Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On The Bright Side

In Which My Internet Is Still Not Working (Sorry)

My friends, I have found the Promised Land. It is a five-minute walk from my front door and goes by the name of 1868. It is, perhaps, the best coffee shop I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing since the Black Cat, and that, dear readers, is saying something.

You don’t know how amazing a decent sandwich on multigrain bread with real cheddar cheese is until you’ve subsisted on oil soaked vegetables and variations on noodles with cabbage for a year. It was marvelous. They make their own bread and their own coffee, and the tea that Tiffany served me was excellently prepared. She used a timer.

Tiffany is the Taiwanese woman behind the counter. I get the impression that she’s also the manager. She’s cheerful and talkative and has a heterochromic cat named Xiao Naiyou, because his fur is not quite white. She has pictures of him on her laptop, and happily displayed them. She had her laptop out because she was playing a game on Facebook in which she was the … manager of a restaurant called 1868. Somewhere, BenoĆ®t Mandelbrot is chortling in delight.

And speaking of the French, I’ve met my only neighbor. His name is Alex, he’s French, he works in logistics, and he’s learning very basic Chinese from me. He’s also leaving in two weeks, which means that I will have the entire floor to myself for the foreseeable future. At least until this internet thing gets fixed. It’s been nice to know someone here. Leaving Kojen was absolutely without question the best thing I possibly could have done, but it was nice having friends at work. In time, I’m sure, I’ll get to know my co-workers at Columbia.

In the mean time, I’ve reconnected with Sarah and am still hanging out with a few of my old co-workers. Yuki and I took a trip down to Hualien this past weekend to see Taroko Gorge. It was pretty, and big, but not quite as impressive as I’d been led to believe. Nevertheless, we had a good time walking around and relaxing. We stayed the night in a charming little bed and breakfast that had a few live birds in a stack of old-fashioned cages and a miniature Chihuahua named Muffin.

With that, friends, I'll leave you for the time being.

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