Our Restaurant

Shufang and I have decided to open a restaurant here in Taipei: The Hammer, No. 14-Lane 9, Wanhua Rd., Yonghe, New Taipei City / 新北市永和區文化路9巷14號. We have already rented the place, in Yonghe. It's still a mess; it'll need a bit of renovation.

This is the upstairs. More renovation in store. The idea is to soft open in early November (evenings and weekends). We'll keep the menu fairly simple: Italian and Mexican, brunch on the weekends, and a selection of spirits. There are still a ton of issues to clear up. We'll have to see how it goes.

This is the ceiling upstairs. It's probably coming out. Underneath is an A-frame, which looks promising. The renovator who came to place a bid this evening agreed it was tacky, but warned of higher electricity bills should we decide to take the plunge. I think it has to come out though; it's more like an office and kind of ugly. 


Bus Driver Gets Laugh over Old Man Stuck in Door

My wife sent this picture to my gmail account. She explained she and our daughter were riding the bus pictured above on Monday at around 10:45 a.m. when a couple of elderly passengers boarded. They were having trouble coping as the bus had suddenly lurched into traffic. The old man, who was bringing up the rear, unfortunately got caught in the door. The other riders started to shout for the driver to stop, but the driver simply carried on his way. My wife noticed the bus driver was laughing and felt the intent carried a hint of malice.

My wife called the bus company to complain. She pointed out the bus had a camera. "Check the video feed," she said. "You'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It happened between 10:40 to 11:00." To her surprise, the customer rep. asked her:

"Was he a relative of yours?" Translation: a.) What business is this of yours? b.) Why do you care?

My wife said, "Everyone on the bus saw it! What are you talking about?"

I have a couple of questions of my own: a.) Do you think the customer rep. plans to follow up? b.) Has he ever considered that people have it in them to care and do their part as citizens, or does everyone who calls his office simply represent a new form of annoyance?


Speaking of traffic, I had an enlightening experience of my own a couple of weeks ago. I had overslept my afternoon nap and was now bustling off to my daughter's preschool to retrieve her. I came to a crosswalk and was waiting for the cars coming the other way to pass before completing my path over it. As the pack sped by, I wiped the sleep out of my eyes. Then, the last driver in the group decided to lean into the horn of his or her black SUV and give me a blast to scare the shit of me for good measure. After the cars had passed, I walked to the other side. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little put off. Why'd the driver have to honk at me. Clearly, I didn't mean to go anywhere, witness the other cars I had just patiently waited for to get on by. Plus, I was standing in a crosswalk. I turned just to say to myself "Come on, what gives?" and noticed the black SUV stranded at a red light 100 meters down the road. I just couldn't resist.

When I got to the SUV, I could see the outlines of two people, the driver and his or her passenger. So I knocked on their window to get them to roll it down. When nothing occurred, I tried again, with more vigor. The window came down.

"Why were you honking at me?" I asked. "What gives?" Inside, I could see one passenger, a skinny, tired out office sort in a shirt and tie waking up from a nap, and the driver, a tightly wound youngish female at the wheel, also professionally dressed. "Why were you honking at me? What did I do?" I asked.

The skinny, worn out passenger had either seen it all or had been quickly filled in as the driver saw me coming up on her entrapped SUV: "You were trying to cross on a crosswalk, but there were no traffic lights. You must stop for cars to pass when there's a crosswalk and no traffic lights."

"The hell I was. I was standing still. If I had tried to get over, I wouldn't be here scolding you. BTW, why would there be a crosswalk for pedestrians if pedestrians couldn't use it?"

"That's the law," he said. "You're a foreigner. Your country is different with different laws." Just to get things straight, I never once told him I was a foreigner. I never once told him that Taiwan wasn't my country. He grabbed that right out of his racist ass. Plus, I doubt he believed a word he was saying. The individual at the wheel just left him out to dry. Several minutes prior, she was leaning into her horn with all the indignation and hatred she could muster. When confronted, she lacked the balls to turn and look me in the face, let alone say a single word in her defense. What a piece of work.

I'm going to close with this. I count myself in the majority when I say I don't know Taiwan's traffic laws. But why would the city of Taipei put in a crosswalk (without traffic lights) if pedestrians didn't have the right of way? The common sense of it tells me that the SUVers were full of crap. And even if such a moronic law exists, making crosswalks a redundant waste of city resources, they were still dishonest.