好日, Hsinchu, Taiwan.

warm

This means good day, hǎo rì. But rè (熱) means hot, so it can mean very warm if you say it wrong, which is what I tend to do. It’s a teak joint of trinkets and pretty people. Unused bar stools line the bar and a posse of girls drink cold teas and talk on the next table. Sometimes, they do drawing or watercolour classes here, but not today – today is beverage time.

I’m slowly working my way through a Joyce novel but really I want to read the Cleanest Race, a book about North Korea. However, getting hold of English books in Hsinchu is a small challenge, unless you want One Day, Twilight or Jane Austen.

I went to the bank to ask about transferring money. With each bank I approach I am compelled to look at them with a kind of Larry David suspicious face, wondering if they can be trusted. They are banks after all. They stare right back at me with suspicion when I tell them I’m paid in cash. ‘Any shifty behaviour with money,’ they tell me, ‘should be done by us.’

You can buy clothes and bags and woven bears in here, all handmade apparently. I stick with an Americano. A bit like me in the Taiwanese summer, this mug conducts heat and cannot be touched. They give you a wicker basket thing for protection. It’s a nice touch, nicer than the branded cardboard cylinders you normally get.

Talked to both parents yesterday and the sister. The mother and sister might come to Taiwan. The father has run out of holiday for the time being. We talked about the ‘democracy in action’ – his words – which led to the rejection of war on Syria. What a mess that is. Oh to make a decision like that, when I am someone who frets about what movie to watch, sometimes for hours.

This morning I watched The Usual Suspects. Last week I did a Denzel Washington marathon. Movies have become something of a safety net, a comfort blanket, when aimlessly lingering at home.

But I got a scooter, and with that comes adventure. Today it came in the form of a trip to the bank and to 好日. In a while I’ll go to the music shop next door to ask about teaching music. Then home, work, home and sleep.

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