so this is it. my last 24 hours before i leave for china. i woke up at my usual time (7:00am), had my morning poo, then took a shower (spent a few minutes afterwards mopping up the wet bathroom floor). i left the office around 8:30am to go do some shopping (surprised nobody showed up yet, there's usually that one guy who comes in at 8:00am). i decided last night that i wanted to revisit my grandmother's grave, do some weeding (those jungle plants can easily get out of hand), burn some incense, and more importantly, take some 3D photos that were erased when i accidentally failed to import them onto my computer successfully. who knows when i'm coming back, and i know i'll kick myself for not getting some 3D shots especially since i got this fancy new 3D camera.
the question was where could i buy 1) incense and 2) gardening gloves? i went to matsusei, the underground supermarket next to where i live. that's one of my favorite places to go, i visit at least once a day to get some drinks. i could spend hours in there, just seeing all the different local foods, some familiar, some unique. it's also interesting to see some similar items we have back home in the US and prices here. chocolate is really expensive. a small package of dove chocolate is US$6 (a large bag, on sale, can go for $3 back at home). häagen-dazs ice cream is super expensive, US$10 a pint (or close to a pint, since häagen-dazs has reduced there package size to save money AKA trick the consumer into spending more for less). besides food, matsusei also carries toiletries, kitchen utensils, and various other household items. you can really get a sense of how taiwanese people live by visiting one of these supermarkets.
anyway, i found my incense (NT$10, about 30¢), which wasn't a surprise, because i remember when i was searching for candles, they carried those large ones used for ceremonies. they also carried chinese spirit money, which if you don't know, is this paper money people burn as an offering for their ancestors to spend in heaven. it's a uniquely chinese thing i believe, and most US chinese supermarkets will carry them as well. next were the gloves. would they carry gardening/work gloves? the closest thing i saw were a pair of dishwashing gloves (NT$100). i also saw a box of latex gloves (NT$32) but they'd rip easily. but then i found the gloves i was looking for, made from hemp fiber (but look like cotton) that costs just NT$15 (50¢).
i also bought some sanzapian and fishsnacks for snacking and a grass jelly drink. the cashier was the same woman i saw last night. apparently she has night and day shifts. i made a comment about how it must be hard pulling so many shifts, but she didn't seem to hear what i said. i think she has a touch of the asperger's, which now that i think about it, seems to be kind of common as one of the cashiers at my local star market has a similar weirdly computer-like personality.
next i went to the 7-11 a block away (can be seen from the 12th story office window). since it was right during the morning rush hour, the place was busy with people getting breakfast (tea eggs, anyone?), especially construction workers (not surprised they don't eat very healthy). i was there to find my mentholated gum drops (they only had one box, i'll have to visit another 7-11, which isn't very hard, since there's practically one every few blocks) and to pick up some pudding i forgot to get from mastusei. i also bought a sponge cake (my breakfast).
with that i returned to the office. all the employees were there. i got a few nods of recognition from one or two, but the rest ignored me. they're not especially the most welcoming group of people. i can't really blame them, i've been basically squatting in their office for almost 3 weeks now. there's this one person who gives me the indifferent stink eye every single time. every time i see her i feel bad and wish i'd just rented a place for a month instead, wouldn't have to deal with the awkwardness of running into these people. if i ever come back to taiwan, that's what i'm going to do. nobody really has room for me here. the fact that i'm living in an office sort of shows how extreme the situation is. the only good thing about living in this office is the location. it's close to the dongmen subway station and the view during the day and at night are pretty good from the 12th floor.
it's 1:19am and i'm finally done packing. not everything, i'm still waiting for some clothes to dry (otherwise i'll have to pack them wet, which i hope i won't have to do because then they smell). did i mention i only slept for 4 hours last night? went to bed at 3am, woke up at 7am. i think i'm going to take a taxi to the airport. it's not very far so it'll be a cheap ride, and will give me a chance to use up some loose change. as advertised, today i had lunch with my cousin eric, then went to my grandmother's grave, finally to maokong. i returned home around 9:30, hungry, exhausted, waiting for my cousin to come visit one last time.