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Taipei Day Three

December 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Grucci

My newest ID badge, this one from Big Show, to get me into Taipei 101

So today was another mish-mosh of activities. Breakfast was, as usual, at 6am although realistically most people don’t show up until closer to 7. At 7:30 we all piled into the big bus and headed down to the river site. Halfway there we came across a marathon that was running right along the road we use to access the staging area, so we had to take a little detour and then cross the road (on foot) while avoiding the mass of runners.

The bus that takes us in the mornings

Driving alongside the marathon runners

Some crazy protesters or activists or something!

At the staging area, looking back at the long line of runners

So the morning was spent finishing up what we were doing at the end of the day yesterday, which was tying in wires. So the shells are loaded in the mortars by the Taiwanese crew from Big Show and we come along and take the wires attached to the shells and splice them into the wires running back to the firing panels. We had about 25 of these racks left to do and the seven of us (five when we started) managed to finish up just before lunch. The second-half of the morning I was supposed to be at the 101 building with a few others, but that never happened. What did happen was half an hour into wiring I was using my knife to split two wires so I could strip and splice and wasn’t paying attention so ran the knife back towards my hand (what they teach you not to do in Boy Scouts) and ended up with a decent slice in my left index finger. Lacking any sort of tissue or paper towels and dripping blood, I folded some masking tape on itself, pressed that on the wound then wound masking tape around it. Trish still made me go a quarter of a mile back to the staging area for the first aid kit tho 😛 Luckily a truck was coming by at the time so I ran a quick errand with it and got dropped off at the tent to clean and bandage the finger, then it was right back out – luckily the bandage didn’t get in the way.

4 of our many interpreters – Tina, Vicki, Orophin and Joshua

After lunch my roommate Kevin and I were tasked with assisting my old friend Justin working on the set piece he is in charge of, which is a massive 140’x140′ set piece that will be lifted up by two cranes during the Floral Expo show. We had to take some of the sections of the set piece, which is made up of wire grid pieces, and link them together with metal quicklinks. While we were doing this a little old lady walked by, stopped and watched us, and then just came over and began to help! I had no idea what to do and we had no interpreters handy but she spoke a little English – enough to understand what needed to be done (which wasn’t complicated in and of itself) – none of us wanted to be rude and tell her to leave but at the same time we were wondering if we were taking advantage of her since we wouldn’t be giving her anything in return – but she seemed to just be happy to help out so we just smiled and said “xièxiè” (she-eh she-eh) a lot, which means “thanks”.

Just three of about two dozen rows laid out, you can see others accordion folded in the background

After about two hours or so of working on the set piece we got the call that finally we would be heading over to 101, so we said “xièxiè” one last time to the little old lady and piled into the bed of the truck they sent for us. Then eight of us plus interpreters Tina and Orophin piled into cabs and headed over to Taipei 101. Because we’re still working logistics out with the Big Show crew there and the building security to meet our needs, there was a delay getting into the section of the building we needed to be in, so it wasn’t until almost 4pm that we were finally able to start the task we were sent there to do, which was running wire down the length of the building.

Looking up from the 69th floor staircase

So we had to run wire down from the 90th floor to our staging area on the 59th floor. So we stationed people every 6 or so flights of stairs down from 90 to 59, taped the end of the wire to a water bottle from and lowered it down the center of the stairwell. Once it was all the way down each of us took some slack and tied the wire off to the railing. This is because if we let the wire hang all 41 stories it would end up weighing several pounds, which would stretch it out. By tying it off every few floors, we reduce that problem. We only had time to pass down two wires before 5pm rolled around and we had to call it a day.

Sunset from the 59th floor of Taipei 101

After getting back to the hotel I was able to rest and catch up on some stuff for a few hours and then at 8:30pm we all gathered down in the lobby with the four translators. The original plan was to go out to some restaurant or bar where they served snake and eat some snake, or drink some snake blood or something, but that fell through for some reason (I wasn’t really paying attention to details just was going to follow people wherever they went) so we all decided to hit up the Night Market instead.

We walked a few blocks down to the metro station and bought our single-ride tokens, which I thought you’d slot in the turnstyle but they are actually electronic chips you place against a pad to unlock the gates. Once you exit the system, then you deposit them to open the gates. Just like Japan, these metro stations are very clean. We got off the train right at the marketplace and started to walk around. It’s a section of the city with narrow streets lined with shops and stalls, and where it spills out onto the main thoroughfare the sidewalk is overflowing with food stands and market stalls and game booths. As you can imagine it’s pretty packed.

I tried my hand at some airsoft gun target practice where you shoot out balloons, and this neat little game where you have to stand a few inches in front of a platform tilted back on which is resting an empty 40 liquor bottle. There’s a stick with a rope attached to a ring. You hook the ring over the neck of the bottle and have to stand the bottle up without it tipping over. The proprietor of course gave a demonstration, but even after 4 tries I couldn’t get it to stand up – although I did get it close.

Aside from some exotic Taiwanese/Chinese foods which I didn’t indulge in all that much (except for some yummy pastries) there are clothing, jewelery, accessories, toys, electronics, restaurants – it’s a pretty crazy place! We wandered around aimlessly just seeing what there was to be seen and our translators were awesome, showing us what was what and answering our questions about stuff. And the end of the night we were all tired but had experienced and learned a lot.

Coming home Justin, Trish, Sam, Dan and I decided to take a cab rather than the metro, so our translator Tina told the driver where to go and off we went in a little minivan taxi. Sam was (slightly more than) a little drunk and as the cab whipped around the turn he pantomimed turning a steering wheel and went “screeeeech!” because the cabbie didn’t speak English. I said “Sam, don’t encourage him!” and no less then a minute later you hear the little 4-cyclinder engine go “vvvrrrEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” as we race towards the red light like 600 feet away! 🙂 yea we all puckered for that one but then clapped and cheered as we blew through the empty intersection. Then there was an Audi A6 up ahead and of course the cabbie had to run up to his rear bumper then hop into the next lane and blow by. Okay okay I’ll say it – he drove like me. There you all happy now?!?

But we made it back safe to the hotel (and in record time) Sam took the cabbie’s card (heaven help us) and now it’s past time for bed – up at 6am once again for breakfast and another day of show setup. We’ll be finishing our job at the 101 building – hopefully first thing in the morning but – we’ll see…

The metro single-ride token (and my bandaged sliced finger)

A Taipei Metro station

Dan and Justin, both with Mr. Brown coffee/Vodka mix. Apparently if they catch you drinking beer on the metro it’s a hefty fine. Both Justin and Dan too sips, of course 😛 You can carry, but don’t drink!

A shot of the Night Market where it borders the main thoroughfare

The game stall owner demonstrates (successfully of course) the lifting of the bottle

Here is more in the center of the marketplace

Justin tries on a new hat. I think he shoulda bought it

This is the taxi cab that zipped us back to the hotel

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