Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Taibei Proper and Other Famous Swimming Pools

After peeling myself off of the leather love seat in my living room, I realized that my sporadic updates/insights are becoming just that, so I thought I should give it another go.

As my time in Taiwan is winding down [only 40ish odd days before we leave], I realize that I should try to crystallize some of my thoughts of summer in Taiwan. The first and most logical of course would be to put into writing that mantra I keep repeating to myself on a fairly regular basis. "My god. I'm going to die from this heat. Just a few more blocks and there's a soft patch of grass to collapse in." Of course there are a number of variations to this but they share a common theme. Needless to say it is a little on the warm and slightly uncomfortable side here. To aid in your understanding, slightly uncomfortable indicates that from the moment you get dressed your underwear becoming permanently affixed to your nether regions until such time as you can undress once again. Aside from that small detail, summer has been fairly nice.

Last week, like so many Taiwanese citizens, Ariel and I got prepared, and just a little bit excited, about the year's first typhoon. Interestingly, though typhoons are tragic natural disasters that cause untold amounts of damage to the island, the vast majority of people [barring those on the east coast directly facing the onslaught] look forward to these days of work. It is initially rather difficult to wrap your head around the idea that people can be eagerly anticipating a natural disaster but after enduring two-three typhoons in one of Taiwan's bunker-style apartments; it becomes increasingly easy to look forward to the wind and rains. Alas, despite all the predictions of the weather bureaus of Taiwan, Korea and Japan [yes, I became one of those people that checks the weather every 25 minutes], the typhoon missed Taibei and class went on as scheduled. Needless to say, those that did come were a gloomy bunch.

Aside from near misses from inclement weather, cockroaches the size of badgers that are becoming increasingly bold, and mangos by the truckload, things are surprisingly relaxed for the two of us here. Although Ariel and I have our major travel plans [and tickets to actually get us to some of those places], and this whole wedding in Italy event looming overhead, we haven't been feeling as much pressure about the whole situation as either of us feel we should be. Every few days we receive cursory emails from our illusory wedding planner "Bonnie" but by in large, we know just as little about the wedding details as our families do. In one sense that's fairly relieving, in another it's a little scary. In either a deep fear or perverse desire, I see the idyllic setting of the Spoleto countryside marred by a Brown's Chicken-style buffet with a DJ pumping out "Le Freak" over and over. We'll have to wait and see how it all comes together.