The Shilin and Dazhi Dash

Wake up to the neighbors TV absolutely blasting through the wall again. This is crazy, I’ve been to quieter IMAX movies. The last Deafheaven concert I saw wasn’t as loud as that fucking TV.  Things are itchy, must’ve been a skeeter in the room. Gaaaaaah! Aaaaaaaand I’m up.

There’s a girl cleaning the rooms as I come out of the shower. “All clean!”, I tell her. “Oh yes, your hair is wet and clean now. I can see that you smell better.” Haha, this girl is awesome already. Her name is Feng Feng. Agent Getz instantly falls in love for the 69th time this trip.

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She asks if we want to re-up on our rooms. I explain that Tha Queebs is coming back from visiting her family today and I wanna get back into the double room. Well it’s taken, but there’s one in the Eight Elephants part of the hostel. “Don’t cry, you are going to be separated”, she says to us. Haha. Agent Getz’s room is also booked tonight so he has to move into my old room. Feng Feng goes into my room and sniffs loudly, “It’s pretty stinky, are you sure?”. Getz just laughs, “Yeah I think I’ll be ok”. “It’s up to you, your friend is pretty stinky”. Oh Feng Feng, you’re hilarious.

Getz and I investigate our options for the day. We got Roxy’d last night and it’s a laster. Our brains are in Slo-mo today for sure. Since we have to be back to re-acquire Tha Queebs in a bit we figure we can just jet out on the subway for a quickie somewhere. The Shilin National Palace Museum sounds like a good option. We’re off.

SHILIN DISTRICT

Zssht! We’re in Shilin district and we’re hungry. We find a good looking cafe lunch spot called Ikari coffee and head inside. The girls at the counter are hesitant to talk to us because we’re white and I think they’re self conscious of their English skills. They wait awkwardly until another girl comes in from the back. She gives them all a sigh that basically says “Really? you didn’t even try?” and then asks us politely “What would you like?”. I go with something called a Pork Knuckle and Getz gets a a stew of some sort. The dishes come out and they look fantastic. We take them to an upstairs sitting area that’s almost completely packed with people. Glass walls look back out over the street and it’s a nice big open area with multiple lounge-style sitting areas with leather couches and a bunch of couples tables. Pretty great spot we stumbled upon here.

Getz’s stew is fairly lackluster, unfortunately. I dig into the pork knuckle and it is sooooooooo goooooood! It’s one of the best things I’ve had on the trip so far actually. Perfectly cooked, semi-seared and succulent, with great mustard dipping sauce. The coffee is also excellent.

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I scan the room for Panditos. None to be found, we’re safe. I do spot several nappers. Amazing. There’s always someone having a nap within 20 feet of you here in Taiwan. The guy at the table next to us is being tutored in what looks like higher order differential equations. He’s fairly animated with his tutor but looking somewhat defeated. Getz and I sink deeper into our chairs and crank up the coffees trying to fend off the receding bender.

We are lazy and hungover and mainly just sit quietly downing cup after cup of coffee. Our downtime lasts a little too long and we realize that the museum will take hours to visit but Tha Queebs will be back in just a couple of hours as well. So our adventures for the day seem to be downsized to just the lunch. Back to the subway, (Spock, put that tricoder away) Zsssht!, hit a fresh juice stand with some crazy machine that just steamrolls various fruits to juice them, nab some 7/11 supplies, back under the piano sign and we’re once again lounging at Dreaming Dragon. Waiting on Tha Queebs.

Out in the common room I sit at the computer and fire up the blog for a bit. I start on a few honor beers to aid in clearing the brainfog. There is a smooth jazz playlist playing from the computer and some new dude is doing the afternoon portion of the hostel clean-up. His name is Ian. Yes, he is also super duper nice. “Are you guys twins?” he asks Getz and me. “No we’re detectives, these are disguises. We get that a lot though.”

Ian chats with us for a while. He’s thrilled that we’re from eastern Canada but living in California. “I’ve always dreamed of living in another country” He’s a star-eyed, idealistic-youth-type, it’s refreshing to talk to him. And the jazz list he put together is spectacular. Starting to get comfortable now. Agent Getz mixes us up some vodka with the fresh juice we just got. The only way through the haze is to get back on the horse.

DAZHI 

Queenie gets back to the hostel a couple hours later than expected. What she didn’t expect was Drisdelle and I ramping out of our hangovers and white guy grooving to smooth jazz. She just shakes her head and gets washed up while we giggle and make some Mr Brown and Whiskeys for the road. We’re off to Dazhi to hang with some of her relatives!

There’s a bit of subway pinball on the way, literally running across the platform to another car, and then doing the same again at the next stop. A couple lines later and Zsssht! Dazhi.

Dazhi seems to be fairly residential and a little upscale. The shops and restaurants look to be on the ritzy side of things. Queenie gets excited about some chicken stand and although we’re going to her cousin’s place for dinner we stop and grab some num nums. I think it’s basically fried chicken? She’s right, it’s really good.

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We pass by a stinky tofu vendor. It’s an olfactory TKO. Wow, that has to be the most recognizable smell worldwide. We pass on the stinky tofu and keep trucking towards the cousin’s spot. We grab some beers for dinner and then spot a gorgeous Roots store.

Roots is apparently huge in Taiwan for some reason. Beavers are pretty cute I suppose. We decide it’s been a while since our last shopping montage and dip inside. It’s a sweet Roots store. I take the opportunity to go super Canadian and nab a couple new flannel shirts.

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I also find a decent beanie that may become the replacement for my fave one that I lost at that Mexican strip club. Queenie gets a new hoodie and some comfy jogging pants.

Suited up in some fresh duds we continue down the road to Queenie’s cousin’s (very posh-looking) apartment complex. Four tall buildings with nice greenery, lighting and fountains. We check in with the guard and we’re off to the elevator on our way into a family dinner situation and I realize that I have absolutely no idea what to expect.

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