this morning i got dressed and walked down to the 7-11 and used the atm to make sure it should work for tim (who will be here in a few days). my card worked okay. and for the record, the exchange rate through an atm is way better than at the airport. the airport gave me 26:1, while through the atm i got 32:1 (and just slightly below that even if you count the pulse international fee which was $2.81 i think.) and i bought a strawberry and banana smoothie, and another apple milk and strawberry milk tea. i drank the malt milk this morning and it was good, just milk with malt in it.
after ash got home, we went to meet the german guy chris. we went to the same market/shop area we were at yesterday. we ate at a korean place. i had beef and rice with a fried egg on top of it, plus a side plate with some rice noodles, vegetables, and some peanuts cooked in soy sauce or something with sesame seeds...i thought they tasted kind of fishy, but i ate them anyway. turns out they have sardines or something as well. my chopstick style has improved, although i've gone to some kind of western modified grip that i don't think is quite a common traditional style. but it's close...it's not like i'm using them as spears or something.
from there we walked for awhile, went past a large park, and ended up in a more ritzy area of taipei. we went to a coffee house that serves coffee in a japanese style. it's a little expensive, but you're also paying for the presentation and stuff. you order your coffee, then they bring out a tray with a coffee cup, a second cup, a carafe, and a ceramic filter cup that has a paper filter with the type of ground coffee you ordered. there is also a small spoon, and two small stemware glasses with cream and natural sugar. they give you the cup with the coffee grounds for you to smell (sort of like people do with wine, i suppose). they put the ceramic cup with the paper filter and coffee over the carafe, then they come back with a metal pot full of hot water with a long, thin, angled spout and the take a couple of minutes pouring water into the grounds. they are very methodical about pouring in circles, stopping at times to let some pour through, until they've poured enough. they move the ceramic filter cup over the extra cup, then put some water that was in the coffee cup (not sure why the water is in it) into the grounds. after that they pour the coffee from the carafe into the coffee cup. and now it's ready for you to drink. we spent a couple of hours there.
chris had to leave, then ash and i waited for awhile and then met the korean guy jun (sp? it's the first part of his name, pronounced like "june"). we all walked and took the subway (mrt) to a place called kiki's. there was a party for a guy ash knows. there were about a dozen people there, almost all of them who study ancient chinese language, taoism, etc. i.e., a bunch of academics and scholars and such. i had some hot rice wine (or something), some plum juice cider (or something), and some rice and beans with some meat and peppers and such. there was other stuff, but i wasn't much interested in it. i felt kind of out of place there mostly. i went to the bathroom before we left, and it was...i guess it's japanese style. it's not western style. it was like the one i saw in the airport in japan.
jun parted ways with ash and i, and ash and i took the subway back to his place. a little later we headed over to 45 and jun met us there. i had a b-52 and a white russian, then later a grasshopper. jun parted ways with us again, then ash and i went to a club called roxy 99. ash wanted to show it to me because it's where a lot of non-locals go to party and pick up women. on the way there a white guy and an asian guy were standing by a building and the white guy said "is that for the lucky 13 club in california?" (i have been wearing my lucky 13 "born to lose" jacket because it's been chilly.) we talked to them a bit, but they were sorta cool partying players. once in roxy 99, it was sort of a typical kind of rock/dance club. they played a lot of current u.s. top 40 and dance songs, as well as a lot of popular older classic alt and dance songs. i'm not a big fan of rock and dance clubs, but it was kind of nice because there were quite a number of people, both local and non, and people were pretty willing to talk to other people (over the loud music). the cover price included a drink ticket, so i got a rum and coke. ash immediately saw some people he'd talked to before, so he went over and talked to them. i went, but mostly stood there. i talked to one girl for awhile, then ash introduced me to some danish guys he'd met before. they had a swedish guy with them who had a style/look similar to me (blue jeans, black tshirt, wallet chain, long goatee, very short hair. the swedish guy bought me a carlsberg beer. it turned out the danes and swedish guy were all coders for cell phones. then a drunk white chick (maybe canadian?) brought tequila shots over to the table and so i did about 1.5 shots of tequila. then later she kept trying to get me to dance. the turncoat ash tried to make me dance with her too. eventually she got me to the dance floor, but i wouldn't dance. then a white guy came by and said she was his friend and i better be careful with her. which was funny, since i was trying to not do anything with her. she later said he was a really famous dj. later he came by and asked me what i thought of some song playing. it was some popular dance/rap song i guess, but i didn't really know it. i said i thought it was okay and he just kind of stared at me and then turned and walked away. a little later i started talking to a white guy and it turned out he was from Texas. he'd been here about 6 years, doing s.a.t. and math tutoring. he's from mcallen. so we talked for awhile. then he bought me a heineken. he knew the girl that had tried to get me to dance, plus he also knew the dj. evidently is a well-known dj here, and gets paid to get flown to casinos and dj parties and such. and was evidently blitzed because it was a vacation for him (due to chinese new year). i also kept having to talk to this taiwanese guy who ash had told i was divorced. he kept coming up to me and hugging me and giving me condolences and supportive advice. he said he'd been married to a white girl and lived in canada for 22 years and had two kids, but he was now divorced two years and had come back to taiwan. but everything had changed and he didn't have access to his old job and he had no family here anymore. anyway, the guy from Texas and i talked quite a bit. most of the time ash was off hitting on chicks. we ended up staying there until about 4:30am. i guess the bars don't close at 2am here.
i didn't really figure i'd enjoy the place all that much, and i definitely drank more than i had planned (although i was okay), but it turned out to be kind of nice because i got to talk to a fair number of different people and met some people. although i had to talk over pretty loud music most of the time, which i generally prefer to not have to do. and there were some girls there i would have liked to meet and talk to (although i'm sure it wouldn't have turned out good in any way), but i didn't because i'm me.