Okay so for the sake of everyone at home who’s afraid for me. It’s okay. I’m quite far from the east coast.
I’m actually in Taipei, right near the heart of the city. Taipei is it’s own little micro climate because it is surrounded by mountains on all sides. so if there was an overland wave coming from the east it would break along the mountain ranges first I imagine. I’ve tagged the offical report.
But it does grind my gears that ther was no warning issued along the east coast. But apparently everyone is getting kicked off the beach.
A couple of weekends ago I was in Kenting, I met some other foriegners like myself. One of them was the craziest-awesome Beligan called Tars. We got on like a house on fire. We both were staying in the auxillary hostel that one of Afei’s friends own in Kenting. It was a wee bit of a trot from the beach, but it was only for a couple of nights.
We graced the main street of Kenting with our presence on the Saturday night in the middle of the long weekend. The night market was packed. People, crammed shoulder to shoulder, meandering up one side of the street and back down the other like some kind of rehearsed public outing ritual. I saw the milling throng of flesh and textiles and edibles and I realised that this would be an excellent opportunity to try a new game that I learned earlier in the week from a couple of ESL teachers on holiday from Korea.
Title: The Wizard stick game.
Cans of beer
Preferably two or more people (you could try it by yourself but I don’t think it would be as fun…)
Enough 7/11s, Family Marts, Ok Marts and maybe 24s (all of these are corner store franchises) to sufficiently fuel your alcoholic rampage.
The aim of the game is to drink your height in alcohol. This is measured by duct taping your empty cans to the bottom of your new ones, and so on and so forth until you’ve managed to reach a fully fledged Wizard Stick. Once that is completed, you are now drunk enough to go out on the town without having to spend half a week’s pay on overpriced club drinks.
That’s if you make it to the clubs.
My friend Tars and I, meandered along, playing our little game, carting with us a plastic bag with our duct tape inside it. Steadily by steadily our little towers grew. The sight of us carrying around the evidence of our alcoholism was as much a talking point as anything, so really, the party just went wherever we did. There was a woman selling a local drink, a kind of Millet wine who danced a Traditional Taiwanese Aboriginal dance for us and tried to teach it to us too. My state of inebriation was enough to impede the gracefulness of my jig to say the least. A bunch of locals at one of the bars pulled us off the street to drink with them and I tried my first beetle nut. At some point in the night we saw Afei drawing temporary tattoos on people.
We were getting pretty sloppy towards the end of it, I had managed to make myself a walking stick by the time I’d had enough of it. We stepped into a couple of bars, but only really to use the Lavatory. In fact that was the whole night, just going from 711 to family mart, looking for a place to pee. Buying more beer and trying to find a place to pee. Unfortunately our pissing schedule was alternating so just after one of was walking out of the 711 down the street it was only small matter of minutes before the other needed to pee again. I think we were well baked at the moment when I completely lost my shit in an hysterical fit of Laughter after watching Tars, ever so casually take a swig from his beer tower, a long green aluminium monstrosity knocking over top shelf merchandise in the Family Mart in the act of it.
We stumbled back out onto the street, trying to figure out where the bus left from, when we saw Afei getting into his van on the other side of the street. After a futile bout of communication, Afei piled us into the back of his van and took us to the hostel. Such good fortune! After a brief stumble, Tars emptying the contents of his stomach onto a plant on the side of the road and two generous strangers giving us rides on their mopeds, we actually made it back to our room
The next morning was filled with many mysteries, like the two gleaming aluminium pseudo structures in the hall way and how half of Tars’ toenail went missing…. fun times in Kenting.
While Foreign nationals may have superior livers to the Local Chinese from hundreds of years of regular alcoholic abuse, it is still inadvisable to attempt to drink such vast quantities of alcohol when oneself is the foreign national in such a situation. HOWEVER the potential for awesome and excitement is bound to increase by a factor of at least radical if not righteous.
“I found Afei’s place online and booked a bed in the dorm. Since when I have had a hard time finding a good reason to leave.”
After I first arrived, I was a bit taken aback to begin with, there’s a huge Husky who’s old and likes to throw his bowl around when it’s dinner time and a great big Labrador named Dafei. These two share the lounge room with us during the day, but these guys are friendly and full of character, they’re more like members of the family.
Everyone here has been really good to me. From the moment I came and sat down in the lounge room where one whole wall is lined with surf boards, A-Fei told me of a Taiwanese saying: “慢慢來 (Màn man lái)” But it literally translates to something like, “Slowly slowly it will come to you”.
It’s like a philosophy of surfing. You can watch the water, and it may seem flat but eventually it will swell and the waves will come to you, there will always be another wave. Such is the same with your life: if there’s something you want, just be patient, it will come to you eventually.
When I was in Kaohsiung overnight, I came up with a Chinese Name for myself,” 昆(Kūn) which means offspring or descendent, elder brother, family or genealogy. And it sounds a little like Quinn. I think it kind of fitting that this year is the year of the rabbit (because all I can think of them doing is copulating and breeding, generation after generation). And I was born in the year of the rabbit. Some of the guys who work at the hostel/surf shop have given me a nickname: A-Kun. I think it’s what they do here, like how back at home we’ll put an o or a y at the end of a name ( eg. quinno, quinny). So yeah, they call me A-Kun.
When we go surfing they’ll give me awesome pointers in their english and my failing Taiwanese as to how to ride the waves without the waves riding you. I’m using one of their Roxy-Billabong pink beginner longboards and getting board rash in the strangest of places… I’ve wiped out more often than I’ve rode a good wave, but the more I surf, the easier it gets. I’ve lost track of the days and I’m loving it.
The greatest thing that I have found since being here is feeling the water under my feet. After surfing for most of the day I was exhausted but I could still feel the waves in my legs, swelling and rolling. It was the most amazing feeling, it’s as though my body was hypnotised by the water (like when you play guitar hero for too long and everything looks like it’s falling away from you) . The motion of the water and the waves was written into the fibres of the muscles in my legs and I could just dream with my body while all my stress and worries were washed away with the rolling tides.
It is for this reason that it is imperative that every man in his lifetime should learn how to surf.
After surfing, A-Fei likes to share a bottle of Power Drink with everyone (I can’t remember the exact name but it tastes like medicine but is a bit addictive) It’s this red liquid with vitamins and Chinese herbal medicines and a touch of alcohol and caffeine. I think that I have found what I was missing in Northern Taiwan: clean air, tropical sun, and making friends with the locals. Good times ahead!
Afei Surf Hostel!
Check the link:
So I’m not sure who caught me facebooking about this one, but there’s actually a sweet movie to go with it that I’ve been working on for a little while.
The content is questionable but the editing (I think) is possibly beginning to improve.
And just to clarify: I do actually have my passport and money and everything. I am quite an abnormality in Taiwan. People generally aren’t useless drunkards stumbling about the train lines, so I was helped very quickly and effectively by the train staff who generally don’t see too much of this happen. What a night!
So these guys were a bit tricky to track down online but I got a hold of ’em, they’re the only English-speaking-foriegner owned dive shop in Kenting.
If you’re looking for a good, really nicely priced overseas diving trip, have a look at this.
I rang up John Boo, the owner one day before I arrived and he was more than accommodating. We did a couple of shore dives on short notice, saw a seehorse, helped clean up the bay a littel and had some beers and a BBQ back at the Dive lodge afterwards.
All I can say is: Awesome. There is some Amazing diving here and most isn’t that deep either. The Dive lodge is still under construction but the rooftop Jacuzzi is bound to be a treat.
Something else I became aware of is that roughly 80% or more of the world’s diving equipment is manufactured in Taiwan. So I have a feeling that this may be the place where I start to pick up most of my diving kit.