Saturday, September 13, 2008

Baby's First Typhoon (also other things)

Our first typhoon hit Friday, Typhoon Sinlaku.  By "hit," I mean grazed.  Taipei is in a bit of a valley between mountains, and most of the wind and weather gets absorbed by them.  It's mostly just rained a lot.  All day, in fact.  Since Friday night, in fact.  So far it has rained for a solid 36 hours and counting.

But back to the beginning of your time without me (I know, it's been agonizing, hasn't it?):  That club that I mentioned last Saturday was full of a bunch of wàiguórén who all seemed pretty desperate to find mixed drinks, make outs, or both.  Neither The Wife nor I were particularly interested in seeking out either, so we avoided the bar area and went straight up to the dance floor.  Chris and Debby were at the club, nearly passing out from the jet lag.  We talked to them for a bit, then danced for a while until the press of people and music got to be a little too soaked in desperation, after which we came home.

On Wednesday Betty died, after having refused to eat anything at all since she arrived.  In taking her out to the garbage, I very smoothly forgot that our outer door locks automatically, and locked myself out.  Katy wasn't due back for another 4 hours, so I went down to the guard of the building and played the Stupid Foreigner card.  He kindly called a locksmith, who showed up in after about 10 minutes.  Perhaps it would be more accurate, actually, to say lockpick.  He was a charming old fellow as dextrous as a monkey, and got our door open distressingly quickly.  I want to learn.

On my way home from the Sanchong school the other day, I stopped in a bookstore/office supply shop to get a pencil case (ubiquitous items here), and I saw a copy of Blankets in Chinese.  Kudos to Craig Thompson for that.  Or his agent/publisher, I suppose.  It was a little jarring to see an American graphic novel authored and illustrated by a Midwesterner sitting on the shelf in the local office-supply/book store.  I guess it's not an industry entirely overrun with manga.

On Thursday, Katy and I brought our paperwork to the National Immigration Agency/Ministry of the Interior, the inside of which bore a striking resemblance to the DMV, and waited for a few hours to begin processing our ARCs (Alien Resident Certificates).  There was a very cute little girl in front of us who kept staring and making faces.  I tried to get her to take a picture with my camera, but she steadfastly refused.

Both of my schools had their Autumn Festival feasts this week.  This consisted of grilling various meats and vegetables (mostly bell peppers and mushrooms) and tofu on a portable grill, eating them with pig knuckles (for those inclined...I wasn't) and moon cakes, and drinking tea.  It was very informal, and a little bit like an indoor office picnic with a barbecue.  The one at Sanchong was on Tuesday, and School 8's was Friday.  While we were eating at School 8, Kojen announced that, due to the Typhoon, classes would be cancelled from 7:00 for the rest of the weekend.  There was much celebration.  One of the FTs promptly went and bought a bunch of beer.  I ducked out and got tea with Annie, one of the new CTs, who kindly showed me around the area and talked about religion and faith with me until I decided I should head home.

My route home from School 8 requires two transfers on the MRT, and at the first one I found myself walking behind a couple of wàiguó gentlemen who were chattering away in English.  I couldn't believe my luck.  One of them was Sebastian, who was in China with Chris and I back in 2005.  He took me along for cheese sandwiches with his friends (they were a pleasant bunch) and we caught up a bit.  He has promised to show us the way to telephonic communication later this week.  We may yet join the legions of the socially available.

We have spent the rainy weekend indoors, enjoying the Typhoon Days (like snow days, only with big, playful, tropical storms!) by watching all three of the Bourne movies, catching up on our respective writings and laundries, and being generally useless to society (which is also useless to us until the rain lets up a bit).  I went out this morning (and by morning I mean afternoon, even by our time) and Found A Grocery Store.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered the shining beacon of sustenance, from whence all nourishment will hereafter issue.  It was really close.  Seriously, it was about two doors away.  I was thoroughly embarrassed after asking after it's whereabouts when the very helpful gentleman led me a whole 30 feet away.  I didn't even really need an umbrella.

But hey, now we have food.


Hobbes said...

What, your forays out of vegetarianism don't include pig knuckles? For shame, Ms. McMullin. For shame.

mishymc said...

I scoff at your typhoon!! It rained here nearly the same amount of time (thanks to a tropical storm -Lowell, and a hurricane-Ike). Our rain totals were 9.5"
Aunty M