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Archive for September, 2008

How does it disappear?

Last night we ventured out into the rain for some dinner. Rice and meat, and then upon me crinkling my nose at the smell of stinky tofu coming from a stall near by we decided to actually buy some. I’ve heard from lots of places that stinky tofu isn’t that bad, that lots of people love it, even westerners. Etc etc.

We order some fried stinky tofu. Man it stinks, like rotten–well if a white gooey thing was allowed to rot…thats what it smells like.

Get back the apartment, open that container up. Grab a golden brown piece…take a bite, while holding breath.

OH HELL NO.

It’s as I suspect.

It tastes like it smells. Ew Ew EW Ew. Chew, chew, chew, swallow.

Well. At least I know now. And thaat is never happening again.

We also got our hair washed at Shine Hair. The hair “saloon” (yes, misspellings, you amuse me so) that is near our house. Oh man, I love this place even more than the one at the old house. Shoulder oil massage, tea, hair washing again and again. Head massage, and styling (They did it right!!!). 150$ which is 4.50$. Complete relaxation plus salon hair. Not bad.

While standing on the corner waiting to cross, Tina looks up, “Hey, where’s Taipei 101?”. “What do you mean?” I reply, fighting my umbrella with the wind.

And then as I turn around I realize the sky is a total grey, and there is no giant towering building with lights all over (red-because its Monday). You can see it from most anywhere in the entire city (I use it to gauge how far from home I am). Squinting I look all over the sky where I should be looming. It has completely disappeared. But,  then I see a gleam high in the sky floating. “There”. All you can see is a faint rectangle that is the top spire. All one hundred and one floors are gone behind the clouds, top to bottom. Amazing.

But then I go back to fighting my umbrella and my hair which thanks to washing, blow drying, and rain has become enormous, poufy, and totally flying in my eyes and mouth.

However,

Right now I’m sitting at a Starbucks. I find it sad and depressing that even in Taipei there are FOUR Starbucks within reasonable walking distance from my apartment. Two of which are only a block away. I’m sitting in the third farthest one since the view from its windows are the best. It has a second floor seating area (alot of places do, things work vertically here, since sidewalk space is expensive). There are alot of other coffee shops. Dante Coffee, Ikari Coffee, Mr. Brown, Monihican Coffee, I guess I’ll slowly try them all eventually, but Starbucks was the only one I could rely on to stay open late.

Now all I need is a Nashville Scene to read and my coffee bliss would be complete. I got the people watching down, watching evening rushhour from my perch above the busy intersection. The buses go past, pretty familliar numbers by now, 605, 257, 233, 603, 205. Cars wait for the lights to change honking and tailgating, the scooters slowly inch farther and farther into the intersection irregardless of lines on the pavement, and the little green walk/don’t walk man walks one of this many many trips to nowhere inside his traffic sign box, as the people below conversely hurry and stroll across the pedestrian lines based on the running pace of the green-traffic-man icon.

I wonder what the job turnover rate is for the men who direct traffic in the middle of the intersections during rushhour. Only, a reflective vest, a lit baton, and a whistle stand between them and the streaming cars. While most people listen to him and his angry whistling, I’m still impressed.

That looks scary.

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Typhoon day! Woot woot.

Its not even raining hard like the last one. Just perpetual drizzle.  I really don’t know how this city doesn’t float away. Where does all the water go?

Anyways, this means a 4 day weekend for me. Woo Too bad everything is closed thanks to the government mandates.

However watching people get blown over on their scooters on the news was hilarious. Seriously, the wind blew you over on a giant vehicle. That is intense.

Leftover pictures from taipei 101. A man almost walked into this mirror because it looked like a longer hall way.

Also more photo updates back a couple posts.

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In a late decision last night we decided to defy all reason of being almost broke, it raining, and having other plans by instead going out to Luxy with some people. A definite change from the hole in the wall pub last time.

Luxy is one of Taipei’s largest and fanciest clubs. THE place to go in Taiwan and we had never been. I begrudgingly changed out of my comfy jeans and tanktop and into shiny – going out clothes…something that rarely rarely happens. I’m just not that high maintenance.

We got a spot at a table with someone Thuvan knows, or had just met, or something. A table overlooking the dj booth and dancefloor. Bottles of whiskey refilling themselves, and pounding pounding music. We danced, we chatted. I met some more canadians (they are everywhere), and an asian guy with a amusing hair do’ from Austrailia. A guy who was a tireless dancer and had some very impressive movies but spoke no english. And a chubby Asian dude who was quite the comic and so so nice. With my heels on I was almost 6 feet tall and a bit intimidating I think for some of the asian guys on the dancefloor, but wound up dancing for a while and hanging out with a guy- Cameron from South Carolina, in town for one night.

All in all, it was nice to get out, talk with people, and generally be a bit ridiculous, or alot ridiculous. Hopefully there will be repeats in the future.

At 4:30 my feet were hurting a bit and dawn was well on its way, so we fell into a cab to head back. Another typhoon was on its way in and the blowing rain definitely woke us up a bit.

My head hurts.Ow.

A whole day of raining and typhoon winds means long naps and lots of advil.

And lesson plans time, getting my affairs all straight so life isn’t so hectic all week. Writing conversations for tutoring Tina’s Aunt and Uncle on Thursday – “Eric and Amy”. I might be getting another tutoring opportunity as well to teach a Wedding makeup-hair stylist english for when she travels to shoots in foreign locations. Wooo I hope she’ll do my makeup for fun sometime.

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Hrmph.

I kind of miss the freedom of the old blog. The solitude of it. I may go visit it again sometime and dust off the old post button. Some melodramatic, overly literary rants will be coming you way soon.

In other news its been a grey semi-anxious day. No reason just one of those days where I feel a pressure from nowhere. Nothing is really good but nothing is really bad.

It might just be because I finished a really really fantastic book last night and so now I am sad that the whole thing is over (Possession by A.S. Byatt). Yes, I get sad when I finish good books because they’re so rare and I wish they could be 80000 pages. But then again if they were that long I probably wouldn’t like them as much as they deserved because they would be too heavy in my purse, and yes I constantly have a book with me at all time. So now I have to go buy another book, and they cost so much in english. Le sigh.

This is why I love libraries. I have the potential to read my wallet empty.

Been working ahead on lesson plans. Bleh. Feeling better about the kindergartners, next week we start sentences…so maybe they aren’t so behind after all. Pish. They know a hell of a lot more than I knew in kindergarten. I remember about a month into kindergarten us having a lesson in how to tie our shoes. For some reason I didn’t know how, and Rachel Martin helped me.

Blahblah, rambling. I need to upload the 349859373 pictures I took yesterday. And yes I did get some of the ridiculous rush hour that is friday even though I came to the MRT later at around 730 instead of 630. Lots of stares – no I’m not a spy, I just like how you guys wait in lines for everything.

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Crotchety Muppets.

This makes me happy.

aaaand. This is for mom, and all the years of sneaking to wash over-loved blankies (ps. I haven’t washed mine the entire time I’ve been here nyaaaaah).

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I did something lame. I got out of the MRT station at City Hall with my heavy ass bag of books/camera/dinner/etc, after a long day of immigration office, sightseeing, work field trips, teaching second graders and an additional hour talking about how the hell Im supposed to teach kindergartners to read words that aren’t tangible objects…..

it was raining.

Standing there in the pounding Friday night crowds its almost 8pm, and I have no umbrella, and the umbrella vendor is across the 6 lane street.

So I look around….

taxi! yessss, taxi. Well well worth the 95$.

In other news today I finally put in my ARC form at the Immigration Bureau, I also took pictures of Longshan Temple which is in the neighborhood (which taking pictures in a place of worship may/may not be offensive but I figure if Steven is going to draw Jesus pictures and say “oh god” all the time, then hey I’m allowed to quietly take pictures from the corner of an open air temple that is gorgeous).

As I was leaving I saw a monk outside sitting with the newspaper and a giant stack of receipts checking his lotto numbers for August.

Hilarious. #1 that the monk has a giant stack of receipts he’s saved from places like 7-11. #2 That he’s taking a break from begging and sitting with the newspaper to check this #3 What does a monk do when he wins the lotto?

I wanted to take a picture but there was no way to not be conspicuous, I was majorly stared at in the Longshan district as it is, because its a mostly poor part of town, very old, very few white people. 2 stares today that were longer than 30 seconds. And 30 seconds is a long long time.

And also. I think I saw my first prostitute down one of the side streets I wandered into. Either that or she was a way overdressed loiterer…and I doubt that.

I went and got an ice at a place near the temple. Mango ice, mmmmm, a giant giant bowl of shaved ice, I was the second customer of the day. The old man before me looked surprised to see me eagerly standing next to him waiting for them to open. I got my bowl and he asked “Hao se?”….I replied “I like” with a big smile, and he clapped at my attempt to speak chinese and said “very good”. This more than anything, this old man and the smiling pie man make me want to learn more and more and more chinese.

Then off to school.

Today is the end of the school unit, So we went on a field trip across the street to NTU – Normal Taipei University – the teaching college. I took my students in a line, holding hands ( so so cute) to the library, the cafeteria, the gym, the dorms, the art rooms, and the piano room where Justin, Thomas, and Athena all majorly showed me up in the piano arena. Dang what happened to those 6 years of lessons? We then went to an open field area and played Bluebird, bluebird (which I taught them yesterday and they love love love its really just London Bridge, but an older rhyme scheme and then threw balls. 5 year olds throwing balls= dangerous. I got pegged in the face twice and Alex got a nose bleed. I took alot of pictures which I’ll post later.

After that sweaty, sweaty, sweaty adventure I had to head straight back and teach 2nd grade for 3 hours. I discovered Robban and George were in the middle of a giant fight. After quite a bit of yelling I deduced that George had bumped Robban and made him spill his water everywhere making a mess, and then had generally mocked him. Robban as the “brains” of the class was really sensitive about the laughing and has a horrible temper. It took about an hour before they quit pestering each other back and forth, while A.d.d. Steven sat in between them laughing maniacally.

But it’s all done. I’m home, half a glass of wine and a delicious bun thing I love from the bakery near school (bread and eggs and pickled cucumbers and spicy ham) and I feel suddenly alot less tired.

Let the weekend commence.

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Simple Simon met a pie man

Hell yeah pie-vendor-sidewalk man. I’ve seen him once a week for three weeks now and he always smiles and says hello, because I’m walking really slow and drooling over his pie. I never stop though

At least until today, when I walked by, then pictured a piece of warm peach pie with ice cream on it, and instantly turned around and walked back.

You can buy them by the slice or the pie, and theres so many kinds, peach, apple, cherry, cheesecake, and then the asian flavors, taro, yam, etc. So I went with peach, though the cherry seriously tempted me.

Midnight pie tonight, I’m holding off till later.

The best 45$ ever spent, also the smiley man taught me how to say “How much is your pie” in chinese……which I have now forgotten, but hey pie-man, thanks for being so helpful, and smiley.

Ok. I promise to stop posting about food all the time. new posts, different things later.

Like why boys carry their girlfriends purses. That is no murse on your shoulder mister that is a hot pink purse. Are all the asian men whipped? Judging by the callous treatment of wives and daughters, no way. This is a Man society…..except when your hot girlfriends shoulders are tired.Then its a wear her purse proudly society….at least until you can marry her and then she has to cook you dinner and wash your socks for the rest of her life. Muahahahaha.

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