out in the heat

I think I overdid things a little today. Ted’s away in the Netherlands so I decided to celebrate our anniversary by treating myself to a trip to the bookstore (only the big ones downtown have much selection in English). Today was the very first day the MRT line trough our neighborhood (and beyond) was open so I decided to brave the crowds. It’s about a ten-minute walk from our house, and it’s a hot day but there was enough cloud cover not to be really blazing. The line into town was about like the Philadelphia El during rush hour on a weekday, but then when I switched to the east/west line (not newly opened!) there were were even seats free – I hope that’s more representative of what normal Saturday crowds will be like once things settle down.

I went first to the Eslite flagship store as it’s closest to the MRT stop there – only about five minutes’ walk to three floors of bookstore plus four more of mall. I started with a cup of watermelon juice in the food court (why do we not have watermelon juice in the US? It’s awfully tasty and not terribly complicated to make – put watermelon chunks in a blender, blend, drink) because by after the walk and standing on the train I needed something wet. An hour or so later, I decided to head on south to Page One, because I wasn’t quite used up yet and the books I’d bought were light. That may have been a mistake, because that’s a lot hot walk, though at least there was shade. I stopped first for some food (tomato/mozzerella salad), but had to wait a while to be seated ad then again to be served, and by then the crowds were getting to me. I did a quick browse through Page One, picked up another couple of books, and headed home, where I am currently much enjoying the quiet and lack of other people (well, I wouldn’t mind if Ted were here………..) and letting my brain grow back.

Funny, because I don’t think my day would have been terribly stressful to a Taiwanese person, but between my Yankee lack of heat tolerance (though Taiwan is really not nearly as bad as Houston – couldn’t have done the walking at all there, even if they had public mass transit or anything in walking distance from it) and my Western attitude to crowds (i.e. I’d really rather not be in one, given the choice) It was pretty draining.

Yesterday I worked from home because I had visits with both my eye doctor and dentist. At the former, I learned that my right and left eyes now see 20/18 and 20/20 respectively – I think I can call the LASIK an unqualified success. I’m very happy with the clinic I went to also (Clinic 20/20, near the American school) – they’re clean and very professional, and not only the doctor but most of the clinic staff speak pretty good English. The dentist was for a cleaning, but there is one of the things I’ll miss when we leave Taiwan. This place is much better than our last US dentist (whose main virtue was accepting our insurance) and the hygienists here are very gentle, but the thing that is very Taiwanese to me is that, since they keep the place fairly cold, if I walk in wearing a skirt the techs will put a blanket over me. In the US you sometimes here about “Minnesota nice” or sometime “Canada nice”; I wonder if it’s much like “Taiwan kind”?

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