Friday, February 03, 2006

Dicing for Nuts

OK, I guess it's about time I wrote about my actual Chinese New Year day on Sunday. I'd received an SMS on my cell phone from Lisa, asking me if I wanted to come to her opera troupe's office and "have fun." Well, since I didn't have anything else to do, I said sure. We made plans to meet up at Da Ping Lin station, and of course I got there first, and she was late. I called Hiyoshi, who'd spent the night in Nan Shi Jiao, very close by, and he showed up at the station to meet me. He had a hard time finding me, because on Friday I'd colored my hair black cherry :) I'd realized that it was just way too expensive to keep paying $2500NT for highlighting on my budget, so I opted for the $300NT box of L'Oreal do-it-yourself color. It was actually kind of nice to go back to dark hair (but I'm a bit worried Wu Bai won't be able to spot me in the audience next time!).

Hiyoshi and I headed for Dante Coffee to wait for Lisa, and she finally showed up. Then she said we couldn't go to the opera troupe's office yet, that we'd go eat first. Then another gal, Vivian, showed up, and the four of us headed off in a taxi to the department store.

Chinese New Year to the Taiwanese is like Christmas to the western world, time to buy presents for the children. Hordes of people were at the department store, shopping, eating, talking. Little children were dressed adorably in traditional Chinese outfits, and the colors red and purple dominated the scene. There was barely an empty table at the food court, but after walking around a bit, we spotted one. I opted for a cheap meal of "e ah jian" which is sort of like an oyster/green veggie omelet with a sweetish red sauce. Lisa and Vivian shared a meal that had a whole squid, some rice, some bean sprouts, and some green beans served on a sizzling metal plate, with Hiyoshi helping a little (he'd already eaten before meeting up with us). After lunch we wandered the store for a bit, something I find very boring, since everything in the department stores is way too expensive, and even if it weren't, the clothes are all too small for my fat ass, so what's the point?

I talked the group into walking part of the way back to the opera troupe office, because my legs needed some quick walking, as slowly strolling always makes me feel very, very tired. However, after listening to these two young girls whining and complaining, and having the sky begin to spit a couple drops of rain, I relented and allowed them to hail another taxi. I swear, you'd think it was an act of torture to walk for thirty minutes around here!

Lisa's teacher and owner of the opera troupe is the famous Tang Mei Yun. This Taiwan opera troupe sometimes visits the US, so hopefully some of you might be able to experience Taiwan opera someday, as it's really a kick. There were posters up all over the office, and I took lots of photos, as well as one with the painting of Ms. Tang, who was not there that day. We sat around watching TV for awhile, eating snacks, then two other gals showed up, and eventually we started playing a very interesting dice game, using pistachios as money. The dice have numbers only on one side, with the rest blank, and you toss a handful into a bowl and hopefully get the right number to be able to grab "money" out of the pot (everyone antes up 5 pistachios at the start). If there are 20 in the pot, and you throw 12, good deal. If there are only 2 in the pot, and you throw 12, well, you have to put in 10. This goes on until someone throws the exact number of what's left, and then everyone else has to give that person that number of pistachios. Hiyoshi was amazingly lucky, raking in nuts like mad. The rest of us had to keep borrowing from the bank! Finally it was down to just two players, and the game just kept going on and on and on.

Someone ordered pizza, which at first made my tummy perk up, but after I realized it was Domino's, I lost interest. I tried one piece - like eating cardboard, but with less flavor. And the price! Holy cow, they charge almost $20 US for a large pizza (and it ain't all that large), and so what they give you a second large pizza "free"? There were six of us, and we only ate one pizza, it was so bad. Bleah.

Anyway, that's how I spent Chinese New Year day. Not very exciting, but with good friends, and that's what counts. I think I'm done socializing for the rest of my holiday. Lisa wanted me to go to Taoyuan with her after work today, but she won't be coming back until Sunday morning, and I can't leave DZ alone that long (plus I kinda like my own bed). Yesterday I cleaned out the big cupboard in the dining room and got stuff all arranged, finally unpacking the last two boxes that have been sitting in the spare room for almost a year! I really need to get some storage bins and a file cabinet so I can get the office cleaned up, so maybe I'll run over to Carrefour today and pick something up. I just hope that my landlady doesn't decide that she wants to sell this place when the rental contract expires in March! Sure would hate to have to move again and do this all over.

No comments: