We get to Rainbow Village around dusk. There are a handful of people milling about snapping pics. Rainbow village was an old military dependents village that was slated for redevelopment. So one of the residents, Rainbow Grandpa, started painting all of the buildings there in an effort to save the place from getting torn down. The buildings are super colorful, mostly primary colors, filled with cute characters and loving sentiments. We go around taking pics of it all.
We come around to the center of the cluster of buildings and there is a little gift shop set up with all sorts of items based off of the characters and paintings from the buildings. Coffee cups, fans, calendars, shirts, postcards, you-name-it. One of the employees speaks decent english and tells us that the old man sitting there is Rainbow Grandpa himself. He’s 93! and started painting Rainbow Village when he was 87. Gift dude says we’re welcome to take photos with him. Queenie grabs Narcopiggy and goes in for a pic.
We finish making the rounds and give the cabby a call back for pick up. I hear Fur Elise coming from somewhere. “Do you hear that?”, “yeah it’s the garbage truck”. Agent Getz describes that there are too many feral animals here and there to just leave your garbage on the curb. When you hear that song you bring out your garbage. Getz says that when he was living here he used to be chasing the truck down the street and launching it in the back himself. “Ok, but why Fur Elise?”, “Yeah, I….. don’t know”.
The cab shows up and it’s a different guy. A total nutcase actually, who won’t stop talking to Mei who’s sitting in the front. Tha Queebs thinks he’s on something. Getz notices some spent betel nut casings. Might explain it a bit, but he seems pretty wired and obnoxious.
Betel nut is a mild stimulant, something akin to chewing tobacco I think. It’s an areca nut wrapped in betel leaf and when you chew it you get a slight buzz. Apparently it’s great after a few beers. They have shops where girls get decked out in sexy school uniforms and sell them. I suppose I’ll have to try it on this trip at some point. Maybe Taipei.
We get to the KTV joint where we’re meeting some more of Queenie’s friends. There’s a big sign above the door that says Party World. Inside it’s kinda swanky. Definitely the most upscale karaoke joint I’ve ever seen.
Queenie’s friend Baby Flower is already there waiting. I pull the whole tap the left shoulder but approach from the right thing. Queenie’s move. Baby Flower spins left and there’s no one there. Classic. Baby Flower has thick glasses, a pony tail, and a cutsey backpack with some cartoony character on it.
We get escorted up to our private karaoke room by a pollution masked employee. We order up some beers and food. There is a phone that you can call down and order whatever you want and they’ll bring it up like room service. Agent Getz places a cocktail order.
Baby Flower and Queenie hit the machine to pick out karaoke tunes while Getz and I peruse the english section of the book. Slim pickings. It’s very interesting what gets popular in other countries and what music actually makes it’s way into these books. There’s really no escaping it, we just have to throw in a bunch of songs that we barely know and English our way through it. Jamie throws on Careless Whisper and then I start with The Gambler.l So far so good. The girls run through a plethora of songs in Taiwanese and Mandarin that I have noooo idea what they are. I’ve never heard Queenie sing once in her life and now here she is dancing, jumping, and belting out half the tunes that come on.
Queenie’s friend Mi arrives with her boyfriend Vincent. The announcement that they are engaged drops almost immediately and congratulations go around. But drinks don’t since Mi is also pregnant! Wow what a night. Time for a Mi pic
The food shows up during Queenie’s 5th Wu Bai song. It’s pig ear cartilage, chicken gizzards, edamame, and tofu. Later some congee comes. Drisdelle karaoke roulettes me into My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, which I sing half of like it’s a metal song (and somehow receive applause for). Then Jamie Rick Rolls the room and we’re basically done. Huge stack of empty Taiwan Beer cans and left over animal parts.
Next on the agenda is a massive feast at a place called Dawonchau. More of Queenie’s friends meet us there and they all proceed to order an absolutely bonkers amount of food. Unfortunately most of it was seafood, which I’m allergic to, but what I did have was great. The seafood looked amazing. There were a lot of cold meats dishes. Like, they would boil chicken, then chill it and season it. We also ate some delectable pig anus. “It’s not Anus, it says pig colon.”, “Queenie that’s pig ass no matter how you say it.”
I also managed to burn the hell out of my tongue on some molten hot deep fried tofu. Seemed fine on the outside, but once I crunched through the deep fried exterior searing hot tofu spilled onto my tongue like lava and instantly burnt it. Zssssaaaa zsssaaa I spit it out into my hand. Burnt my hand. Dropped it on the table. Water water beer beer beer.
I was absolutely amazed by the appetites on these people. They piled in an amazing amount of food. We were done, sitting for a while chatting, and all of the sudden 4 more dishes show up. Round 8. But it all got eaten. We finish up and say goodbye to the Queenie’s posse.
We head back to the hotel. Jamie and I get some flavored champagne from the 7-11 to mix with the rest of our vodka. Queenie turns into Edward Slipperhands. “Are you guys going out?”, “Yep”, “When will you be back?”, “I don’t think we’ll ever come back”, “Ok, have a good time!”.
Jamie and I walk through the dark and eerily quiet Taichung streets on a compass bearing for the Millennium hotel. Ends up being in a very nice part of town. They have an open air bar on the top floor. Unfortunately it’s closed. We did find a portal to an alternate universe though.
Then we book it by cab to another spot across town called Spin. Get to the door and it’s 20USD to get in. Wowsa! Screw it. We’re in. The door charge comes with 2 free drink tickets so it’s not that painful. There isn’t a ton of people in there but the place is bumping. There’s a DJ on stage and the place has crazy rad lighting. There are a couple of girls in skin tight dresses, like saran wrap tight, dancing in the round. Looks like they work there.
We grab a drink and hit the side of the dance floor to scope things out. Immediately a black girl comes over and takes my hair in her hands and fluffs it like crazy. “Where are you from?” she asks me in a think English accent. “Canada”. “Uggggh Canada”, she starts to walk away. What the hell? I’ve never gotten a reaction like that for being Canadian before. Her name is Lindsay, she’s from London but living here for a spell.
We also meet a Russian dude from Siberia (but doesn’t know where Barnaul and Novosibirsk are when I bring up that I’d been to Siberia before, which was a bit odd). He’s super smashed and pulls me out by the hands to the dance floor and forces me to dance.
We also meet a stunning local girl in a classy blue cocktail dress. She had a cool piece of jewelry running the length of the top of her left ear which I complimented her on. I think she just wanted to practice her english. We chatted disjointedly for a bit. She was a sweet girl.
The place took a nose dive in the last half hour though. I think it was when the DJ decided to play a dub stepped Bon Jovi song, followed by Backstreet Boys and…. <I dunno, my ears were bleeding, it was horrible>… Everything closes down and Getz and I cab it back to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning.