Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Oct 02 2006

Jojo drove Sandman and me to the Daniel Pearl Day …

Jojo drove Sandman and me to the Daniel Pearl Day festivities at Treasure Hill, where the party was well under way, on Saturday. Fortunately it wasn’t raining, and they had food. I had a hamburger that would have been fine if I hadn’t had to keep picking bits of gristle out of it.

We left the rock stage and tramped up the hill to the “accoustic stage” which turned out to be someone’s rooftop with a couple of chairs on it. Half-finished aluminum dormatories stood in the formerly empty space at the center of the complex. They looked hot and cramped. Later I learned that they were being built by the city government as temporary housing while the city rennovates their original houses. And when I say “rennovates” I mean “confiscates and starts charging rent to the original inhabitants after they finish.” Seems like a bit of a raw deal for the elderly people who have lived there most of their lives.

Nothing was going on at the accoustic stage, though not for the lack of trying on Sandman’s part, but just one guy playing sax simply wasn’t enough. I paid a visit to Mr. Zhang, whom I’d met when we were filming a scene there so long ago.

I talked with some of the other people milling around the roof, including a guy I knew and his cousin, who turned out to be really into Lord of the Rings and Clive Barker books. Cute guy, too.

On my way back down the hill, I met some people going the other way with instruments, so I turned around and headed back up. A few guys set up and played a few songs, with Sandman and me providing some accompaniment. Smoke from the fire just behind us caused the musicians to cough and wince. The show was short and sweet.

I talked with some of the younger residents, who said they were planning to stage a protest when the government came to move all the old people into the new dormatories. They were looking for ways to attract the media to their plight.

I went back down and listened to some more music from the rock stage, and then departed to meet up with Prince Roy, Mark and his friend Martin at the 24-hour Eslite Bookstore. We walked around looking for a place to sit/eat/talk, but none of the bars we tried fit the bill. We ended up at the new Q Bar. The only thing remaining from the old Q Bar is the pool table, and Mark was astonished to find that there were simply no Taiwanese people in the place. Prince Roy even met one of his co-workers.

After dinner we bought beers at a convenience store and sat out on the curb by Anhe Road chatting until about 2 or 3am. I didn’t feel like going home. I hadn’t been drinking anything but water, so after I said good-bye to Mark at his building I walked next door to the bookstore and walked around feeling sophisticated and literary as I looked at books and magazines, much as I used to when I lived in the area.

The sky was lightening as I walked down the empty stretches of Dunhua South Road, feeling that there was something special about living downtown that I’d forgotten all about, not the concrete, practical convenience, but a certain feeling of being in the middle of it all. I was a bit surprised to find that I missed it. I imagined that I still lived in an alley off of Dunhua, and that I could just walk back home. It was a good memory, even if the reality wasn’t quite as ideal.

Instead of returning to my imaginary home, I caught a long cab ride back to Xindian. Sunlight was streaming in through the blinds by the time my head hit the pillow.

posted by Poagao at 4:36 pm  

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