11/03/04 – Lee arriving.
I was anxious the entire day. I couldn’t wait for Lee’s arrival. She sms’ed me saying she landed. A driver was supposed to come pick her up at the airport, rather then me coming there myself. I wasn’t sure if she’ll meet him ok, and if he’d even know where to take her, as I wasn’t so smoothly ran when I got here the first time.
After waiting for a while, she SMS’s me, with a question about the address of the hotel. “What’s the address of the hotel?”, I’m replying, and I get another SMS with “what’s the name of the hotel?”, I tell her I don’t know it, since it’s in chinese. I sms her asking doesn’t the driver knows where to get to ? while I’m doind it she calls. She sounds to be on a verge of tears. The Immigration clerk she fell on gave her a hard time about where she’s staying in Taiwan. I interrupted Bob in a company-wide meeting, and she gave the phone to the clerk. The I got lee back and we hang up.
Then started one of the longest hour in my life. I think I sent something like 17sms’s to lee because I didn’t get to understand if everything was ok with the officer, luggage, and driver. After 30 minutes I break, and call her, even though I know it’s very expensive. The reception of her side was so bad I didn’t understand a word, other then: “It’s Expensive, Bye!”. So I had no idea what’s going on. I kept SMS’ing her, and after a long while she finally notices the phone, and replies my endless and long sms’s with a “yes”. And later with another one saying “IM OK. PHONE WAS ON SILENT”. I still didn’t know what’s going on. So I kept SMSing. I manage to get the info that she’s on the car AND on her way, hoping to the right place. After more agitating moments, I get the one I’ve been expecting: “Dooshi, I’m at the hotel”. I ran to the hotel.
We went eating Sushi that same day, I really wanted lee to like the Sushi here. We had a lot of filling fried dishes at the sushi place, and Lee and me was full half way through it…
I was really nervous the whole flight from HK to Taiwan, the Flight to HK I
spent trying to get some sleep so I didn’t have time to think about anything
when I got to the airport at taipe I couldn’t wait another minute, but as my
luck goes I got stuck with the birocracy, since I’m young and didn’t have a
place to stay written they took my aside and tried with terrible English to
understand where I stay. I SMSed Oded, it took him FOREVER to answer, by the
time he answered I was almost crying so I decided to stop with the SMS and I
just called him, and than when bob talked to the clerk I already started
crying, it was too much and I was too tired.
when that was finally over my brain just went dead, I couldn’t think or care
less about anything, so I just ignored all of Oded’s SMS, hoping that the
“yes” I answered would satisfy him, apparently it didn’t, and than I fell
asleep so I didn’t hear the rest of them – the car was SO comfortable.
I finally got there, we went sushi, it was yummy and I had some beer so I’m
kinda woozy about that entire evening, but it was fun – I slept SO good
after that, with my dooshi next to me
Me and lee went to the “Sogo” area. Instead of using the public transportation like I used to, we actually walked all the way there. Lee and me likes walking in cities, I do that a lot here myself, The point was for me to show her where the major shopping areas are, and let her roam alone for a while while I go back to the office and actually work. But we also wanted to be together, so we went back to the office, and she spent some more time with me.
At The evening we went with Bob to ShiLin night market. I had something I wanted to eat since I was there the first time. It was some kind of grill-stir-fried beef and vegetables thing I saw there. I though I was going to save it to last, so we ate a few things and went around, and by the time we got back, Bob said that I shouldn’t eat it today because he though it was very filling, and we ate too much already, so I ended up eating other stuffs. We made it in time for the last train, and I’m thinking that if I would have delayed and eaten it we would have probably missed it. Not that we couldn’t have taken a cab back or anything if it came to that…
We woke up early to go to the jade and flower markets, before we meet with bob to eat dim-sum and hang out, the dim-sum was good and I hope Lee enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I had it, I wasn’t that much hungry that … morning. I’m not hungry that early usually, and I usually feel nauseated if I wake up too early, just like that day. There was an election parade outside, and bob suggested we should go to the 101 building, and he suggested driving us there. We decided to part from bob, and actually walk all the way there. We walked upstream from the parade. Like salmon. We hang around the 101 mall, which is situated at it’s bottom, I bought some books, and comic books in some BIG English book store called Page One, we browsed through the Warner Village Movie complex (which has a lot of stores and restaurants), and we ate some of the promised Tapenyaki at one of the malls around there.
14-15/03/04 Sunday-Monday, Weekend in South Taiwan:
We had wake up too early, 5AM early. The guys at sanctum set me and lee up with this travel package to south Taiwan. So we woke up early, to catch a train at 7am, and we arrived there at 14:00, the train ride itself was suppose to be a big part of the scenic trip, but it was a bit of uncomfortable train ride, which I spend a lot of sleeping, uncomfortably, and missed part of the point of the ride. The parts where I wasn’t sleeping had a very nice views out the window, rice fields with mountains in the backgrounds and nice clouds pouring out of them, however, after a while, seeing more rice fields, and more mountains, and yet more rice fields followed by some other kind of rice fields, you get the point. One of the odd things was that I had to use my credit card so the reservation will be on my name, but when we got the actual tickets, and hotel reservation, the reservation was on “Mr. Lee”’s name. Yes, Mr. Lee and Ms. Sharon, doesn’t sounds right? So when ever we arrived somewhere, instead of me showing my ID, Lee had to, which I didn’t get the point of, if I had to be the one who used his credit card… Anyways, we arrived at the ChinPen hot springs resort where we were given a nice room. We went around the hotel which is big and have a few nice ponds, gardens, and a small zoo in the premises, we also visited the big Buddhist temple next door.
Side note: did you know that the Nazi’s SS symbol is the reverse (mirror image) or the Buddhist symbol? The most horrible thing that the Buddhist symbol represents ideals like peace, harmony, and basically good things, while the other one is seen in my head as one of the most horrible symbols I can imagine. I read in my tour book that the Nazi actually stole that symbol from the Buddhists. It’s odd I never knew this thing before I came here. I had a lot of friends going and coming from places like India and the east where there’s suppose to be a lot of Buddhists, but it’s the first time I’ve heard about that. Probably people are uncomfortable talking about these things. I know I am uncomfortable talking about that right now, and you must be uncomfortable reading about it, but I wanted to talk about it.
After completing our short walk around the premises we went to the hot spring pools and SPA’s themselves. There were 4 different SPA’s in the hotel. Unfortunantly, me and Lee could only attend 1 of them. The other ones were naked SPA’s, which were separate (obviously) for men-women. I didn’t like to be in a pool with other naked chinese man, or even see them naked, not to mention being naked in from of them, more then that I wanted to spend my time with Lee. So we both went to the public SPA hot spring water pools. It was very nice, and they had all sort of pools there with all sort of additives, like roses, and tea, and herbs and stuffs. Even though it felt very “luxurious” and “expensive” I rather liked the hot spring pools at Beitou I went to with Leo a couple of weeks earlier. The ones there were simple, but had a more “intimate” feeling to them, even though they were public. And they had more pools with more temperatures in that one which you could pick the one you liked. This one felt more “classy” and “stylish” and I enjoyed it differently then I did the other “simpler” one, which I think I like better. We took a shower and went to eat a big Mongolian “Buffet” dinner. I didn’t get why they bothered mentioning over and over the fact that the dinner was “buffet”. Ofcourse it’s a Buffet ! it’s a Mongolian style dinner ! it’s like saying: NEW ! A Buffet falafel stand! Now you can eat falafel in a buffet style too ! you get a Pita, and you can put anything you want in it, BUFFET STYLE !!! WOW !!
There was a little show about aboriginal tribe dancing in the lobby of the hotel in the evening. It was in Chinese and I didn’t understand a word other then the occasional “thanks”. I don’t care for dancing, even though Lee does, and she really seemed to enjoy herself. I enjoy taking pictures though, so I took the time to go around looking for good angels and good pictures.
We woke up early the next day, in order to make it in time for breakfast. I hate mornings, and I hate waking up, and I don’t usually eat breakfast since I’m not hungry in the morning to the extent that I’m usually nauseated in the morning if I wake too early, but Lee wanted to eat. She claims to have a hole in her stomach in mornings. After the meal we took an hour’s walk around the hotel’s area. It’s a nice mountain-forest area and there’s a round trail that takes an hour to walk by.
We checked out from the hotel and a car with a driver was waiting for us at the hotel’s entrance to take us to the train station, with a stop to do a bicycle ride. Our driver was this girl who didn’t speak English, but she had the route and trip plan written for her in Chinese on a card, I assumed that, because the name of the traveling agency was on the card along with “Mr. Lee Eden” written on it.
On the way, something horrible happened! The car in the opposite lane was driving in our lane, and the driver lost control over his car when trying to get back to his own lane ! He completely flipped his truck which I saw spinning twice before hitting the ground behind us! Our car passed right under it! Both me and Lee got shocked! And the driver didn’t squint or move or comment or nothing! She didn’t even moved a bit when that car was coming towards us! She was just going straight ahead! She didn’t stop, or call the police or ANYTHING! Just kept on driving for about 15 more minutes until we arrived at where we were suppose to get to!
At the time we got there, we got out of the car, and immidietly they (the driver and another driver from the same company) asked us about the bicycle trip we were suppose to take, trying explain some details and pricing of the bicycle rent itself with hand gestures. They ended up having me talk to a girl on the phone saying: “You go bicycle. You see beautiful view. You go. You go bicycle, you see beautiful.”. Somehow people think that if you repeatedly say the same thing you’d understand them better. We rented the bicycle and rode off around this beautiful countryside area where there are endless rice fields in every direction, actually endless in two directions (north-south) and ending with tall mountain sides in the other two directions. We went around the for something like two hours, following the same driver that took us there, who had a motorized bicycle, which we thought was cruel on us and very unfair because she didn’t have to paddle… She new how to say “let’s go”. But she used it all the time, even when it wasn’t relevant to say it.
When the ride was over, she took a few minutes brake and talked to her other driver friend. Suddenly Lee and I realized we completely forgot about the accident that we saw only less then two hours ago. We realized that because she was probably talking about that with her driver friend, or that’s what I understood from the hand movements she was making while taking to him.
When we got back she drove us to the train station, where we boarded the train and got back to Taipei a few hours later. We saw something on TV while the pictures we took were being uploaded. We got to sleep tired but happy.