Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 21 2006

I got a chance to go to the top (well, nearly the …

I got a chance to go to the top (well, nearly the top) of the world’s tallest building yesterday. The Muddy Basin Ramblers were scheduled to play at a charity “climbathon” today, so we went up yesterday to have a look at the stage and setup.

I brought the washtub, which is cracking and may need a replacement soon, to the front door of Taipei 101 around noon to meet up with most of the rest of the band, and we went into the heaven-themed lobby. Everything is stark white, and I expected to see the guards wearing robes and little electric halos. I imagined that, when the elevator doors opened, little harps would play.

As it happened, we were to take a very tall, wood covered freight elevator that went so fast our ears popped. It turns out that Taipei 101 has the fastest elevators in the world, and having watched the floor numbers flash by at around four a second, I can believe it.

I brought my big Canon camera to take shots of the view, but the weather was pretty hazy and uninteresting. Still, I got a handful of shots that I put up on Flickr. At one point some window washers lowered themselves down across our view, which was interesting, at least at that height. As far as the setup went, we found that the washtub needed no microphone, as the wooden stage amplified the sound very nicely. The rest of us would do with a couple of condenser mics.

After most of the band went home, I stayed on in the hope of getting better light later in the day, but the light didn’t get too much better, and the sun vanished behind some clouds.

Last night I attended a barbeque at my friend Greg’s house. Greg and his housemates live right smack next to the air force cemetary not far from where I live. The landlord has been trying to sell it for years, but nobody will touch it. He can’t even rent it out to Taiwanese people; foreigners are the only ones who dare live in such proximity to the graveyard. I met a lot of interesting people, including a Russian family with whom I practiced my nearly non-existant Russian. It was a bit embarrasing, though they told me I still had a good accent, no doubt trying to make me feel better.

The meat and veggies were good, there weren’t many mosquitoes, and the air was fresh, making for quite a nice time. But I had to leave because for today’s event, we had to be back at 101 earlier in the morning. Sandman and I took a cab from Xindian due to the heat and Sandy’s tardiness. The square in front of 101 was crowded with mostly healthy looking would-be climbers. We went past them and on to the waiting elevator, prompting me to feel both relieved and yet slightly guilty. But not much. Nearby 9-5 peak is the same height, and I climbed that, so theoreticaly I could have climbed 101, but the notion of paying someone else to climb a stairwell full of that “new building” smell is a bit much, I think.

The 84th floor was already filled with successful climbers, and people were cheering new arrivals as we walked in. I heard someone say, “Did they climb all the way dressed like that?” Oddly enough, there was obscenely unhealthy food awaiting those who made it all the way up, including pound cakes, root beer and muffins. Some people dressed in costumes for the climb, things like muscle shirts, Elvis costumes and even one guy in a gorilla suit.

We were introduced by Rick Monday and played two short sets that went well enough. The last song we played was “Nagasaki”. David began playing his guitar, and a vague thought entered me head, that perhaps we had done an intro. By the time I realized I was supposed to play the intro, the awkward silence was already upon us, so I just stood there like an idiot for the duration. Oh, well. Space between the notes, and all that.

By the time we packed up and left it was only around 1pm, and Sandy and I got a taxi back to Bitan by around 2, so I decided to take the Crazy Bike out for a ride up the river. It was just about perfect weather for it, cloudy and not too hot. The air, however, was filled with tiny kamikaze bugs that loved to fly into one’s eyeballs and mouth. Needless to say I did a lot of spitting along the way, and my eyes are red from all the rubbing, but otherwise it was a nice ride. I went out almost to Tucheng and turned back. The worst thing about riding is arriving back in Bitan and having to dodge all the mouth-breathers who are shuffling across the suspension bridge. It never fails to upset me, though I tell myself to let it go. I should take the traffic bridge instead, but annoyance is still preferable to the outright terror or crossing a 9-way intersection on the Crazy Bike.

Picked up some rhoti, took a nice shower, and watched some West Wing: A very nice wrap-up for a busy weekend.

posted by Poagao at 2:17 pm  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment