Thursday, May 12, 2011

Apocalypse Later

Swishy Shorts

Remember the Seinfeld episode where George holds out for a clothing sale before buying a nice suit but the suit ends up making a “whooshing” noise wherever he walks? He is so paranoid about the suit’s whooshing that he is sure it is going to be the reason for him not getting a job that he interviewed for. In the end he doesn’t get the job, but not because of his whooshing suit, instead because he refuses to eat from a dessert ordered by his prospective boss.

In my last two years of high school (my introduction to Canada) at times I was the source of much amusement to a number of people, including some of my closest existing friends, with things such as my strange accent, mannerisms or the way I dressed. I even garnered the South Park inspired nickname of “Pip” which even one of my teachers used for referring to me on occasion. Along with these ways in which I stood apart, I also had a reputation for the “swishy shorts” that I wore in gym class and, as you can guess, made a distinct “swishing” noise wherever I walked or ran. It was never a source of grief for me and I think I appreciated the comedy in the matter as much as any of my friends did.

Well my latest incarnation for the accoutrement accolades is my “squeaky shoe”. I don’t know when, where or how it happened, but at some point since leaving Calgary my left sneaker has started making a distinct and loud “squeak!” every time I lift my foot to take another step. If the shoe had a personality and a hidden agenda then I’m sure it would be to drive my crazy before we leave Taiwan. Having packed light, you can understand that these are the shoes I brought to wear pretty much everywhere, pretty much everyday. I did bring one pair of much smarter shoes which may soon ascend to the position of “every day” if I can’t fix the issue with the sneaker. So far I’ve tried varying the way I walk in a number of different ways while attempting to keep the altered stride imperceptible. Much to my avail, I’ve found that the only thing that works is for me to adopt the most absurdly exaggerated “quasimodo”-like hobble, something that would lead any onlooker to believe I’m in need of not only physical assistance but mental assistance as well!!!!

Moving on.

This women is white!!!

Yesterday Amanda and I stopped in at a make-up store to get some concealer for the small tattoos on Amanda’s wrists. Amanda is interviewing for some ESL Teaching positions and wanted to appeal to the more conservative Taiwanese values of her prospective employers. While I lurked in the corner Amanda was attended to by two very friendly Taiwanese ladies that I would estimate to have been in their thirties.

The two attendants worked on applying a variety of different concealing products to the tattoos in an attempt to find a colour match to Amanda’s skin tone. It took a while. The whole time this was happening the one attendant was repeating to the other the phrase “bai se, bai se, bai se”. In Mandarin “bai se” means white. So it seemed that the one attendant was in awe at how white Amanda is. Fair enough, even amongst Canadians Amanda would be considered “fair skinned”, so to a Taiwanese person she must be quite the exception!

Apocalypse Later

You might have seen something in the news about the Taiwanese “Doomsday Blogger” that has been “causing widespread panic throughout the island”. Well I certainly haven’t seen evidence of any mass hysteria.

Anyway, I’m glad to say that his/her doomsday predictions did not come true and yesterday (May 11th) passed without a magnitude 14 earthquake, without a 170 meter tall tsunami and without Taipei 101 toppling over.

New Hostel

Yesterday we also moved to Hamasen Hostel, our new digs for the next week. We learnt that hamasen is a Japanese word and apparently “hama” means “by the sea” while “sen” means “train" or "rail road”. The hostel as well as the surrounding community is referred to as Hamasen because it used to be “downtown” during the Japanese occupation as well as being... by the sea and by the rail road. Goods that were brought into dock were transferred to rail and shipped throughout the island.

The hostel itself is considerably cheaper than our last stay. We don’t really mind the place at all other than for the air conditioning not working terribly well and the fact that there is construction going on during the daytime right outside of our window. By right outside of our window I mean to say that there are construction workers standing outside of our window at our level with pneumatic drills and concrete cutting saws.

Earplugs please!

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