Cookie invited me to go up with her to have lunch with her college friends in the nations capital: Taipei City. It’s the most populated, happening city in the country and almost every time I go there I inevitably have a great time. Guaranteed fun, right?
Getting there was a cinch. Mass transportation in Taiwan is very convenient and the bus we took was not only ridiculously cheap (210 NT each) but more comfortable than my own home. I settled in and fired up Kindle to finish off Steve Solomon’s “The Intelligent Gardener” (highly recommended).
Shortly after arriving in Taipei, I managed to concuss myself. Average Wang is much shorter than Average Joe and Taiwanese infrastructure is built accordingly. I am taller than both of those napoleonic losers and consequently cracked my head HARD on the A/C unit when standing up to disembark. I’ve done enough boxing to know what brain damage feels like and this was definitely it. I rubbed the sore spot and my fingers came away bloody. What a way to start the trip!
Onward to the restaurant! My stomach was growling like a pissed off grizzly, and with that giving me more concern than my head (still bleeding at this point) we made a bee-line for the restaurant. It was a cute, little hipster joint with lots of decoration and a strong smell of culinary spices. But something was wrong. The smell was missing something. It was fragrant but lacking an important, wholesome something. I looked at the menu and immediately realized what it was. This was a vegetarian restaurant! I hate vegetarian food.
But I was fully ready to take one for the team and ingest this unwholesome slop until I opened that menu and met with another unpleasant surprise: everything was prohibitively expensive! They wanted around 400 nt for portions so small that even Cookie, a 90 lb Asian girl, would be hungry again 2 hours later. To put this into perspective: a Big Mac costs 110nt, a plate of dumplings costs 50NT and a bowl of oatmeal with two eggs (a typical breakfast for me) costs less than 20NT. 400 NT and there isn’t even any meat? In what is otherwise such a cheap country? Fuck that. I excused myself to 7-11 to get a roast sweet potato and 3 boiled eggs (65 NT). While I was out, I scored a tube of neomyacin for my head so I wouldn’t keel over from H64 N2.5 or whatever imaginary disease the locals are panicking about this week.
Finishing my meal, I returned to the restaurant and tried to tune out the girl talk for fear I would lose more brain cells on top of the concussion, and passed the time reading Iron John (meh). 2 hours later, their chat started to wind down and Cookie asked what I wanted to do after this. Head spinning, i’m ready to go home, but the expectant tone of her voice suggests that response will elicit hurt feelings and maybe even tears. Hey, I DID come all this way! It was drizzling as it usually is in Taipei so I suggested the arcade.
Arcades in Taiwan suck. In an attempt to capture the short attention span of today’s over-stimulated children, all the games are MORE MORE MORE! MORE bullets! MORE bad guys! MORE flashing lights! MORE unnecessary sounds! For the shooting games, all the guns are fully automatic with a laser pointer or an image of a target to show where you are currently aiming. No skill or aiming necessary. (I strongly suspect this is to avoid inadvertently training children to shoot accurately). It wouldn’t matter if there was because none of the guns shoot straight.They didn’t even have regular air hockey. They had some giant perversion with two paddles each instead of one and a few dozen pucks at the same time. The only viable strategy for such a game is to wildly smack the pucks like an epileptic having a seizure on the table. Don’t bother aiming the puck at your opponents goal because its going to ricochet off two or three pucks before reaching the other side anyways. Games in my day were so much more… I think I will look back on today as the day I became “old”.
I was ready to go home at this point but when I vocalized this, Cookie’s face took on the expression of a little girl who just learned the Christmas isn’t coming this year. She not only had her heart set on going to a bar for Halloween but also that I would come.
“Did I say I would go with you to a bar tonight?” I asked. The concussion may have made me forget after all.
“You said “maybe””. She replied with her eyes downcast.I don’t know if she was doing it intentionally but she was plucking my heartstrings like a master harp player.
I’m not keen to stay out all night then have to wait til 6am for the first bus back to TC but I reasoned to myself that Cookie seldom asks much from me and agreed to have a few drinks. Within a 5 minute walk is a strip of bars and I led the way.
This strip of bars happen to all be gay bars. In fact, the entire area is gay bars, gay clothing stores, gay porn and sex toy shops. Not only that, but on this day, there happened to be a large gay pride event and a stage was set up complete with flashing lights and a sign that said “Mr Gay Taiwan 2017”. The place was packed with well groomed, muscular bros wearing short shorts and rainbow EVERYTHING. Because the title of this post is “Misadventure in Taipei” I’m sure you’re expecting that either I’m going to froth myself up into a homophobic frenzy or get butt raped. What actually happened is Cookie decided she had he heart set on a different bar and we left without even ordering any drinks. But for the sake of pleasing my readers: I got butt raped. You happy now, you sick fucks?
We get off the MRT at the Zhongxiaio Dunhua station and make our way to a place called AQ Cava. It’s closed. No worm for these early birds! We start pre-gaming with a cheap bottle of wine from 7-11 and I drunkenly spend the next hour explaining to my date that women are not as smart as men. Contrary to my lecture, she is more than smart enough to smile and nod rather than try to explain why i’m a jackass. While Jesus can make water into wine, Rocky can make wine into sustainable fertilizer. Cookie and I do that to the entire bottle before we proceeded back to AQ Cava.
AQ Cava is known for shots. Starting at 50 nt, they get cheaper the more you order. We wound up getting two sets of 9 unique shots. The shots are pretty much just extra strong cocktails and extra girly but certainly a step up for my masculinity considering I was ready to sit down at a gay bar just two hours ago. All joking aside, I very much recommend it. We met another couple, a girl from Indonesia and a man from Russia and exchanged some jokes and cultural trivia over copious amounts of alcohol. Still, I called it a night early and we headed back to the train station.
I asked the staff at the train station which train to board to get back to Taichung. They told me there was one leaving at 11:00. Cookie, living in Hsicnhu went to board hers and I went to board mine. I went to scan my card and woops! Insufficient funds. I speed walked over to the ticket counter to find that there isn’t a 11:00 train going to Taichung, as a matter of fact, there isn’t a train to Taichung until tomorrow morning. I definitely did not throw a drunken tantrum and tell the staff to get their shit together. Cookie heard my indignant lecture to the staff about how they ought to provide customers with accurate information and dragged me onto the Hsinchu bound train before I gave them TOO stern of a scolding.
The next morning, I woke up at 6am, running on 3 hours of sleep and rushed home only to pass out in my own bed. There’s no place like home. Makes me wonder why I’d ever left. Life’s an adventure, I guess