Monday, 25 August 2008

Little old Taiwanese men are my favorite...

The city of Taipei has millions of people, so I was bound to run into some pretty funny characters along the way. Since the population is so dense in the "people per square inch" kind of thinking, and since I don't speak the language (so small talk, my favorite, is out of the question) I have become accustom to 'people watching.' Granted, I tend to play this little 'game' back home equally as much, but still, this new variation has got me fairly intrigued. But of all the characters I've come across, I find that my person favorites are the little old men that I see at random parts of the city. Here are some of my absolute favorites.
On the MRT, during the most hectic time of day, we are all crammed into this metal tube like poorly packaged sardines. The smell of fish finds its way under my nose as I think about being stuck in a dark container surrounded by tiny silver, waterless water creatures. Blech. I stand, my hand clutching the ring that dangles from the ceiling...occasionally catching my balance from the jerking thrust back into motion. Looking around, I see people sleeping, checking their cell phones, reading, anything to keep their minds and eyes busy. I haven't caught onto this fad, so my eyes have nothing to keep them busy. So they wander from face to face. This afternoon, my eyes stopped on one of the cutest old men I have ever seen. His small eyes seemed even smaller in comparison to his abnormally large nose...which he was vigorously picking. Nothing beats seeing an old man dig for gold on the MRT during rush hour and him having no discretion. NOTHING.
On one of our first sight-seeing days, we were taken to Longshan Temple, STILL one of my favorite places we've gone. The general population of people within these holy walls is over the age to what I would guess to be 55. This is probably because of the time of day we are visiting; mid afternoon while the younger population is at work. After a few touching and awe inspiring hours at the temple, we were walking through the entry way and I saw an old man walking by in his long brown pants and a white shirt...rolled up to his chest, exposing his stomach to the world. Now, in America, we have a bit of an ugly stereotype attached to this "look"...the flamboyantly gay. Not here. He was just hot...or was he just showing off his abs! (which is very possible because that old man still had an amazingly flat gut!)
Now, this last guy...seriously one of my absolute favorites! On our visit to Ximen Station, we had parked ourselves in front of a department store as a way to shield ourselves from the oncoming crap-storm of insane rain! We circled up, discussing what we wanted to do, especially with the latest obstacle development--the storm. As we were talking, I turned to point to a nearby place as an option, only to see an old man slowly walking by, pausing to look at Anna and I. As I made eye contact, I finished my sentence to my group, but the end of my thought was interrupted by a sudden outburst of laughter by this man. Taken aback, I turned back to my group. "What was THAT all about??" I turned back to see him disappearing into he huddled crowd, perched under the store awning. He was still laughing. My student Stuart informed me, "He is not mental healthy...ah, crazy." Ohh. I get it. Is it weird that I thought it was funnier when I thought he was just this average old guy? Apparently you can get away with a lot of crazy stuff when you are an old man here in Taiwan!

1 comment:

Anna's Taiwan Adventure said...

I loved that laughing old guy. Hilarious.