We make holes in teeth!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taiwan Day 31 - Another Quarry Fail

This morning, a cold wet day awaits me. Again. But with 2 days off previous to this one, I'm going out on the bike, hell or proverbial high water. I suited up and took the McCruiser to the quarry again - the original quarry, up to 4000 feet vertical was the plan. I had 3 hours this time, which I assumed was enough to get me there & back in time.

I got to the bottom of the hill and the quarry wasn't running, the lot was empty of cars, and the area was quiet. Perfect, since it was raining. I got to the bottom of the climb and the gate was down. No matter, I went around and hoped nobody would care. A guy was in the small booth at the bottom, but either didn't care or didn't see me, and I was on my way. Things are just different here. No way that flies in the US.

The road goes up fast, faster than I remembered. This was my 3rd ride of the trip, way back on day #4, and it seemed steeper today. I guess my legs are getting tired of these hills. Some of them were downright brutal today, and they kept going up and up and up. The start of the climb was the toughest.

There was really no novelty to this ride, as I had done it before. And unlike the other quarry, there aren't any remnants of any sort to keep the cool factor high. Still, it was a climb, and I climbed. The one cool thing was that the rock conveyor was running, which I still find wildly interesting for some reason:

At 1300 feet up, I heard a dreaded motorcycle coming up the road, and figured my day was over. But before I actually saw the guy he yelled, "jia you," and then when he saw me he said, "Very good!" Another guy followed him, making no eye contact and saying nothing. I never saw them again, and saw nobody else on the way up.

This ride was a drag, for a few reasons. First of all it was pissing rain half the time and as I went up the temps dropped more and more. By the end it was probably 35-40 degrees and raining - sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally. Being soaking wet and wearing spring gloves, this wasn't great for my hands. In the open areas the wind was hammering me. But more than anything, at around 2200 feet up, the rock conveyor took a left, I took a right, the cloud cover seemed to triple, and I entered an eerie world.

I was in the middle of No Man's Land, no noise, no visual, no heat. It was kinda tough mentally to like it up there, and one thought kept running through my head. A few weeks ago someone on Facebook posted this status, "I'm pretty sure that hell is cold." As I was riding up at 3000 feet today, I felt like the river Styx was going to come into view at any moment.

Then in an absolutely unpredictable turn, the road started going down. WTF?

This wasn't what I wanted. And to make a somewhat long ride story shorter, I ran out of time, yet again. As I was rolling along I looked at the GPS and it said 11 miles and 2700 feet vertical. I had lost 300 feet, and still had 3 miles to go. I was 1:44 in and said I'd only be out for 3 hours. I wasn't going to make it, yet again. I was both ok with it, and somewhat annoyed that the road didn't just go up and get to 4000 and be done with it.

So I turned around, and started going down and making my hands colder than they already were, I stopped to take a video, here's the raw footage from today. This one is only 1:18, shorter than yesterday:

The view from the gates of hell

When I got back to the apartment, the freaking shower gave me a short warm shower then turned cold. The washing machine stopped on its own 3 times. I have a water demon possessing me today.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent getting ready to go up to Taipei again. Not exactly sure why we did this quick hit & run, though we were running on bare bones the first trip, meaning minimal clothes, and more importantly limited bike clothes and none of the computers. Sometimes I can travel light, but with the bike and work/play involved, it can get a little heavy.

Drove back up to Taipei and decided to hit up Taipei 101 on the way to Calvin's, since we had some time to kill. At this point, between the driving in this city and the bike explorations, I'm pretty sure I'm comfortable doing almost anything here. I imagine a lot of people would look at this trip and think I'm a little crazy, but it's really just a state of mind. That mindset is more or less: whatever, it all works out.

As usual, I can't get enough:

We tooled around at the mall there, and saw more white people there than in the rest of the trip combined. We didn't buy anything because it's probably one of the most expensive malls on Earth. But we did get some food, which of course meant KFC for Julia. Our dinner was some rice, veggies, and chicken.

Dessert was something different. Red beans, green beans, and rice noodles in a sweet concoction, with ice. I've had it before, but never taken a pic. Some might have a problem eating beans as a dessert. Once you get over that mental hurdle this stuff is really good:

We went shopping at this place called Jason's, which is apparently some sort of White People's Hangout, as I then saw even more white people than before. I guess they all shop here, which is too bad because it's f-tarded expensive. I found some Rogue Dead Guy Ale but at $4 a bottle, I'll pass. I also saw a quite attractive blonde girl shopping there, which is pretty rare here. The white guys here are generally good/average-looking guys. But my experience is that most of the white women who come here are the sort who audition for the part of Large Marge in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. So it was a bit of an oddity. Sorry T, I tried but the pic was way too blurry.

On the way out, another pic:

Driving was a bit annoying coming back but I think even Nat would attest at this point that my skills in this city are progressing quite well. I have to say, they give a license to any blind moron.

Back up to Calvin's around 7:00, hung out and so on. Opened up a bottle of red wine and it went straight to my head. I suppose I was a bit low on food today, which is good since I'm sure I could stand to have a few negative calorie days before this trip is over. I'm going to guess that the last 2 weeks will be plenty of eating, since it's new year's and all. It's good to be fully operational again. So when I wake up, if it's raining sideways I'll be able to go out and be reasonably prepared for it.

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



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