today i got up fairly late, and tim and ash and i sat around the apartment and talked for some time about various stuff. ash was giving tim and myself some time, which also gave him some time to do things he'd not been able to do since i was here, so we wondered off in search of some food. this whole week being the observance/celebration of chinese new year, it's still hard to find places that are open. we were planning on going to the night market, but i turned too soon or too late or something, so we just kind of wandered around some other areas kind of near ash's school. eventually we saw a sign down a side street that said "kgb". we went over to it and it was "kiwi gourmet burgers". we decided to eat there. i had the special for the day, which was a mango-jalapeno burger. it came with fries, and i added cheese and bacon. and a coke. man, that food was good. i sort of felt like i was cheating by eating food i'd normally eat, but i soothed my conscience by saying it was new zealand food and not u.s. :) we sat in there for a pretty long time, getting free refills and talking. i later told ash about the place and he'd heard of it but never been there.
we left kgb and headed into the mrt (subway), where "true north" tim hustled us onto a departing train. headed the wrong way. i figured it out after about 5 stops without ever seeing the guting stop. we went pretty far south, but we hopped out and got on the correct train. we went topside and it was a different world. perhaps i should explain. living where ash does, i think it's probably a pretty accurate depiction of most of taipei (and probably most of big city living in taiwan, although i don't know that for sure). the place we were at now was the area around taipei101, a building which held the honor of being the tallest building in the world for several years (in fact, until just a month or two ago when the place in dubai opened up). the neighborhood around taipei 101 could be any big metropolitan city of the world: tokyo, new york, etc. no mopeds but cars, lots of buses and taxis, huge typical multi-story print ads for cartier, prada, or whatnot. we walked through a huge mall structure with movie theaters, burberry, dolce and gabbana, and all kinds of very expensive stores and places to eat. it wasn't "local" at all. if i had been on business or visiting a friend who lived in that area, i would have a very different perception of taipei. i think it would be an incorrect one, and i actually felt like i shouldn't be there. but i guess it was good to see, just so i have the experience and can compare it to what i'm normally experiencing. we went into the bottom of taipei 101, which has a multi-story mall, but we didn't go up to the observation deck. at one point i saw a body shop and since the soap i brought was about to disappear, i went in to get a new bar since i like their soap. tim felt odd about two guys going into the body shop (which it appears he doesn't patronize), so he said he felt like he needed to go get a beer afterward. but i really like their stuff, so i bought a bar of coconut soap. we later went to a chain place called gordon biersch (sp?), where i had a winter bock and he had a schwarzbier. we hopped back on the mrt (subway) and headed back to ash's part of town.
we went to 45's and met ash there. he had a couple of girls in tow. one of them spoke some english, the other one not so much. we all had a number of drinks and laughed and joked a lot. i think i had 4 or 5 white russians and a blue monday. i have a habit of tying knots in cherry stems with my mouth (something i picked up in high school i guess), so as the night wore on i had a collection of knotted stems. this is something the hrc (julia) was particularly fascinated by and appreciated. i wouldn't say i was drunk, but i kind of ended up taking a picture of all the stems on a johnnie walker coaster written in chinese and sent it to her with the text "i'm in fscking taiwan". which is stupid, since i haven't talked to her in some time, and the last time i emailed her i basically told her if she couldn't have some kind of normal relationship/friendship with me that i didn't want her sending me anything anymore. yeah, i'm stupid. but i already knew that.