River in the Jungle

Unable to sleep on our bouncy flight I cracked open Palahniuk’s new book Beautiful You and made a sizable dent in the narrative. Good book so far, I’ve gotten to the 136 day turning point of the story where the real twist and plot of the book starts to rear darkly into the forefront. Kind of a funny book to read in public actually. I think I covered a solid 50 pages of outrageous, sexually explicit content, orgasm after multiple orgasms from the main character, every inch of the female genitalia meticulously described in sensual and scientific detail. Palahniuk foremost loves to research and this shines through here, he now possess an insane knowledge of female anatomy and sexual nuance which he’s generously paid forward to his readers. I’m ripping through this sex jaunt surrounded by sleeping passengers, all the while SARS Hack lady is cough-dying in the seat behind me.

I also had time to fit in the lengthy Straight Outta Compton. Fantastic movie.

After 13 hours and a few mini pillow fights and other tightly confined plane shenanigans the familiar snaking orange lights of highways and city arteries came into view. The pilot was apologizing for the delay, apparently there was a lot of air traffic into Taipei and we’d been circling. The monitor showing the map displayed our route like a piece of red yarn had been haphazardly thrown against it and stuck in random coils and lines from one corner to the other. Apparently we’d circled several times waiting for our turn to make an approach.

We landed 50 minutes late, sorry ppl connecting to Bangkok. A quick jaunt across the disinfectant carpet and a nod from three surgical masked ladies in unison, through customs, foreign currency exchange (1 USD = 32 NTD), and we were out on the street hailing a cab. Jamie’s old buddy Paul the Newf was at one of their old stomping grounds called the River watching a football game. So we cabbed it straight from the airport to a bar in Zhongli. Getz tells us they all used to call this city the Jungle.

Paul the Newf was Getz’s old roommate in college and then again when they both moved here to derail kid’s lives with their terrible maritime English. We show up at the river with our backpacks and are in surprisingly decent shape considering the 14 hour time difference and lack of sleep.

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Paul the Newf greets us at the door with smiles and hugs and beers. His friend Matt was there as well, whom Jamie also knew from yesteryear, and it couldn’t have been a better moment. Flying halfway around the world only to run into some English speaking Maritimers with a hankering for cocktails. They were calling Jamie ‘Jazz’, which I’ll have to remember and maybe substitute in for ‘Sparkles’ every once in a while.

We also met the owner, Kim, who was a lively party girl, infusing the place with her fun and carefree spirit. Jamie had warned me that Kim was going to challenge me to a tequila duel. Apparently this happens a lot at the River. She pours out 7 shots, 3 each and one in the middle. The first person that gets to the 4th shot in the middle ‘Wins’. Fortunately this didn’t happen to me. Kim did get the first round though, and between her and the Newfs the atmosphere was instantly fun and we were quickly getting comfortable with this version of Taiwan.

The River is a narrow, dark, and slightly small bar. It’s a perfect nestled hangout just off of downtown Zhongli. They had a projection against the wall where they were gonna show some American football games (I mean that’s what thanksgiving is all about, right?), and behind the bar, this fucking cracked me up big time, they were showing a badminton tournament. Stereotypically amazing. It was the Germans vs England at some tourney in Scotland. It was actually mesmerizing. And frantic.

They also had a Mattel Hoverboard at the bar

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As Agent Getz’s nostalgia was quickly getting the best of him some mega drunk chick starts assaulting Matt’s ears. I thinks she was drawn to his tight white pants. She’s wasted and telling everyone they need to work out. A minute later she’s slumped with her head on the bar. Getz asks if she’s alright and she gives a sad thumbs up. Pretty amusing pre-football scene. Then we grabbed more drinks and put the game on and proceeded to watch the Eagles get completed decimated by the Lions. Paul the Newf was not happy.

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When the game was done we piled out of the bar into the Zhongli streets. The wind is whipping through the streets and it is mighty frosty. “It was gorgeous here just days ago” Paul offers, “I was in shorts. Now this”. After the insanely long flight and rounds of drinks Tha Queebs had apparently worked up quite an appetite. Paul the Newf gave us a rundown of the late night snack options (it was now 5 in the morning). Apparently the hierarchy of quality grubbing options is the following: 7-11, Family Mart, High Life, and Circle K at the barrel scraping bottom. We dart into the 7-11 on the way back to Paul’s pad and Tha Queebs rounds up an assortment of actually decent looking goodies: a rice triangle (sticky rice with chicken inside, wrapped in seaweed to form a triangle), spicy chicken nuggets, dumplings, and tea eggs (eggs hard boiled in tea, should be fun on the train tomorrow).

We take the elevator up 15 floors to Paul’s rooftop apartment and are greeted at the door by a adorable little black bulldog. It looked like a D cell battery with legs. I can’t remember her real name but let’s just call her The Snots. Paul rushes inside to clean some of The Snots shit up off of the bathroom floor before we get to survey the apartment. Apparently The Snots will go down all 15 floors and walk around the park while Paul the Newf waits patiently.. and… nothing. So now she’s gotten used to just bull dumping on the bathroom floor. The smell is just super.

Our gracious hosts:

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Regardless, we sit and feast on our 7-11 post-bar munchies while The Snots mingles about our legs. The view from Paul’s balcony is great, overlooking a park (where some Tai Chi had just started at 5:15 sharp), a cool Asian temple, and the downtown Zhongli skyline. We hangout for a bit and talk about various inanities, like blocking out the sun with space garbage in order to save Earth. Then we rode a purple feathered hippo to a distant star and got back just in time for bed.

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