I literally started the first day of 2015 on the right foot, and went for a jog along the Tachia riverside 大佳河濱. I had spent a jolly afternoon there over summer, and took note of visiting back at a later time.
On this mid-morning, Taipei felt like a dormant city, still recovering from the New Year’s festivities, when actually, most of its denizens had already escaped to make the most out of the four-days holiday. So, I had the trail almost all to myself, safe enough to engage in occasional selfies (without the stick) without risking bumping into anyone. 😉
I biked a bit before finding a pole to lock my bike, and then set my timer for fifteen minutes, not caring how far I’d go, just wanting to feel what it’s like to run again, and enjoy the scenery. The landscape and urban murmur had a sedative effect, and I could have run as far as the trail went, but the timer beeped for me to head back. A 180° turn, and just like that, the wind that assisted me all along morphed into one my worst running nemesis.
I’ve always hated running with that gush of air against me, making each of my stride forward feel like a futile effort. Fortunately, I had 101 in the background to distract me, along with planes flying in and out of the nearby Songshan airport, some live music band playing on of the opposite bank, and even enjoyed some saxophone tunes that came out of nowhere near the baseball field just as I closed in on the finish line.
The air was chilly (not chili eh, though that could be fun) and I was getting hungry, so after a few minutes of decision processing, I settled on a big bowl of hot handmade udon soup at Hoshina. Although in retrospect, had I known earlier that A8 was home of three popular Japanese noodles shops (Tonchin’s ramen 屯京拉麵, Marukame’s udon 丸龜製麵 and Nadai Fujisoba‘s soba (duh!) 名代富士そば-富士蕎麥麵), I probably would have headed there to save me a little bit of time and money.
On that Thursday which felt more like a Saturday, I was sat at the bar table, which I wouldn’t have mind so much if only the air freshener from the nearby bathrooms had not been so fragrant as to come diffuse my appetite. After ordering my food, the waitress stopped by again to drop the receipt note listing the dishes ordered and a feedback questionnaire. To kill the waiting time, I thought I’d put on my smarty pants and with the help of Pleco, formulated on paper my discomfort of the over-odorant air freshener, yeah, talk about being an 奧客 😈. Though in the end, when the food arrived, I happily enjoyed my bowl of udon with my face deep in it, and whatever inconvenience or worries I was mulling over simply vanished. 🍜😏👍
As I headed to settle the bill, I remembered a friend saying how she once got called on on the spot for returning some negative feedback, and having to justify herself. My remark wasn’t acrimonious by any means, but still, I didn’t want to attract some attention for a benign remark, so I tried to hurry the transaction, but the timing of the print receipt machine decided otherwise. The waitress only needed a half-second glance to make out what I had scribbled, and with a 不好意思 smile, reiterated my comment to confirm what I had written. I smiled, simply replied 「對」, and while the receipt was finishing to print (Hurry!!!), she inquired if everything else was OK, to which I answered「嗯，沒問題。😬☺️」.
Lesson of the day, be careful of what you write on those feedback questionnaires, and should you leave anything negative, be prepared with some arguments to back it up, 哈哈. Actually, aside from my friend, I’ve yet to hear a similar story, but given this experience at Hoshina, it sure feels like some establishments do take those feedback to heart, so now, you are warned. ⚠️