As it comes closer to coming home, I’m fixing my jetlag almost back to normality. I woke up around 9 & took the daily ritual walk around the block w my uncle for breakfast. I had a green onion egg, and ‘fan-twan’ which is a bunch of rice squeezed over shredded dried pork & ‘you-tiau’ deep fried bread type thing, can’t describe, and Soy Milk!! Every morning it’s a variety of breakfast with fresh soy milk they brew in a huge tin pot.
At noon time I head out for an hour of shopping at Shin-min-ding, where I’m staying. Everything is so cheap. I spent about 100 US$ on 10 items. 3 gladiator sandals, a braided maroon/brown belt, a green native-indian lookin shawl, a leather black vest, a light brown suede vest… then I pushed myself home before I bought more non-sense.
At 3 in the afternoon, 3 expresso’s later, I met with Daniel, another random friend I met through this Fun Taiwan ordeal at the Taipei Main station – a crossroad, the known intersection of MRT subways, common place to meet, largest station to connect to any of the 4 lines – red, blue, green, brown. It also has a huge food court w some amazing food! We had planned just to get coffee, but then decided on going to Dan-Shui.
Dan-Shui is an old port by the riverbend, an old town. I sensed a Dutch influence, Portugese style lamps along the boardwalk and Dutch-Catholic churches (They conquered in the 15th Century). We got there through 30 minutes on the subway. It’s a very relaxing old town, objects (restaurants/buildings) spread out, schools on field trips, a slower pace of life than Taipei. Then again, any where in Taiwan is a slower pace than the big city. Along the boardwalk were many arcades catered to kids and locals selling overpriced things. We decided to catch a boat to Fisherman’s wharf, another port down the block. There were other options like Bali (not associated with the one in Indonesia’s). 3$ and it rode us down the river, past beautiful sites of buildings and churches.
We walked to the end of the Boardwalk at Fisherman’s wharf and saw hundreds of kids at field trip, and turned right back out of claustrophobicness to a more deserted area at the end. Coffee? Nah, let’s get alcohol instead. We stopped by the 7/11 and each got a Taiwan beer and a small bottle of Suntory (Japanese) whiskey. It’s legal to drink in public here. So we situated ourselves on a deck, and discussed everything and anything about life. Daniel lives 15 min away from my home in the states, so there were mutual friends & Ideas.
As the sun set, we wandered like the 2 true Taiwanese nomads we are to another boardwalk. We walked as far as the platform allowed us to closest to the sunset, until we could go no more and sat on the floor again. All we needed was a guitar and a cowboy hat to collect some change. There, we exchanged answers on “Life is… [fill in the blank]..” among other existential ideas on kindred spirits, life, family, pursuit of happiness, stability, floating souls. It was a chapter out of ‘Before Sunrise’ movie. Some ideas were “Life is… Beautiful”.. “Life is… limitless”.. Daniels “Life is.. Living in the moment. Moment to moment.”
It got dark around 7:30 so we hopped on the subway towards home, stopped by Chi-Da night market around 8 to meet with Sarah (Australian candidate) & her Costa Rican friends for a bit to say farewell as she’s boarding a plane to Phillipines tomorrow morning. Then Daniel & I decided on Roxy Jnr Cafe for some bland Expat style Western food. The food was tasteless but the ridiculous conversations flowed so it didn’t matter much. Finally we walked away from the night scene, towards the moon, and into another random bar for 1 beer to end the night. By 11, I was exhausted again and needed to head home & scrub myself clean from the Taiwan musty humid air.