It got better

So, my Chinese New Year did get better.  The last few days my friends had a lot of guests over to their house, and I found some who were willing to slow down their Chinese and could speak some English, so we had some more interesting conversations.  (Also, they were more respectful of personal space, etc.)

So I got a lot more useful practice of my Chinese, and got really in the zone with it.  I need more practice like that.  I wish I hadn't gotten myself so far into debt, then I could afford to work less, and spend more time studying Chinese and practicing.

Ah, well.

I came back to Taipei on Wednesday morning, and proceeded to do almost nothing for 4 days, which was great.  Wednesday evening I hung out with my roommate Fox, as well as (separately) my friend Elana, who both headed back home for a visit on Thursday.  (I saw "Fun with Dick and Jane", the new Jim Carrey movie, with Elana.  Hilarious.)

And now for something almost completely different:

The Taiwanese are extremely generous people, whch tends to make up for all their other faults.  I have a one-one student, whose father just got a new TV.  So they gave me the old one on Saturday.  It doesn't look that old, and it's a 29-inch TV.  For free.  How cool is that?  Now I can watch Chinese TV.

Then, Sunday morning, the same guy treated me to a trip to Wulai, which is south of Taipei.  Wulai is famous for two things: 1) its volcanic hot springs and 2) its aboriginal museum.  I want to go back and see the aboriginal museum at some point, but this time we went to the hot springs. (Yes, Taiwan has aborigines.  They're not the same as the Australian ones, but their clothes look a lot like the American ones.)

The hot springs are supposed to help with your circulation, etc.  I don't know about that, but they certainly do help you relax. Assuming you can ignore the naked Chinese guys sitting around looking at you out of the corner of your eye (which I managed to do, after a while; you get used to people staring at you in this country).  Not all the hot springs are clothing-optional, but I think most of them are.  (For any conservatives on this list: yes, there are separate baths for men and women.  No mixed nakedness.)  Either way, it's another aspect of Taiwanese culture that I got to explore.  Apparently people have been bathing in the hot springs there for thousands of years.  (Although they didn't used to have to pay, I think.)

Did that last paragraph have too many parentheses? (Nah.)

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