Tuesday, this morning I awoke and went for a run around Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. I ran up the 89 steps of the monument that represent each year of the dictator's life and back down them. Returned home by a different route. Found some graffiti near the National Taiwan University Women's Dormitory. I don't think the graffiti is related to the domicile. I would like to find more. I should get a camera or convince one of my travel mates to lend me theirs. I jogged past one of the morning street sweepers. These are women. They where hats that are round, like farmers wear in the rice paddies pictured on Chinese restaurant walls back home. The street cleaners' hats are covered with reflective orange and black material. These women wear reflective orange vests and are obviously municipal workers. They sweep the streets with brooms they assemble themselves out of twigs they tie into bundles. I know this because I watch a woman construct her broom this morning. I don't know what kind of twigs they are.
Showered at the hostel and tried to fix my computer which has been uncooperative for the last couple of days. If I was successful, you will be able to read this.
The Madam (for that is what the Philippine maid calls the Taiwanese woman who manages the hostel) asked everyone in the common room if they wanted something from "the good breakfast place". I'd already eaten my toast and apple, but the others gave her money for breakfast. They are now eating bread sandwiches. Well, it is kind of a soft cibatta shaped roll, some scrambled egg and a soft bread stick, like a churro also in the middle. They wash is down with soymilk.
Eating off the street is very easy. It is hard to find fresh produce besides Fruit and Mushrooms. It is easy to find ready-made tofu treats, and chicken feet and roasted cuttlefish and noddles and pork and tea eggs.
7-11 is the world.
There is a 7-11 every two or three blocks in the busier parts of town. In the more remote areas they are every 4 blocks apart. At 7-11 you can buy whiskey, phone cards, make photo copies, order books in English, buy spicy beef soup flavored Lays potato chips (or roasted chicken potato chips if you prefer), pen ink, cigarettes with pictures of rotting teeth, blackened lungs and smoking bellies, and did is mention you can buy whiskey? It is my sadness to inform some of my friends they have no taquitos here, but big bites are still abundant. They are next to the giant vat of hardboild eggs floating in a black liquid. 7-11 in Taiwan is like a tee-shirt I saw yesterday "Impossible is nothing".
I owe this blog a Sunday and Monday but I have little patience, I want to go to the Eslite bookstore (open 24 hours), so I will be brief.
I met with a cousin of a friend of the family. He is a Canadian Jamaican. He has lived in Taipei for 10 + years. He has a Taiwanese wife, Susanna, and two beautiful children under age seven. We made arrangements to meet with each other over the phone. We went to what seemed to be an American chain restaurant, though I'd never heard of it- Gordon Bierche? It was a Steak house. All of the staff had protective anti H1N1 masks on. I felt like I was being served in a hospital, but my companions were great. I told Susanna and Ted that I will babysit their children anytime. I think Nicolas and Alexa would help me with my chinese.
There is an American man in the hostel who is sneezing. This makes me angry. Yesterday Ashley Megan and I got a prepaid cell phone, a number and a phone card.
We applied for jobs. I sneezed three times. I made soup.
I had an accident with mung beans.
I went to bed early.
I had a dream I was in the forest and was mugged by bears who attacted me with rice cookers.
The heat here makes for strange dreams.