Posts Tagged ‘train


Weekend to Tainan

From the window of the high-speed rail I saw the wind flow through the rice paddies, which rolled a bit like waves on water.

A dragonfly that just posed there on top of a tree, twisting its wings this way and that way to test the breeze.

A waterlily in our pond.

Puppy therapy: this one decided Momma’s bone was his too.  Of course, all the other puppies felt they deserved a share too.

There’s much more to post, but I’m a bit overdue for things like sleep and finishing projects and figuring out plans for the summer and beyond…  gah.  At least there isn’t a hairy black dust coat sitting on the fan vent inside my laptop now thanks to my awesome cousin.  Since we opened up Fawkes-Buckbeak, there have been no spontaneous shut downs!!  (fingers crossed that it will stay that way)

My mix tape for Taiwan these past couple of years would include these songs that I ran into in my head from things like karaoke, the internet, retail music, cousins, car-music, wedding receptions, dance class, the persistent past, and accidentally bumping into outdoor pop concerts.  I need a radio.  Notably missing is one song that I have no idea how to find because I hadn’t the slightest clue what it’s called or its English equivalent, but my former suitemate played it lots…  I don’t necessarily love everything on this, but some if it can be persistent and may loop in my head when I’m supposed to be serious about doing something else, like grading or writing that thing I should get back to now, if I am not going to sleep anyway.  You have been warned.


Sunsets from the train


Being a baby

So, I started this weekend in the search for A Plan. This is something of a recurrent theme in my life. I’m in need of several, so if you have any good ones to spare, I’m open to suggestion.

However, relevant to this post, I was trying to make plans with my cousin for the weekend. After being informed of the need to pay felicitations to Shao Bai (the female, large, black, short-haired Taiwan dog equivalent to Shao Hei, the male, long-haired, white little dog who has already made his appearance on the blog) for having nine puppies, I decided that since a visit to Kyoto for the cherry blossom festival would be impossible due to the lack of being able to get time off and tickets, I would go back to have some puppy therapy to cheer myself up a bit.

I called up my cousin to invite him along, and he suggested that he could try rounding up the wagons and figuring out plans. So I waited… and waited… and the day before it was time to go, I called him up, got no answer, and decided to get myself a train ticket while there still might be one left to take advantage of the long weekend.

He called me right afterwards and I told him of my setup. The gist of the conversation went something like this:

“You’re going to Tainan… ALONE?”

“Yeah, soooo? I am NOT a baby.”

“Well, yes, but you’re a baby to US.” (Just because he’s ten+ years older than I am, he gets to put on airs…)

“I am ** years old, have traveled Korea, lived on my own in New York, and am perfectly capable of going to Tainan on my own.” (Consider this said in my most teacher-y voice, the one with the steely-eyed look that only seems to make most of my students laugh.)

He conceded that perhaps I was right and would be okay.

The next day I had that return to the feeling of exhilaration and adventure which one only gets when hopping off on one’s own, and which lasted until my aunt rolled up to my rescue after the kindly intervention of the security guard at the bus stop.

Then I visited babies this weekend, nine of them, eyes barely open, rolling, and sliding themselves along the ground, sleeping, eating, and yipping (well, sometimes it sounded like a cross between a clucking chicken and a chattering monkey).

(My apologies for the following photos– I prefer cuddling them to photographing them. Here are my few shots on the not-so-blurry side…)

Holding a puppy in one hand, its little pink tongue out as it yawned, I did realize something over again… Though molly-coddling may be slightly stifling every now and then, there are benefits to being somebody’s baby. Even though all they may do is yip, creep, sleep, eat, and poop, they’re still seen as adorable. Babies are loved.

And sometimes it’s nice to not have to be the grown up in charge of cleaning up the mess, feeding yourself, and figuring out where the best ice cream is… But only sometimes.


“Rosy-fingered dawn” or “The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze” over Alishan

So the big crowd-pleaser at Alishan is the sunrise. We all crashed in this hostel where there were three double-bed bunkbeds crammed in a room with two bathrooms. It was perfectly pleasant and reminded me of my backpacking month in France. My little cell phone alarm woke us up at 4 AM and we headed up for the ridiculously long line to take the mountain train up to see the sunset. The mountain train was very narrow with benches on either side and room for about two people in the aisle clinging to the hand grips for dear life as the train swayed back and forth chugging upwards. The Taiwanese capacity for crowding was as usual rather impressive (though I’ve been in worse). I think the crazily crammed train might have accounted for the odd sensation of a grain of sand lodged in my throat that became a full-on bout of thready voice/sore throat and a cold for the week and a half afterwards. (My last experience with a crazy-crammed train was coming back to Tainan from Hualien, and that one resulted in half the party getting a vile tummy-thrasher for the new year.)

This is the station after most of the passengers had poured out and up the stairs to the viewing platform where there were breakfast shops and at least one guide with an obnoxious bull-horn…

The zoomed shot past all the people…

We didn’t stay here. Instead we followed this path up…

To a mostly abandoned higher platform that afforded views of the mountains all around us.

The sea of clouds completely obscured the valley, and the mountains were only shadows that echoed the clouds. Sometimes I wasn’t quite sure whether the shadow I was looking at was a mountain ridge or a cloud bank.

Sunrise is different from sunsets of my experience (Being a mao toe ing–owl, or yeh mao tze–cat, or any other beings with nocturnal tendencies, I so rarely see the sun, and morning light tends to be outside my span of wakefulness…) The horizon does have that orange glow before the sun rises, but the sun rises brightly, blindingly instead of that slow, easy-on-the eyes large orange ball of a sunset. If I could just get cool sunglasses that I wouldn’t forget in my bag where they get scratched up by my keys…. I just fiddled with the ISO in my camera and looked through the viewfinder to take a break from the sun, but here were the other methods to see the sun.

The other sunrise photographs are here.

Oh, and excuse my nerdiness for quoting Homer’s Odyssey and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado in the subject line…

Free Rice

June 2019
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