Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Omens for the new year

Yesterday was Chinese New Year, and though I had hoped to spend it in a more Chinese country, I have met quite a few people here on holidays who are escaping Taiwan and China because the Spring Festival is just too insane. 
There are some things which you're traditionally not supposed to do on the day (for example, washing your hair means you will wash away good fortune (I think) for the year).  So I didn't wash my hair, avoided using scissors etc, even though this has never bothered me before.  I gave the boys hong bao (red envelopes) with the minimal amount of Baht I could spare in them. 
We hired some little automatic scooters and took them off on a trip around the island.  It was definitely one of the scariest things I've done in a long time.  I have never ridden a motorised bike before, and the roads here are gravel, dirt, potholed and extremely steep.  After a story the boys told me about falling off because of dodgy steering around corners, I was petrified and wobbly when I started thinking too much about it.  At one point we were coming down a hill to a beautiful beach, but all I could concentrate on was the fact that the hill was way too steep for me.  The back tyre was spinning out on the gravel, and I had to stop at one point and Martyn had to come and rescue me.  I walked down while he drove my bike.  We had a swim at the beach, and then on the way back up I managed to totally freak out, stopped my bike half way up the first hill, and basically fell over into the bushes.  I have some impressive bruises on one leg, and a scrape or two on the other.  Otherwise I'm fine (and they did provide helmets).  I learned pretty quickly that you just have to gun it up the steep slopes, or you're screwed, as I was the first time.  There were a lot more awful slopes and even scarier traffic around the island, but no more casualties thankfully.  I wonder what bruises on new year mean?
Last night we headed out to the black moon party on the south side of the island.  There was a lot of psy trance, black light and fluoro body paint.  Surprisingly there was only one other pair of poi (and the twirler was nae good), although I met a couple of twirlers after I took mine out for a while.  I've never had them out under black light before and they look awesome, if I do say so myself.  We ran into some girls we met in Bangkok and I had a really good time chatting with them and some Irish boys for most of the night.  I didn't get home til after 6am because of the interesting taxi system (shared to cut down the costs) and managed to see the sunrise before I went to bed. 
I had to get up to return the dreaded bike today, and after that went back to sleep for most of the day.  I managed to catch the sunset, and now I think I will head into town for another Muy Thai boxing match ...

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