I got up yesterday and walked through the neighborhood. I started by ducking into the labyrinth of the morning market alleys. I’m pretty sure the morning market is a place that would frighten my students; they’d find it dank and unsanitary. What I see, on the other hand, is obscenely fresh and outrageously perfect produce, spectacular seafood, and immaculate butcher stands, spaced there among the clothing and housewares vendors. There are also deli stands and breakfast counters.
I found my way out and kept walking through the neighborhood. I found the Indonesian restaurant which Aussie L has forbidden me to go; next to it was a breakfast shop. I ordered a 豬排蛋餅, which is a spam-like slice of meat and a fried egg, rolled into a crêpe and sliced into pinwheels, served with a little spoonful of gravy.
They didn’t have any sugar free iced coffee, so I ended up going to another place. But when I went to order the coffee, something possessed me to order the craziest looking thing on the menu. Imagine my chagrin. It was a “German sausage” (i.e., fancy hot dog) hash-cut like a squid, some strange-but-delicious dry chunks of chicken, a salad with thou-z-isle dressing topped with diced apples and pears, plus two slices of toast george-foreman-pressed with an egg baked inside. So there’s that.
I spent some time there writing and facebooking, and then went back to my bunk and took a cool shower. I have my own shower, and I take several throughout the day here. The first one of the morning is soapy and scrubby; the subsequent two or three throughout the day are just to wash the heat off of my skin. After this summer I will have evolved into an amphibian.
Later, I go out to meet Aussie L for lunch, but of course while waiting for him I bumped into 喬丹 and Taiwan Amy, who were on their way to a pool party! Not long after, L showed up and we cabbed to The Diner, an American-style brunch-all-day type of place. I got the salmon hash and two eggs over medium, which I had no business ordering because (one) Pacific Northwesterners like me should JUST. NOT. order salmon when we’re on the road, and (two) I had just eaten two breakfasts only a couple of hours earlier. Anyway, the salient feature of this restaurant, in my mind, is that they provided tubs that sat at the foot of your table, so you can put down your expensive purse or backpack without letting it touch the floor. I thought that was brilliant, as we don’t have that technology in the United States.
L had a thang to take care of after lunch, and I had a stomach ache, we went to cab back to our neighborhood. On the way, though, L wanted to stop for a respectable coffee, and got into a crazy extroverted conversation with the locals, as he is prone to do. At first I was like “tummy ache, go home” but I realized I was hanging in with most of the conversation There was age guessing, discussions of patriotism and culture, there was an idiom lesson, and then at the end I might have promised to return there every day to chat with them.
When that was finally over, I went back to my bunk for another shower and a ukulele siesta. A ukulele siesta is when I practice ukulele during the siesta hour instead of taking a siesta. Then there was some reading and some snoozing maybe, and I felt silly hiding in my room like that, but it’s HOT OUT. I noticed that there was a swastika in my linoleum floor tiles. Do you see it?
Later I did go out, bought a laundry bag and a washcloth, and a balaybayan; a clippy hanger to clip my socks to as they dry. I stopped for a mango soft-serve in a cone and took a grouchy selfie. I didn’t want to take a selfie, everyone was making me.
Today is Sunday. My classes start on Tuesday, and I’m not sure that my adventures here are going to get any more exciting than these past three days. I came to Taiwan to study and write, and not necessarily to have cinematically edgy adventures involving rental cars, cockroaches, or New Zealanders. I want to warn you now that the adventure blogging might have already climaxed, and for the next month you’ll be seeing more of the same; meal reports, photos of produce, and angry selfies with fruity snacks. We’ll see.
I learned a lot of words yesterday and forgot them all. Oh wait, I learned to call an ice cream cone a 餅乾。 Tada!