Tuesday July 31st: The Vacation-like Part Ends

Not that it’s any shock, since I’ve been mentioning it for the last month or so, but I’ve found myself exhausted. I’ve learned quite a lot about this whole traveling thing, taking pictures, work flow, and my likely required period of downtime.

Last night I said goodbye to my favorite soup and oyster omelet stand. The prior nights I respectively managed to communicate with them where I had been (yay being able to pronounce the cities!) and when I was leaving (with the help of a calendar on my phone). Saying goodbye was a little more elaborate and involved a grand total of 4 people assisting in translation over the course of the conversation.

I’m not sure there was a night in Taipei I didn’t at least get something from this stand, as they were really convenient, very polite, the right price, and made damned tasty food… so in as much as a person can be with 10 nights over the course of a month, I was a regular.

There are two men and a woman that work the stand, the main guy wears a red apron with the night market’s logo and name, the other guy works during some of their peak hours and when one of the other two goes on a break. Sadly last night the second guy wasn’t also there for the goodbyes, the night market wasn’t very busy due to the torrential rain.

On the 29th after communicating when it was I was leaving, the main guy indicated that the next night, he wanted to give me some of the red pepper sauce to take home. Over the course of my visits, each of the three staff members had their moment where they were both amused, and delighted seeing how much I used when spicing up my dishes. While flavor wise it isn’t notably different from most Asian red pepper chili sauces I’ve had prior there’s a great sentimental factor attached with these four baggies of hot sauce from what quickly became my favorite vendor at the Tonghua/Linjiang St. Night Market, and really the best place for soup I found on the island (when factoring quality and price).

Here without a common language between us, we bonded over food and managed to overcome the language barrier with physical communication, visual aides, and eventually when we really needed some finer bits of articulation, the kindness of others.

14 Week Damage Report:

I’ve managed to go through 3 earbuds, though I’m only claiming responsibility for the first pair, the other two clearly had poor manufacturing as they died within a few days of use, the cable for my headset degraded to nearly useless (again defect as I’ve used it maybe 30 times), I accidentally burned out the charger for my sonicare, the tripod is starting to break (have to manually pull the extension up instead of winding it and lost the square nut to tighten the rotation), one of the soles of my old sneakers I used for hiking is coming off, my fake dress shoes are scuffed beyond excuse (as I expected), my duffel bag is growing some small holes on the bottom and an outer layer hole on one of the grip straps, and the fabric near the loop patch on my camera bag is starting to come apart as it was frequently being grabbed by the hook patch instead of the whole loop patch as one would expect (I hope adding more loop space will help fix this).

We’ll find out more when I fully decompress and take a full inventory.

There’s a typhoon trying to build in the ocean, which was supposedly responsible for the torrential rain yesterday. Hopefully it won’t cause delay, though everything I’ve checked shows no delay in my flight to Korea. In fact, the only update I’ve seen is the suggestion that my flight to Seattle will land even earlier, giving me another 15 minutes of time travel, which as Jeff pointed out in and of itself, should be more than enough time to save Doc Brown from the Libyans.

Oh, sorry, now it’s up to an extra 23 minutes, for a grand total of 53 minutes. I might even make it through customs and have my bag by the time I catch up to my departure time.

I was told that I should expect traffic to be horrible this morning, so I shouldn’t leave at 10AM but rather at about 9AM. It appears the 2060 bus to the International airport runs every 20-30 minutes, though Google would have me think it only runs once ever two hours. I really hope Google is wrong. I’m probably going to be lazy and take a taxi to the bus stop, which is “only” 1km away. The sad part is that it will cost me nearly as much as the bus does… though that’s only because the bus is comparatively really cheap at about $5. It’s a 2 hour bus ride. We’ll see, there’s still the chance I might hobble it, though that means I have to leave with enough time for that, which means at 8:30 if I want to catch the bus that supposedly will be there around 9ish.

Of course I’m short on change, the bus costs $175, and I can only make $64 with exact change. Maybe I’ll see if anyone has some change upstairs. Need to go up there anyway to eat my breakfast mango, drink my yakult, and probably have one last ice cream bar that no one else seemed to want. I’ve tried sharing a few times since there were 5 bars and a maximum of 3 days. People are weird.

I guess this is going to be my last update until Seattle. Wish I had kept up with this more regularly, but I guess we’ll figure out something better later on. Probably a combination of setting aside a number of days I have to work each week so I don’t feel guilty about missing things, and doing 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off as far as moving goes, where I can decompress and catch up during those two weeks.

Either that or learn to take fewer pictures and then write and research less for the writing. Well, I got the fewer pictures down, kinda, mostly due to the exhaustion and nagging frustration of the backlog. I still have thousands more, but I took fewer on average in Taiwan than in previous months.

Realistically, I don’t see either of those two habits lasting very long though. I mean, I was back to usual taking lots and got something like 900 pictures last night.

So… I guess this is it, other than the 2 months of writing to catch up on and one month of photos that I plan to burn through in August.

As odd as it may seem to someone who has never played Homeworld, I assure you, this song makes me think of home insofar as the home you came from rather than the one you grew into. Which is thematically consistent with the narrative. Associations like that are why I love scores as much as I do.