“do Americans drink Coke too?”

On Saturday I had a haircut scheduled, so we decided to have dinner at the excellent Japanese place down the street from the salon. Oops. Fortunately we’d eaten early, a combination lunch/dinner, because it was only as we walked into our building’s lobby that we remembered there was a party/dinner for all residents that we’d promised to attend. Oops. So we had to eat a second dinner from the buffet there, or at least enough to be polite. Fortunately, sushi is one of those foods that wears off quickly.

We spent most of the time talking to the family who own the apartment we rent – Karen, the mother, speaks excellent English. They have an adorable daughter, maybe 9 or 10, and I don’t think she had met any Americans to speak to before. Her questions (with her mom translating)included:
– whether we liked Coke (we were drinking it at the time)
– whether we also get hiccups when we drink Coke too fast
– whether we dye our hair these color (for the record: no. I pulled up my bangs and showed her the same-color roots.)

Then she wanted to arm-wrestle me. 🙂 For being a kid a head shorter than I am, she’s strong! I had to use some muscle to win.

So that was Saturday’s fun.

Sunday morning, wegot to Costco at 11, instead of 10 as we’d planned and actually ended up leavin gin frustration at not being able to find any parking spaces. Sunday afternoon was better: I went to get a fitting for a dress I’m having made (for me! To actually fit right!). Predictably, it was too small in the armholes and a little in the stomach, but those can be fixed; that’s what fittings are for. I also brought in a pair of pants whose lining had ripped; the tailor determined that they could just be repaired instead of needing a new lining and she fixed them by hand for me, for free.

Since that didn’t take much time and I didn’t have to rush home, I decided to walk around a bit. As I was passing one of the storefront foot-masseage place, a woman asked me, “Massage-ee?” I demurred, walked on, then thought to myself, “Are you insane? You have the time for once, and a decent place to try,” and went back. It wasn’t a fancy spa, just one of ones that are common here with lots of chairs with ottomans (all covered in bright green vinyl) where you see people getting foot massages. Also, it was right by a hotel catering to foreigners, so I knew they’d be used to dealing with clueless first-timers.

It turned out they did more than just feet; they offered me a full-body massage for $1000NT for anhour (about $30US, probably on the expensive side here courtesy of the nearby hotel). The young male masseur began by having me sit in a chair while he worked on my shoulders. Massage here mostly seems to be shiatsu style – for this part he found the sore spots and then applied lots of pressure.

Next, he handed me some floppy long shorts to put on under my dress for coverage, then led me to the foot massage area. That was my favorite part, the foot/calf massage. The funniest thing was that the lotion came from a Vidal Sasson conitioner squirt bottle. (I presume it was lotion and that he was just reusing the bottle, rather than applying conditioner to my legs!) He finished by wrapping my feet and legs in hot towels for a few minutes, then playing percussion on my legs and soles. (Seriously. The man could have been a drummer.)

Finally he led me into the back room, had me lay on a massage table, covered me (still fully dressed) with towels, and proceeded to apply lots of pressure to various part of my back. (The other thing that puzzles me, considering how fine-boned many people here are, is why there aren’t a lot of broken ribs that way.) He also stretched out my hip joints nicely. I’m not entirely convinced that so much pressure right over the kidneys is a good idea, and my throat’s a little sore on one side today (drained lymph glands?) but I’m definitely feeling nicely loosened up. Next I need to try the new Thai traditional massage place in my neighborhood.

We have a regatta coming up this weekend, and it might not have been the best idea to get deep-tissue massage so close to it, but oh well.

My eyes are doing fairly well. I don’t have to wear safety glasses inside any more and can wash my face normally now, but I’m still using three kinds of eyedrops and still have a few more follow-up visits. I can tell they get tired more quickly still and are still a little more sensitive than normal, but I can see well, including enough near vision to do lace or sock-knitting without glasses. (I do feel a little eyestrain focusing on the socks in that car, and am going easy on that for now.) Friday Ted took the day off and I drove to and from work with no problem, even after it got dark on the way hoe. So far, so good.

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