Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Apr 06 2009


Saturday was a day of good eatin’. Went up to Tianmu with a friend around noon to eat at a sushi stand in the fish market on Shidong Road. This involved standing in line for over half an hour, and the place is apparently really popular, and then standing at the bar to eat dish after dish of whatever the guy behind the counter gives you until he asks “Have you had enough?” Then you pay and leave. It’s an interesting operation, and the sushi is absolutely fresh and fantastic, but I’m not sure if I’d make a habit of going all the way up there just for that. It is worth the one visit to see how the guy flicks little balls of wasabi onto the counter like a fourth-grade nose-picker.

After walking around Shilin enjoying the nice weather, we ended up at a ritzy restaurant made out of a former Japanese official’s residence off Nanjing West Road. I’d passed it several times before and figured I should give it a try. Also, I was tired from all the walking and didn’t feel like looking for someplace else.

The interior of the 2/5-story building is all stark white, with mirrors lining the edge of the ceiling in the same place where most traditional houses have plaques with characters mentioning good fortune. They also had tables outside in the front yard, but large Europeans were smoking there, so we ate inside. The food was expensive and delicious, and the waitstaff very helpful. It turned out that one of the waitresses was also a bassist. We talked about music for a bit, and I mentioned our band, though I’m not sure the Muddy Basin Ramblers would feel at home in such an environment.

After lunch the next day I headed out to Keelung with a couple of friends. Ray was excited about a plethora of international cruise ships massing along the harborfront, and Steve just wanted to get out. Keelung, of course, was cool, windy and full of rain. Two ships were moored at the harbor, The SuperStar Libra-sized Nautica and the much larger, more impressive Diamond Princess. Small groups of pasty pink Europeans were making their way through the rain back to the latter vessel, which was scheduled to depart at 6 p.m. We walked up the dock to take a look, and it occurred to me that Keelung, despite its glaring ugliness, really does have the potential to be a pretty nice place, or it would if a lot of people decided to do something about it. Perhaps when all the cargo facilities are moved to the new Taipei Port things will improve. I should spend more time exploring the city, though.

As we were walking back, I spotted a patch of white underneath the hedge in the planter along the busy street by the harbor. A small ball of white fur with black spots was pulsing rhythmically beneath the hedge. I couldn’t see a head, but it seemed to be a small cat or dog taking refuge from the weather. I covered it with leaves to help it keep warm, whatever it was.

We went to the harborfront Starbucks for some hot cocoa and to get out of the rain for a bit before heading back to the car. The Diamond Princess was gone, on its way to Hong Kong as we ascended the ramp leading to the highway and back to Taipei. After stopping in Neihu for some good Cantonese food (it’s been a long time since I had such good changfen), we drove through town and over the river into Sanchong. What could we possibly want to do in Sanchong? You ask. It seems a friend of Steve’s, Black Bear, was having a housewarming party in his apartment in a new luxury high-rise. We parked deep down in the 6-floor basement levels and took two elevators to the 37th floor, a very high floor for Sanchong, where Black Bear’s place overlooked the city and the river. He paid a bit less than twice as much per ping as I did for my place, in cash (!). I should add that Black Bear works in the solar panel industry, and no, he’s not single. Steve and Ray watched bad programs on a good TV and chatted with people as I leaned out the balcony window taking pictures of the city skyline.

You may have noticed that this account isn’t updated in as timely a fashion as it once was. I blame things like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and my other four blogs. But come on, it’s been eight years this month. I for one find it hard to believe I’m still writing this thing at all, much less in basically the same infantile manner in which I’ve always done.

posted by Poagao at 11:09 am  


  1. Congrats on the 8th anniversary! Keep up sharing your quality journal with us. 😀

    Comment by Daniel — April 7, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

  2. 4 other blogs? what is the address?

    Comment by v — April 8, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  3. Most of them are linked to on the sidebar, my Chinese blog, my Tai-chi blog and the production blog. I have another one somewhere I don’t tell anyone about.

    Comment by Poagao — April 8, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

  4. Didn’t you just tell the internet about the one you don’t tell anyone about?

    Your fans may be breaking out the text analysis/search tool any moment to find out all your secrets!

    Comment by Mark — April 9, 2009 @ 1:00 am

  5. Even if they did find it, I have plausible deniability.

    Comment by Poagao — April 9, 2009 @ 1:07 am

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