We make holes in teeth!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Taiwan Day 29 - Just Chillin'

I slept really poorly last night. It may have been the tea at night but more likely it was the bike ride. When I go for really long rides like that, I often times have trouble sleeping. I woke up in the middle of the night ravished, and hit up the fridge for some leftover pizza. After that I felt a bit better and finally seemed to sleep solidly after 4:00 or so. At 7:00, I woke up, not fully rested but enough I guess.

The morning was nothing. We went out for some breakfast and bought 14 pounds of food for $200 NT, or about $6 US. I ate enough food for 2 breakfasts and we fed 3 other people as well, plus an extra soymilk for Lydia. I'm getting spolied by the cheap food here. And it's not fast food by any stretch. The stuff is made right in front of you.

The rest of the morning was spent doing nothing around the house. The kids played and I had a few cups of coffee and generally felt lousy from riding myself into the ground yesterday. I probably should have just slept until 9:00 but my internal clock rings like the start of a Fishbone song by 7:00 and I can't sleep any longer than that.

Around noon the kids started to breakdown so we decided to head out, which meant I was able to drive again. It was nice to be behind the wheel after so long without it, and this car (Volvo something or other) drives well. So it was nice to get out of the house and get out on the road. Traffic wasn't bad and it took us no time to get to the mall.

First stop was lunch which was the standard mall selection, so we each got our own thing with Nat and I getting some vegetarian buffet-like thing where you picked your meal and weighed it. The vegetarian here is nothing like in the US, and you barely even remember you're not eating meat half the time.

After lunch we got a Dunkin Donuts coffee which helped me wake up out of my daze that I had been in since I got up. We then went to the kids pseudo-arcade which was pretty much like Chucky Cheese where you spent a shit ton of money and played games and got tickets. They cashed in the tickets for about $3 of crap which will be gone in a few days. Then we got ice cream and headed out:

On the way out we passed a few betel nut stands that hold with the old tradition of having the girls dress really enticingly, and who are easy to look at. I tried to get a pic real quick but wasn't able to get it in focus. It was a quick shot while trying to drive and follow Calvin, so unfortunately it didn't come out. I may have to get Calvin to drive us out and take some pics before we go.

Another thing I always dig about this country is the constant construction going on. The speed at which projects are proposed, approved, and executed is admirable. This is the MRT (Taipei above ground subway system) line that's being built out to the airport. I'd say that's long overdue:

Next stop was a tea shop across the street from Grace's parents. Calvin and Grace went to see her parents and we went to try out some tea. Calvin had brought us some the last time he came to the states and I really liked it. So we went to buy some and try a few different kinds while we were there. The shop was run by a female monk, which isn't rare but it's also not that common either.

As an aside, I forgot to mention an odd thing from yesterday as I was climbing out of Pinglin. While I was going up the hill, I heard this music which was coming from the valley below. I can only describe it as Buddhist-based, and it was entirely surreal at that moment. It's the kind of thing you'd see in a movie, where the character was wandering lost in the wilderness and came across a temple and heard the music in the distance before he saw it. Not so odd here when you consider the prevalene of temples, but it was coming very loudly from the valley, not a temple I was passing right by.

After the tea shop we had a little time to kill before Calvin and Grace were done so we went across the street to this massive temple that was being built the last time we were there, 9 years ago. It is colossal. None of the pictures came out well because of the lights, but this one is good as it shows you how big the place is, plus the Hollywood Squares effect of the layout. Check the pic link below for more:

We drove back to Calvin's during rush hour and at some point a few cars started to get between us so I hopped in a faster lane and tried to get behind him again. The douche bag wouldn't let me in so I went ahead of Calvin and pulled in front of him. Eventually I lost him, and we had to figure it out and get back ourselves. Nat called Calvin and he told us which exit to take and where to turn, and we had no issue getting back. While it was a little tight driving in spots, it's really nothing crazy. More importantly, I was able to remember which parking garage was his and where I needed to go.

Dinner was noodles and chicken, plus a side veggie from down the road. Nothing unique, though it was good. By the time we wrapped up dinner it was 8:00 and the night was more or less over. In all a pretty low-key day, more kid-based than anything. But I did get to the tea shop which is 1 of the things I wanted to do before we leave.

Random pic of the day is the betel nut girls, but seriously lacking focus:

Full picture set of the day here: Flickr set or slideshow.



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