Thursday, June 30, 2011

In Which the Traveler Addresses Her Father Directly

Dear Dad:

I *know* you told me you didn't want me to go exploring off on my own, but then you knew when you told me not to that I have before and would again, right?

I was smart about it! I used the directions in my Lonely Planet guide to get across town to the National Palace Something Museum because it's supposed to be this like treasure trove of history and antiquities and stuff.

Dad, I saw statues of Buddha from the fourth century. I saw pottery from the year 1 Billion BCE or something. But even more importantly, I ran into a Mucha exhibit.

Mucha, you know, Alfons Mucha? The Czech painter who had that art nouveau style with all the pretty flowing ladies? He was also something of a politico in his later years, and I got to see this image of his I've had a crush on since I was a little girl called Zodiac. I also got introduced to a new painting that made me cry. It was called something like Spring Awakens Earth or Spring Awakening the Earth or something. This really big painting, a burst of spring colors, all spring green and light blue, and in the middle, one woman leans in to wake up the other with this tender sweet love care all over her face...

I negotiated the MRT too, the public subway-type transit here. The guide book told me which stop to get at, and the kids in the hostel told me how to get to the one to get on here. On the way I passed a cigar shop. Guess what isn't illegal in Taiwan? Montecristo #4s. YUMMMMM. Got to the rail and kinda stood back and did my Monkey-see trick before jumping in to Monkey-do after observing enough people. Figured out my route, bought my pass, headed there.

Here's what's fun: looking out windows. WOW.

I got off at my stop and it was super cute and looked like a nice area. I bought some sushi bites and some hazelnut milk tea and sat in the middle of the area and watched for a while. Just as I was finishing up, a bus I needed pulled up so I ran over and hopped on. Monkey didn't see anyone pay the driver so monkey didn't do it herself. They paid when they got to their stop though. I said, "How much money?" He said "15." I gave him 15 and got off the bus and looked around like where's this palace museum... OH THERE. THE HUGE FRIGGIN THING ON THE MOUNTAIN.

Dad it was really cool. I took a lot of photos. I found, though, that rather than removing my driver's licence from my wallet, I had removed my student ID! So no fatty discount for me, whoops. I did, however, act confused and very sad when I found that the ticket that got me into the antiquities would not get me into the Mucha. The folks at the door got nice and, since it was closing time, let me get in for free anyway. Oh man I get choked up just thinking about that beautiful painting!

Then there was a garden outside, and I strolled around and... man what gives? I'm still in my twenties! But ugh how my feet hurt and oh how the small of my back hurt! Just uncool.

I bussed it back to the MRT stop, and strolled around and poked in stores and stuff some more. Here's where I'm a stupid American: people cut in lines a lot here, and step in your personal-space-bubble and don't give a crap and it makes me fume a little. But otherwise they are really strict about following the rules. Like, the sign says no food or drink on any of the public transits - SO NO ONE EATS OR DRINKS. I mean, there are signs like that everywhere back home but don't nobody pay no mind. Here's a mystery: I can't ever find a trashcan, but neither can I find any litter. How does that work? When I could never find a trashcan in Mexico, I understood why there was litter all over the place. But here there's neither. Really strange. So I end up carrying my trash around with me until I find one.

MRT back, and went the wrong way about four stops on the last leg, so I had to swap and take like 7 or 8 stops to get back, at which point I wasn't sure exactly which road on the roundabout I'd come in on so I just headed the direction I figured the hostel was in and bam, once again, good old sense of direction took me right back! Sweet.

I didn't go out last night. I just couldn't do it. I took a shower and was in bed by 9:30. I have a roommate from Ohio who's a really cool cat, and we stayed up talking for a while before another roommate came in hungry and the two of them went out. I thought about it, a quick night stroll before passing out, but I was so comfy and the idea of putting on shoes again did not appeal at all.

Today I think I'll head on down to Pingtung (or Pingdong, depending on who you ask). I'm ready to quit living out of bags and unpack. I couldn't find my toothbrush last night so I scrubbed my teeth with my washrag and then flossed and rinsed some water around for a bit. This aggression will not stand.

And so, I went against your wishes, but how about this concession: I will always be careful when I continue to go off on my own and keep my wits about me and not follow creepy Disney villains down dark alleyways so they won't turn me into a genie and stuff me in a bottle.

All my love,
your crazy daughter.

No comments: