Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 28 2007


Hot, muggy days. The cicadas are starting up with their one-note song, which will become the familiar cyclical chugging sound as the summer progresses. I got up around 8am and took a nice hike up the mountain to the Meizhicheng Community. I enjoy walking around there because it’s quiet; everyone’s off at work in the office, and it lets me relish the fact that I’m not. This afternoon we came close to having our first clockwork summer thunderstorm, but it didn’t quite happen.

Saturday night we played at the Animals Taiwan benefit held on a rooftop near Zhishan Station. It’s a nice neighborhood with older houses along the river that leads up to the palace museum. As I walked up the strange double staircase I noted signs asking me not to talk or make any other noise in the stairwell, as the neighbors were sensitive to noise. Not a good sign.

The roof was teeming with people, mostly foreigners, and several pavilions had been set up against the possibility of rain. The “restrooms” were a couple of bins behind the stairwell door. At one point our host, David, spotted an old Taiwanese fellow standing at the stairwell door, and hastily called on a local friend to reassure him that we weren’t going to cause any havoc.

A troup of Taiwanese girls did a dance routine to recorded music. I didn’t really pay that much attention, as I was chatting with Rowan about the movie. Then it was our turn to play. We did several songs and got the audience dancing. It was great, until the police showed up. Predictably, the neighbors had called them, though it wasn’t even 10pm yet. David rushed to find another interpreter to talk with the police, and the group of them stood by the door going back and forth. “This is so embarrassing,” I said to Brian Foden, who was standing next to me. “How can someone live here so long and still not speak the language?” I immediately regretted it, as I always do when I express such a sentiment in a crowd of people who are likely to take great umbrage at it. Mr. People Person, that’s me.

A deal was negotiated with the police to let us play until 11pm, so we started playing again. We got a couple of songs in before the boys in blue made another appearance, this time demanding that the whole party be shut down. The cops herded us off the roof, their walkie-talkies squelching out orders. I wanted to tell them to turn them down, as the neighbors didn’t like noise, but I refrained, as it wasn’t really my party. “We’re getting rid of the foreigners…they’re almost gone,” one of the cops said into his radio. Apparently the complaint had been against “those foreigners.” Hopefully next time they hold an event they’ll find a more suitable place.

posted by Poagao at 12:06 pm  

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