Day 1 – The Art of Pigeon Herding and Other Stories from The Den

Quarantine Diary:

I’m up at 4 AM, this body decides six hours of sleep is enough. Okay, let’s get up then. Check some email, find your responses to blog posts (thanks all :), make a cup of tea and roll out the yoga mat. Time to stretch and get the travel kinks out of my spine and hips. Kaya texts me at 6:30 AM – she’s up early leaving for a hike in the mountains. I experience a brief moment of envy (ohhh, I would looove to go), but it passes as quickly as it came. Have fun honey! Happy to be here, find my way into the way of it.

It’s the start of a long weekend. The National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan), also referred to as Double Ten Day or Double Tenth Day. It commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising of 10 October 1911 (hence 10-10 or double ten), which led to the end of the Qing Dynasty in China and establishment of the Republic of China on 1 January 1912.

Later, during the course of the Chinese Civil War, the government of the Republic of China (now Taiwan) lost control of mainland China, fleeing to the Island of Taiwan in December 1949. The National Day is now mainly celebrated here, but also by many overseas Chinese. Thanks to this holiday, we just had a mini crash course in Chinese history. This speaks to the ongoing tensions between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Republic of China (ROC = Taiwan). And the many international issues and lack of recognition of the ROC on the international stage. The PRC has more land, people, economic and fire power…so there you have it. In this little mind there is an easy (and politically uneducated) solution – switch the name to Taiwan, let go of the struggle to be the one true China and live happily ever after. But of course that won’t happen. And the PRC wouldn’t go along either. Taiwan’s most enduring news stories centre around the possibility of invasion by the PRC. War… the human curse.

During the Chinese revolution, many of the historical treasures of the Forbidden City were hidden in Taiwan and now fill Taipei’s Royal Palace Museum. Apparently, this award-winning museum has over 700,000 Chinese Imperial artifacts and is one of the largest collections of its type in the world. I missed going there during my last visit in February, so it’s top of my list now once I get out of The Den. I’ve christened my room “The Den” with the meaning “a wild mammal’s hidden home; a lair” in mind. LOL.

What’s for breakfast? Hmm, sweet potatoes, banana, milk tea… My first online shopping spree with Ubereats yesterday included purchasing a large bag of cooked, but frozen yams (I anticipated a small, hot portion). You just never know what you’ll get 🙂 What to do without a microwave or other kitchen facilities? Steep them in hot water! Voila, yummy Yams. The mini fridge and electric kettle will have to do for a while. Did I mention that I love room service…?

Now, what about the pigeon man (properly “pigeon fancier”)? I glanced out the window and saw someone on a rooftop nearby waving a red flag. First thought it’s related to double tenth day, wondering what the characters on the flag say? A little later I have a look and find him “pigeon herding” with two long sticks, prodding this one or that one into the loft. Some fly away, return, and the game starts over again. Ha! Neighbourhood entertainment.

At noon, sub-lieutenant L. of Wanhua Precinct, Taipei Police Department calls to discuss the quarantine expectations and rules. He is my designated person, speaks English well and even succeeds in pronouncing my last name. All is well, I’m on track. He wishes me the best and reassures me that they are willing to offer help if needed. I’ll hear from him daily. My Taiwanese phone has to be kept charged and on at all times, and of course with me – but it’s not like I’m going anywhere 😉 Yes, I’m being tracked, and that’s what I knowingly signed up for coming here. And it’s no issue, I feel cared for by all these kind human beings.

“If you see your glass as half empty, pour it into a smaller glass… and stop bitching.”

Wow, I think I just took an hour browsing Ubereats to decide on a meal… there are so many to choose from! And it’s affordable, yummy, comes with ratings, is quick, and supporting local economy. What not to love?! I decide on Roasted Beet Hummus Bowl with marinated tempeh and a Blue-Goji smoothie. Healthy Yumm today.

Outside, life has picked up pace. The rain stopped, scooter parking stalls have filled up, people are out and about and it’s getting busier by the minute as we’re nearing evening. I like this neighbourhood – it’s colourful and alive. A couple of people are having a shouting match; a scooter with a flat of 100 or so eggs on the back swerves by; a couple of young men wave at me and then at their friend who must be somewhere over to the left and down in his room, watching the world go by. They talk on the phone, smile, laugh, and eventually take off on their bikes. Old and young, gay and straight, rich and poor and everything in-between passes by as I enjoy my meal and watch from my den in the sky. 🙂 Life is good!

8 thoughts on “Day 1 – The Art of Pigeon Herding and Other Stories from The Den

    1. oh boooo, and yes, you’re right, I’d be surprised if I don’t hit a low. So far so good. Whenever I’ve done long meditation retreats, I committed beforehand to embrace the experience and make the best of it. I did the same with this one. Let’s see how it will work out. xox

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  1. This reminds me a bit of when Don and I were stuck in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur when the city was shut down. Only it was only for 3 days and we were allowed outside lol.
    Loving all the pics of the goings-on down below in the street.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

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