Today I went to to Guandu, a "little" town that has it's own MRT stop along the Tamsui river. I intended to ride a bike up to a boat wharf in Bali on the opposite side of the river but things don't always go as planned.
First, I must say, that I am not scared of this city, Taipei city, anymore. It was a bit daunting at first with the language but it is no longer, for the most part, a problem. More obscure places are usually not in English which is where is becomes trickier but that's another story. Anyway, I went to Guandu and follow the signs to take a bus to the boat wharf. At first instinct I should have not taken the bus because I never do. It's always a nice short walk from the MRT station. I took the bus and went on a 40 minute bus ride back to the place I started! I wasn't very happy. It cost me roughly $1USD too (crazy cheap). The bus said it was going to this place I wanted but never did, oh well. I got off the bus and walked to the temple and wharf (a short walk away!). The temple was grande, more elaborate than most inside of Taipei proper. The boat wharf was pretty lame though it did have a nice view.
On the way back I stopped at a juice/tea drink chain called Coco. As a foreigner who doesn't speak Chinese it's sometimes easier to pick items off of a menu that has pictures. Advertisments with giant drinks with the English words "Kumquat Milk Tea" or "Passion Fruit Oolong Tea with Pineapple Jelly" always help. I choose the latter. It was my turn to order so I am ready to awkwardly point out what I wanted on the oppsite wall with the giant drink and the guy speaks English.
I am honestly dumbfounded. I act like an idiot because I haven't spoken my own language very much in past few months. He ended up being from San Fransisco so he spoke like you, like me. At times I expect little to no English so when stuff like that happens you just have to appreciate it. I probably look more stupid because I don't speak any Chinese. It's a tough world out there.
Apart from the random English speaking Coco employee there is the expat bars. Those are quite the experience too. I could go without speaking to anyone all day because of the language barrier. Keeping a vow of silence here would be easy. I can talk to Seth, his roommates, the people we hang out with but those are few are far between. When entering an expat bar a sense of angst and excitement overcome me because these people can understand me and vice versa.
I am not an English teacher yet so these events may be heightened by the fact that I am not teaching almost everyday. Ding bu dong- I don't know.