Thursday, November 03, 2005

Alone again

Boohoo, Cheryl went home to Hong Kong today, leaving me with memories of fun times and way too much food (I don't need to eat for the next few days, really). I showed her around my beloved Taipei - the jade and flower market, Ximen Ding, Longshan Temple, the Grand Hotel, the National Palace Museum, Danshui, walking around town - and Tuesday we took a nice day trip to Jiu Fen on the northeastern coast, dragging Hiyoshi along with us. Probably the first time in his life that boy has ever cut school to have some fun, hehe. If we'd had more time, I could have showed her so much more, but hopefully she'll be able to visit often, being so close. And maybe next time her boyfriend, Terry, will be able to get some time off work so I can see him, too.

Nothing of any note occurred, other than witnessing diners ordering live shrimp for their dinner Tuesday night. I thought Cheryl was going to pass out when she realized what those things jumping around on the plate were. Natari told us the live shrimp come with wine, apparently to get them so sloshed they don't realize they're being eaten...... Don't understand the fascination with eating live food. Want my food dead and preferably cut up and decorated so much that I don't see what it used to be. No, thank you, I do not want the chicken with its head and feet still attached. Chop those puppies off, please.

Going back to class today was a bit tough after three days without hearing the teacher's indecipherable babblings. I've mostly been speaking English since Saturday, so getting back to listening and responding in Chinese wasn't easy. And I'm a bit behind on the current lesson, no clue what's going on, haven't studied the grammar. Reviewed everything all the way in on the train this morning and should be studying now, but got sidetracked by a book (oops).

More interesting quirks about the cost of things in Taiwan: got my phone bill. I'd made one call to Hong Kong (2 minutes), four calls to my dad (1 min, 1 min, 4 min trying to actually reach him, and 31 minutes when I did), one call to a friend (29 mins), and three other calls leaving messages on a machine (1 min each). The bill came to a whopping $180NT - about $5.50US. Jeez, talk about cheap! And now for the quirk. I also called my Taiwan friend's cell phone and talked to her for an hour. That bill was $365NT! Holy schamoly, almost $11 US to call from a home phone to a cell phone, locally. Why didn't anyone warn me that it's horribly expensive to use one's home phone to make a cell phone call? I would have used my cell phone if I'd know. Yikes. But hey, the total bill was still only $924NT ($27.50US), and that includes my ADSL, so I truly can't complain. And I'll for sure be calling the US more often!

Then today the electric bill came, for September and October combined. Once a week I do my laundry, and I use the electric dryer because I hate hanging my clothes up to dry. Sometimes I do two loads on the weekend, sometimes only one, and each tiny load takes two hours to dry with this weakling dryer I have. And I'd been using the air conditioner a lot in September, almost every night in my bedroom while I was sleeping, because it was so hot. The bill before this one wasn't too bad, but I thought maybe I'd spend more this time. Nope. It was only $1223NT, around $36.50 US. Huh, only $18.25 per month. I can live with that. If it was still really hot, I'd be cranking that air, let me tell ya.

I owe tons of people e-mail, and I expect this weekend I'll be busy playing catch-up and studying (and going to a tattoo parlour to check out what it's like, watching someone getting inked and maybe even getting one myself). And honest, I've written to a lot of folks who just aren't answering me, and I have a feeling my mail is still going astray. Chiconet said they were straightening out the problem with AOL, but I think they ended up on a "spam blacklist" and some providers are blocking mail from their domain name with no notice to me that it's blocked. I may be resending some mail just to see.....

Well, done now, rambled enough, time to fetch that last Asahi out of the fridge and kick back with my lesson book. Ta ra.


Ranger Steve said...

Oh my, live food....yea, no thank you. Cooked with a little somthing for seasoning is much preferred ;)

Amazing how cheap utilities are there!

aetherwellen said...

Glad you had a great time with Cheryl! :D It's always so sad when a visitor goes back home.

I understand your reservations about live food - sounds creepy (literally).

Woo for the cheap utilities, and woah to the expense of calling a mobile from a landline. :o

What kind of tattoo are you going to get? Something WB-related?

Romita said...

Tattoo? Is this your first? What are you thinking about getting? Will it be something visable or something hidden (only visable when you take your clothes off?) How exciting!