Friday morning I first woke up at 9:30 am. It felt little jaded, possibly due to the weiya hangover from previous day. We went to the same restaurant where we had Jhonson’s farewell party. I did upload pictures from that party on flickr but of course never got around writing about it here. That party was more fun though compared to this one.
Anyways then I let myself sleep again for another hour. I had put in a leave request but still needed to catch upon some work before leaving for Changhua later that night. Although all I did in the weiya was to stuff myself with as much food,beer,wine,juice and soup as I could, I still felt hungry. I finally managed to get out of bed,got dressed up and walked to the nearby breakfast store. Fortunately they were still open until 11 am. It was unpleasant cold and windy outside. I stood outside while they prepared my order. Nursery school besides the store was buzzing with all kinds of activities. It was Friday and also the last day before CNY vacation so they had gathered all little curious children and their curious parents on the small playground. As I watched those curious parents admire their children engaging in group activities I thought to myself “hey I would be doing the same stuff in couple of years”. Before I could entertain any train of thoughts, the store laoban announced that my order was ready.
I came back to my apartment and realized my CNY vacation was officially on. I had a couple of things on my mind to that I wanted to cross off but I kinda felt overwhelmed by the thought of going about them. Luckily I didn’t have to put up with that miserable feeling much long. I received a call from my office and it was decided that I would be going to office in the afternoon. Till then I flipped some pages of some random books still avoiding the fact that I hadn’t packed my bags. As I was preparing to leave for office I realized my bike was still parked at the Jhubei station. I had taken my colleague’s car to the weiya dinner previous evening. Station isn’t far from my place but I shuddered at the thought of having to walk in that blistering cold wind. Fortunately my colleagues,who were still having a normal workday, were out for lunch and they picked me up while going back to office. I picked my bike and rode it to office not before dodging some random plastic drum that was blown off the back of some truck and given a new life of its own by the tyhoon-ish winds.
Having to work on my official leave day made me acutely aware of time and so I wrapped up the work in a frenzied manner. 4 pm we were all off the work and went to a pool court nearby. I spent my time watching my colleagues play couple games of pool and also ran some errands.
Around 6 pm I was back in my apartment, surfing internet,keeping tabs on SAF Vs Aus cricket match. What a cracker of a series they are having. But the match that I longed for was at 7:30 pm. Roger sublime Federer vs Marat Safin. Federer blasted his way past Safin in first two sets. Safin did raise his game in third set but eventually Roger was too hot to handle. I like Marat minus temper Safin by the way. He is cool,handsome bloke in addition to being one of the smartest tennis player around. In the end it was Roger who was menacingly accurate, threw more than what Safin can handle. Roger looked his old prime self, at his uncanny best.
By the time the match was over I found that I hadn’t packed. Even before I started packing I had this nagging feeling that I had forgotten something. I had a rough list of things that I would need for next couple of days so packing went smooth. 30 mins later I was at the Jhubei station waiting for 9:54 pm local train to Hsinchu. I had to catch a fast train to Changhua from Hsinchu as they won’t stop at Jhubei.
Contrary to my expectation trains weren’t overflowing with people thronging Friday night trains down south. I guess many of them had considered this and instead opted to leave earlier in the day or even a day before.
Anyways I got on my 10:20 pm train comfortably and found my window seat was at the back of the train coach/car in the last row. All seats were taken and barely handful of people were standing. We left Hsinchu station and just when I thought it would be a pleasant journey, two girls, who were standing by near the door, moved in and squeezed themselves in the narrow space between the back of last row seats and the back wall of train coach. One of the girl was now right on top of my head, resting her elbow on my backrest. Completely oblivious to me or anyone for that matter she and her friend started discussing, their CNY plans I guess, rather animatedly. Afraid of getting hit by one of them I braced myself leaning forward for rest of the journey.
I read couple of pages but soon realized I wasn’t interested in reading. Had it been a day journey I would rather have enjoyed Taiwan country side view outside. It would have been mesmerizing to watch rice paddies slide by and plethora of mountainous views. Sadly though the only thing I remember noticing was the huge night market just after Fongyuan station. Somewhere between Fongyuan and Taichung friendly ticket checker came along. He looked quite handsome for his age. If trains ever had one of those safety videos that you watch in airplanes, this guy would have definitely made a great host for them.
Almost all of the train emptied at Taichung. I amused myself waching around and saw the strange seats on the platforms. Some are made of toilet seats or at least look like toilet seats. Some of them are shape of giant shoes, the kind I saw on my Yilan trip at a clog museum.
I arrived Changhua at 11:50 pm. My father-in-law came to pick me up. I went to bed as soon as we got home.
The next day I woke up at 10 am and after some brief awake moments I forced myself to sleep again. Around noon Souvik called me from India. 26th is India’s republic day so it would be a long weekend for all Indians. He said he was going to west coast to spend some peaceful time with nature and possibly painting. Later in the afternoon I watched some TV, mostly Australian Open. Watched Tsonga outplay Sela. Last year finalist Tsonga wasn’t impressive but he did manage to pull off 4 set win. In the evening Rafael Nadal blew away Tommy Hass.
Today I had Déjà vu from the previous day. Got up at noon and watched another couple matches from Aus open including the nerve wracking Federer vs Berdych. It was completely different Federer compared to the one I saw on Friday,the one that dismantled Safin. Today Federer had to battle for five difficult sets. There is nothing that I could take away as positive for Federer from this match apart from the fact that he won and now is in the last 16. Another fascinating match was between Jelena Dokic vs Alisa Kleybanova. What a battle of powerful ground strokes, sheer persistence and determination. It is unlikely we will see that level of intensity and performance in remaining matches of women singles tournament.
In the evening we had our new years eve dinner at home. Just myself, Selina and her parents. Quick, short and sweet. Having spent two full days at home watching the idiot box I kinda feel guilty now. Tomorrow we are heading to Lukang.
BTW I did remember on Saturday morning what exactly I forgot to pack. My damn toothbrush.