Woke up. 5:30 am. signed to ashley to take a walk with me. tried not to be too loud as there are three other girls in our room.
it is hot here all the time but early morn is cooler. the city is calmer. the herds of scooters have not yet begun to roam. they begin their migration around 7 pm. Walked strait down Linsen Rd which dead ends at Chang Kai Shek park. It is a grand affair. all ponds and pagodas. Maybe 15 or 20 different groups of people doing tai chi. Not all tai chi is the same it seems. some is very Karate Kid, sure, but some looks like a cross between gene kelly and ballet. some people use disks some people use sticks. each group had their own boombox belting out the appropriate tunes. everyone doing it was middle age to ancient. some were doing it up at the top of the monument. some were doing it in the little wooded area. others in the garden. there were singles doing their own freestyle along the banks of the pond. there was a man feeding chunks of white bread to giant coy. many people seemed to think walking backward down stairs was a healthy form of exercise. there was a group of men and one woman at a picnic table. they had large thermoses. what they contained i do not know. they had a tv and microphones set up and they were howling out the numbers to their favorite karaoke. i followed a man who was power walking. as he walked he held his left hand palm side down in front of his body and at regular intervals, like keeping time, he smacked the back of his hand with the back of his right hand. after a few feet he began to pinch his ears. first one then the other very rhythmically, not breaking his stride. after a few more feet he began slapping his kidneys and so forth.
i got back on the street. the scooters were out.
have not given up coffee yet. i know tea is the way here. becoming a discouraged enough in my coffee adventures to switch soon. yesterday's coffee i bought for $25NT which is about 70 cents american. I had no option. it came with milk and sugar. tasted like coffee from a hospital vending machine. good in a pinch. the paper cup it was served in had pictures of little animals, rabbits, horses, turtles-dressed in marching band clothes. on the cup it was written "after opening canned, please did not use the paper cup and stored in the cup barrel." if anyone knows what that means let me know. i think it is important because the cup also let me know that it was "taiwan invention winner of golden brain award".
The phone is....well, the telephone is a great invention; very easy to use, facilitates communication and information exchange with an ease never even conceived of 200 years ago. but it works on a very important premise. You speak the same language as the person on the other end. My sister-in-law, Wanfang, gave me the number of some of her friends here. I was given both the work number and the cell number of one man in particular. Wanfang told me to not just ask for him by name if I called his work, because there was another man with the same first and last name there, I was to refer to him as Jeff K--- and then give his height, which she supplied me with (193 cm). Calling his work the phone was answered by an automated woman's voice. I didn't know whether she was asking me to wait on the line, or enter an extention number or that the office is closed call back later, or what. So I typed in 193. Then it hung up on me. I tried his cell phone. An answering machine picked up said something then beeped. I began to speak "ni how, wo shi Andrew mei mei" and then the answering machine voice came on again and it beeped again so i don't know if i left a message or not. I gave the phone to Ashley. She called his cell. He picked up. She spoke to him "wo shi pong yo Helen" and then continued in English. I am glad i know his height. We are meeting him for Lunch.
I have not been out of my neighborhood much yet. I am itching to move around the city. I am staying close to the others till we get our bearings.
Last night, Megan and I found a coffee shop that looked promising. Along the walls were records of Coltrane and Miles Davis and 60s hippy jazz and stuff. We walked in and the guy next to the turn table pulled out a selection just for us. Coldplay. We have to learn how to communicate with these people soon. I hate Coldplay.