|Huge tree, square roots|
By the time I actually made it to Carrefour, I was starving. So I tried having dinner in their food court. After perusing all the available options, I decided on lanzhou lamian 蘭州拉麵 (Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles), one of my favorites from Beijing days, less common here.
|Pulled noodles and gloomy bamboos|
When my mensun arrived, I was in for an unfortunate shock. These were the hardest damn things to eat with chopsticks I have ever seen in my whole freakin' life. They were insanely slippery and tapered so that they really really wanted to spurt out from between the chopsticks and go flying across the table. Now using chopsticks is something that Asians often think Westerners have a hard time doing. I have been using chopsticks all my life. It's kind of a sore subject with me because most people consider that I use them wrong. But usually I'm like, as long as the food gets into my mouth, whatever. Now here are these ridiculous mensun which I inadvertently ended up ordering off the English menu, I'll be damned if I ask for a fork to eat them with! So I adjusted my typical sloppy chopstick technique to impeccable good form, thought a lot about physics and gravity, and did manage to eat almost the whole plate with only minor and unnoticeable mishaps. I guess the key is to pick them up so that the thick part is on top--then gravity is your friend. I didn't enjoy them at all though, way too stressful. Gloomy bamboos indeed!
The noodles were great, though, nice flame-broiled beef chunks and tasty broth.
Then I set off to buy my housewares. Of course I ended up with more stuff than I could comfortably carry. It's amazing how much stuff it takes to set up a new place. I got really tired, but it's kind of fun too. It's got this ... dorm room feeling. Coat-hangers. A little tray to put on top of the dorm-fridge so that my coffee supplies don't go everywhere. A magazine rack for my papers, because the room is too small to be sloppy. A mattress cover and a little blanket.
Taipei rush hour is not 5 PM but rather 7 PM. Taking the train home with all this stuff (plus a giant pillow)--the train was packed. I was all-over sticky when I got back, so I took a shower before falling into bed. Thankfully, I tested it before falling in--it was not exactly soft and springy. In fact, it was sort of more like sleeping on a tatami mat on the floor, despite several layers of padding. In fact, I am pondering how generations have inhabitants have each grudgingly added another layer to try to improve the sleeping experience. I'm not sure I'm going to bother though. Isn't sleeping on a harder surface supposed to be good for your back? Despite the bed being so hard, I fell asleep instantly (at around 9) and slept all through until after 5 AM.
Now it's a new day. I wandered down to find breakfast, still too early. There was a dumpling place that had all its doujiang lined up in ready-to-grab cups, and the person working there was just shoving the first load of dumplings into the steamer. A little further down, though, I found a place doing a brisk business in shuijianbao 水煎包 and danbing. So I got myself a danbing and a doujiang. Back in my room I made coffee with milk and sugar. I count myself content. Breakfast is the best meal of the day.
Since I have not had many interesting pictures, here's one I took yesterday on the campus. What a creature! Totally fearless--I stuck the camera practically right in its face--and interesting-looking. Hard to tell from the picture, but its beak was extremely sharp!