley below by a guy who was passing by. The man told us he had lived in Maokong his whole life, and that the path was their only way down to the city before the road was built.

The stream was nicer, especially because we had it to ourselves for at least half and hour. PR and I waded around trying to capture the little waterfall with our cameras and swatting at mosquitoes, while Spicygirl sat on a rock. Little fish nibbled at my legs in the cool water.

Other people showed up, however, so we hiked back up to the road and then over to what had been described to us as the oldest teahouse in Maokong, the Yao Yue. The place is comprised of many shady paths and tables spread out on the mountainside, with nice views of the valley below. We drank our tea, munched on nuts and tried to take pictures of a baby praying mantis that was jumping all over the table. It was quite pleasant. Some people at the next table were playing Chinese chess, and we saw that many had brought their own food.

The food at Yao Yue looked delicious, but we wanted to see the lights of the city, not visible from that point, so we walked back up the road to find a better spot, passing a remarkably clean Buddhist temple on the way. Even the staff wore uniforms, like some kind of bus company, and the feeling was distinctly unsettling.

I kept hoping to see a teahouse I’d been to before, but I much have missed it, so we settled on a random restaurant that looked as if it had nice views. It did, but it was also managed by idiots. It must have been some kind of halfway house for bad waiters, because, try as we might, we simply weren’t able to convey the fact that we wanted non-meat dishes. Apparently, on their planet, “fish” and “shrimp” are agricultural crops.

Even the meat dishes were awful, and my stomach began complaining ever more insistantly as the sun set. We got our pictures and nice views, but I would have rather stayed at the Yao Yue. We walked back to the fork in the road and waited for about half an hour for the twisting, turning, digestion-challenging ride back to Muzha.

PR and SG got off at Technology Building Station, and though all I really wanted was to get home, I couldn’t resist and snapped a picture of Xinyi Road from Da-an Station on the way back. It turned out nicely in black-and-white, I thought.

I’ve been thinking of adding a page just for Tui-shou- and Tai-chi-related content, but I haven’t quite figured out just if and how I want to do that. I’m no expert by any measure, but it might be interesting to post my observations, at least when I get back into it after my ankle gets better.

posted by Poagao at 3:30 pm  

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