Last night for dinner I met Aussie L and J down by 師大 Shida. It was a pretty different experience than what I am used to; very individualistic. You get your on pot of broth with your own heater. You order your own plate of meat and you get your own bouquet of veggies and fish cakes. While your broth is coming to a boil, you get up and get your own damn sauce from the mix-it-your-damn-self sauce bar. If you don’t like how it tastes, it’s your own fault.
Later you can help YOURSELF to a bowl of ice cream… which you reach into the case to serve YOURSELF. I had black sesame flavor.
There was a drink later, and then back in a cab to the hotel for some jet lagging. I feel like I went to bed around 10. By 2am I was awake again, and by 4am I decided to just get up.
The highlight of my day comes at 7am, when the breakfast buffet opens. Yesterday, it was Canadians. Today, it was a boisterous herd of hard-working-looking Chinese folks who piled their plates high and who didn’t know what the fruits were. The men sounded like they had food in their mouths even when they didn’t. I shared my table with a lady who asked me what passion fruits were (百香果!). I asked, and of course they were Beijingers, of course they were.
My table mate wasn’t into the passion fruit… too sour. She didn’t like the half baby potato, served in foil and topped with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles either. She did, however marvel at the chicken nuggets, which she had never had before. Chicken meat, I said! Later she got up and served herself a bunch more.
I cannot wait to see who will be down there tomorrow.
After breakfast, I went back up to the frozen tundra of my room, read some guide books and tried to plan what I was going to do with my day. I’m really not a sight-seeing kind of guy; so anyplace where I have to pay to look at old things and then leave empty handed is out; that means no historical museums or landmarks, bleck!
I haven’t yet done the old “temple-in-the-mist” shot yet, but there is time. Until then you can look at this guy’s shots.
So the area around Taipei 101 is a huge luxury shopping center; there were so many high-end designers I began to despair. Phones, handbags, designer clothes… that’s it. Those are the only kinds of stores I’ve seen. Seriously, I have know idea where Taiwanese people buy pencils.
This the only part of town I’ve seen that isn’t dominated by shady sidewalk colonnades, There was a long row of hundreds orange bikes that you could rent with your Youyou transportation card.
All of these buildings had wrap around balconies, and most were connected by a system of skybridges. For your safety, many buildings are equipped with safety slings, for those occasions when you lose your damn mind. Also, try not to get distracted by the typo in item #7.
On my way back to the hotel, I had a great conversation with a chatty cabbie, who gave me a lesson, complete with lecture notes. Here, he writes my words of the day:
Those black triangles on the train station platform indicate the direction that passengers flow; exiting passengers through the center, entering passengers through the sides. Not pictured: separate doors for fat people.
Just kidding, I’m the only fat person on this island.
Anyway, it was a Sunday afternoon, and the the trains and train stations were mostly empty.
The characters at the bottom read: WARNING: POMMEL HORSE STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
I went back to my cafeteria here in the hood for dinner. Fried fish fillets, garlic shoots, something called “bocai,” deep fried kong pao chicken, “longxin cai,” and a stuffed bean curd.
Tomorrow? 9:30 lesson, then maybe Danshui. We’ll see.