I’m comfortably jet lagged now, waking up around 4:30 and winding down around 9pm. Not fighting it.
At 7am I went to the 吉美早餐, the breakfast shop on the corner. I ordered my pork and egg “hamburger” (with lettuce on a sesame seed bun), and chatted with the employees. My Chinese is conversational, but it’s not good conversation. I had a hard time understanding the lady today, as she was wearing a surgical mask. They were amused that I was a Chinese teacher, when my Chinese level was so low, but I told them I was really a Spanish teacher. They lady asked me to teach her “buenos dias” and “gracias” so tomorrow, I told her, we’d only be speaking Spanish.
In the middle of our conversation a truck driver puled a uie around to the grill and shouted his breakfast sandwich order threw the open passenger’s side window. The team flew into action; the laoban took care of the meat at the grill, while bread lady and drink lady got it all ready on their parts. Truck driver stayed in his seat, his truck kind of beached in the intersection, and lit a cigarette. A few minutes later his sandwich was ready and he got out of the truck to pay.
I went exploring in the Daan district; there’s a shopping district between the Fuxing and Dunhua Stations on Zhongxiao. I had a little lunch, which was beef stew over rice, and I pet a black lab puppy.
Later I found myself at Wengu Coffee Shop, where I had an iced coffee and a plain waffle.
I need to say this about coffee in Taipei: it’s good. Every shop has their own roasting equipment. I have had many, many cups of coffee in Taipei, and none of them have been ass. Which is more than I can say for Seattle USA. I wouldn’t say the coffee is as interesting as in Seattle, but it’s across-the-board more consistently fresh roasted, by orders of magnitude more consistent… and that earns huge points in my book.
Later I found myself and another coffee shop in the Ximending district with Aussie L and Squirmy E. After another cup of coffee and some peanut butter cookies, we went out for some sushi at a restaurant which just had a big stick drawing of a fish out front. It was fun, but not the freshest.
After that we went for a Taiwan foot massage. So at this place there were specially mounted chairs over stainless steel foot-soaking sinks. I put my feet into the water (which was yellow with some kind of bath salt) and grit my teeth at how hot it was. Never mind, I said, usually adapt to the heat within a couple of seconds, but then they turned on the Jacuzzi jets and walked away. After a few minutes I realized the water was staying consistently hot, so the dude showed me the cool water control, which subsequently broke off in my hand. He put it back on and cooled down my water in a matter of seconds.
Taiwan foot massage is not about relaxing or feeling good… it’s about health. That means it’s hard, it’s painful, and you feel better afterwards. After a Taiwanese foot massage, my foot muscles throb for hours, I think out of relief that it’s over. I was gritting my teeth and squirming a little during the massage: Squirmy E was all over the place, flipping in her chair like a fish gasping for water.
After that, Aussie L left for a party, and Squirmy E helped me find a Taiwan wallet for 200 kuai. It’s big enough for the big Taiwan bills, but not big enough to irritate me. Also, my metrocard scans through the leather, so I don’t have to take it out to catch a train. Very convenient!
It’s now past 11, and I can’t believe I’ve stayed up this late. No idea what tomorrow will bring.