Sunday, October 16, 2005
This has been a very good weekend for me. In spite of the stress that has recently hit me as I realized that I actually have to study while I'm here, things went very well for me this weekend. I think one of the most important things I should note right away is that it has finally begun to cool down a little. It's not much of a cool down – high temperatures are still at or above 30 degrees C (in the mid to upper 80s F) – but this is just a couple ticks down from what it was a few weeks ago. The humidity also feels a little lower, which helps a lot. You still sweat walking around during the day, but you’re not dripping with sweat as bad as you were not too long ago. It's very pleasant, comparatively speaking.
On Friday I had an early class. Thursdays and Fridays are hard for me because I have class from 9:00 am to noon. I was really tired on Friday morning and I think I dozed off in class for a few minutes. I was completely awake after our first break because the German student in our class snapped a picture of me with my eyes closed with his cell phone camera. Smelling a brewing blackmail scheme, I decided to keep my eyes open for the remainder of the class.
After class I called Jumpei, one of my Japanese friends here, and asked him if he wanted to go grab a bite to eat. I went to meet him outside of the tunnel that lets us student-pedestrians to escape from the relative calm of campus to the bustling madness that is Kaohsiung. As I was waiting for him I saw most of the Taiwanese students from my class sitting around on their scooters getting ready to go somewhere. I asked them where they were going and they told me they were going to Chichin Island for lunch. They invited me to go with them, so when Jumpei showed up, I hopped on the back of his scooter and we zoomed over to the ferry. The ferry only takes about five minutes and you can bring your scooter on board.
We needed scooters to go to this restaurant. It was very large, and though it was under a roof, it was pretty much and open-air establishment. We grabbed about 12 or 15 dishes, spread them out on two tables, and dug in. We had a big group of people (about 12 or 15) and we ate Chinese-style. This means everybody eats out of the same dishes. You just walk around the table with a bowl of rice and grab whatever you feel like eating and throwing it on your rice to eat at your leisure. The food was even better than the restaurant I ate at the first time I went to this island! The spicy pork and the fried oysters were especially good!
After lunch, Jumpei took me to the post office to mail a few things. I then went to the library to start checking out books for my research projects. I was pretty worn out and didn't feel like going anywhere, so I plopped myself down on an open couch and started to read one of my books. I probably got through about two pages before I started dozing off. Since this was such a good location, I decided to go ahead and take a short nap, which turned into a good 45 minute snooze.
When I woke up it was almost time to go to Tai-chi class. I really didn't feel like going, but I had already paid for lessons and the class is only twice a week, so I convinced myself to go. Boy was I glad I did! None of the other students showed up, so I got a private lesson! I am the only one in the class who has taken Tai-chi before, so it is easier for me to remember the moves than the others. With a private lesson, the teacher was able to teach me more moves in a day than would have been possible had anyone else been there. I really like our teacher. He is a peaceful looking white haired gentleman who is always sporting a smile. He's not quite old enough to speak good Japanese, but he knows a few words, so we communicate in bits and pieces of three languages (Chinese, Japanese, and English). Gestures and demonstrations fill in the gaps that our pidgin language doesn’t cover.
After Tai-chi I decided to take a hike into town by myself. I crossed the bridge to the other side of the Love River and found what I had been looking for – the Holy Rosary Cathedral Minor Basilica. It is a really interesting church, so it deserves a post all its own. I won't describe it here, because you can read all about it above this post.
Yesterday was a relaxing taste of home day. I slept in and went with Steve and Adi to the Pizza Hut across town for the all-you-can-eat buffet. After saturating ourselves with cheese, pepperonis, and grease, Steve and I decided to go see if there were any good movies playing at the Warner Cinema across the street. We decided to watch “Four Brothers” – a violent John Singleton film about four adopted brothers seeking revenge for the murder of their adopted mother in Detroit. Steve, who is from Detroit, must have really enjoyed reminiscing about American life after watching this one! It's not a great movie, but it's full of good music and lots of gun violence – two of America's best entertainment exports.
I walked home from the movie theater (a good 45 minute walk) and did some exercises before showering and going to bed. I haven't been working out too regularly here, but I am trying to do a little working out now and then to counter the large quantities of oily food I am eating. I really needed the movement after eating about three pounds of pizza!