Today, Hsinchu is warm and sunny, and I have feelings which amount to optimism on the one hand and loss on the other. This afternoon I will leave Hsinchu for the last time, maybe never to return, but the future is bright, bright like a nuclear explosion.
Yesterday I tried to flog the scooter I bought only to discover that I never legally perchased it in the first place. So I’ve been driving around illegally for 5 months and now I can’t technically sell it. Instead, today I will sell it to a guy for a biscuit of what I paid. But ‘ey, this departure process has cost some money. What’s an extra $NT5,000? I also virtually or literally gave away a rice cooker, hot plate, fan, frying pan, plants, and more as the escape plan took hold.
I’m now here with the wonderful Lisa Yang for a final breakfast. She probably taught me more Chinese than anyone and was more than patient with all my bad student ways. She’s also helping me with complicated and boring tax things, more of which would be do mundane to recount. We found this place on a post-tax hungry scooter run, and only have an hour before I have to meet the scooter guy. We get breakfasts. Mine is, fittingly, an ‘English breakfast’. It’s soup, bacon, salad, bread, egg and, most gratifyingly, scones. While the breakfast was anything but English (no grease) the scones were through and though die hard Brit.
How to pronounce scone? The o_e suggests a long o to rhyme with bone, but in my family we say ‘scon’. I think that whatever pronunciation you pick, you think the other way is for the poshos. I give Lisa some scone and she agreed with me about it’s tasty goodness. Creamy, jammy happiness. Yes, if nothing else made me want to go home, the scones do.
Turns out, I soon realise, the café owner spent a long time in Sheffield. Evidently the inspiration for the café came from this trip, and I commended him on his scones. How do they say scone in Sheffield, I ask myself. I didn’t ask the owner: the notion of regional accents seems to confuse the Taiwanese and their belief in a monolithic American accent reflected in their almost holy KK phonetics system.
Goodbye Hsinchu, your wind, and the friends I made. Goodbye to Yaxiang Fan, the duck place I frequented more and more as I got bored of cooking. Goodbye, the cool-dude street dancers under the roundabout. Goodbye to the scooters…oh I’ll see you in Taipei! For I leave for there in 3 hours.