After staying at Chicago Stu's place for a couple of weeks, and starting to stress about where I was going to live, I finally moved into a new place last night. It's what's known as a "rooftop" apartment, small and on the rooftop(!) It's on the 8th floor, I can catch the elevator to the 7th then climb stairs to the 8th. I'm actually only renting one of the two rooms, but the other room is empty so for the time being I have the whole place to myself. Well, myself and the shrine to my landlords parents and to the gods, which he comes up to every morning to pay respects(he lives on the 7th floor). I have good view of the city, especially of Taipei 101, the worlds tallest building (until one in Dubai is finished next year). The apartment is in YongHe city, across the river from Taipei, so technically it's in Taipei County not Taipei city, and only 2 metro stops from my school (I start Chinese classes next week). Is a really old part of town, more laid back the Taipei proper, lots of old style markets and restaraunts, and narrow winding alleys to explore. Old apartment buildings with old ladies sitting at the door, old shops selling dried mushrooms and powders and chinese medicine. There is a morning market on my street which operates every day, you can get just about everything you need. Today I bought some chillies and garlic, the vendor asked me if I was american, then if I was Canadian, I'm used to that now. He also gave me some help with my pronunciation. They seem like a friendly bunch around here. At this market there are people selling clothes next to vegetables next to a pork seller chopping up a pig with a cleaver, chop chop chop, intestines and stomach and other offal hanging on hooks, people and flies and dogs looking on with interest, next to a vendor selling high mountain peaches, next to a stall selling fresh fish and squid and shellfish next to a noodle seller next to a bra seller next to a kill while you watch chicken seller, next to a dried mushroom seller, and it goes on. There is a lot of noise and bustle, but come the afternoon and evening it reverts to a quiet little back street.
So, this is my new neighborhood.