It felt like I was the main character in a T.V sitcom, one simple quest turned into a night of adventure. I set out after work on Friday to find a phone. I set up a phone number (at 7 where you do everything) the night before and the SIM card I bought didn’t fit my American phone. I figured I’d buy the cheapest one I could find, call it an early night and head home. I walked into the first electronic store I saw. They didn’t phone so one of the workers was trying to explain to me (in Chinese) where I could find one. A Taiwanese girl approached me and asked if I needed help. I explained that I was looking for a phone to fit my SIM card, something cheap nothing fancy. So she told me where some used phone stores were. Her and the guy she was with started talking in Chinese, she said after a minute “We will take you” I told them they didn’t have to go out of their way but they insisted. We visited a few used phone stores, all the way we were talking. They were out doing some last minute shopping for Angel, who was leaving for university in Tinan the next day. The brother and sister pair had both been exchange students in the United States during high school. They said they wanted to help me because people were so nice to them in the U.S when they were there, that’s when I knew they didn’t study in the northeast (Utah and Kansas). At the last phone store I found a phone in my price range, Angel told me not to buy it, she had the same exact one at home that I could have. So, I went home with them. I met their mother, Lisa, who is an English teacher at the local Junior High School, and their youngest sister Annie who is finishing high school, did an exchange in Oregon. I stayed at the Su family household and chatted and looked through family photos for about three hours. I got a new (used) phone, complete with each of the family members cell phone numbers including the home phone and Lisa’s work number.
I must have done something right because they invited me to breakfast the next morning before Angel and Lisa moved Angel into her dorm. Traditional Chinese breakfast, I was so excited, anything had to be better than eating oatmeal every morning for about a month now. David picked me up on his scooter at 8, and we went to a little place right on Jhongjheng road. One of the ones where everything is in Chinese even the prices so I never try to go there. David ordered something for me, he said it was white carrot, so I’m still not sure what it was. But it was like a fried up potato cube, with soy sauce, pretty tasty. I tried some of Angels hers was delicious, fried wide flat noodles wrapped around egg and spinach. After, we went back to the house and got the car to drop Angel and Lisa at the bus station then David and I went to the beach. He said it wasn’t a nice beach, just the closest one to us in Nankan, but I thought it was beautiful (aside from the garbage, maybe I just haven’t seen a beach in a really long time). It had a small marina and a restaurant but not much else, we are on the north-western side of Taiwan so it technically was the China strait we were looking out at, not the ocean.
After the beach David took me on a scooter tour of Nankan, I was scared to ride on it at first, you would be to if you saw the traffic here, but it turned out to be pretty fun weaving in and out of cars and driving on the sidewalk. We got lunch then I had to go to work. Saturday was a makeup day for the upcoming moon festival holiday this Thursday. So we will not work Thursday or Friday this week (four day weekend!!)
Sunday, I planned on meeting up with a fellow ESL teacher living in Taoyuan city. We met at Taipei main station and went to do touristy things in Taipei for the day. First stop; the Taipei Zoo, where I fulfilled my 10 year-old dream of seeing a panda in real life. Here is my journey to the panda;
We attempted to ride the Moakong Gondola, but it was closed due to impending thunderstorms, then headed to Taipei 101. Once the worlds tallest building, (in 2004), now Asia’s tallest building. The defining feature in the Taipei Skyline. In truth its just a really big ugly expensive mall. The view from the top is supposed to be pretty spectacular, but for 500NT a pop, we didn’t think it was worth it for us first-paycheck ESL teachers.
We hit a nightmarket in Longshan really quick for some BBQ corn on a stick and dumplings and headed home. All to get up and teach the next day…
Valar Morghulis, and because all men must live, I will continue living out my dreams past and present, stay posted for the results….