Leaving Taipei, Arriving Shanghai

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

The last two days in Taipei messed with my sense of time. On Wednesday, our commercial shoot began at 6PM. It lasted until the sun rose the following morning around 6. The whole night was spent watching the action unfold on a blocked off section of sidewalk. In the morning, I felt myself falling into the feeling of falling asleep around 7, and I woke at noon. That evening, the shoot began again and lasted until 7AM. The hardest part was finished, but there’s still a lot to do before the spot makes it on the air.
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The master of the telephones.
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Taipei seen outside the window of a Hong Kong style diner.
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Garlic and spicy fried frog. Very good.
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Greens.
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Rice cake with filling.
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Black sesame porridge.
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Milk tea in a quaint pot and tiny mug.
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The street on the edge of the shooting location as dawn breaks for a second full overnight of shooting.
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Taipei Tower at dawn.
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Camera.
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Ramen.

I was sad to leave Taipei.

Shanghai isn’t far from Taipei by direct flight, but ours went through Hong Kong. After the second all-night shoot, we made it back to the hotel at 7AM. After a celebratory breakfast, we checked out and were in the van to the airport. Our flight left Taipei at 10AM. We landed in Shanghai at 5. By the time I made it through the swine flu and immigration checkpoints and took the long ride home from the Pudong airport, I was over 35 hours without sleep. J. expected me to be home on Saturday, so she was surprised to see me at the door. I went to bed at nine, ready for a night of crazy dreams and paralysis.

In the morning, we went to the fabric market to check on my suit. They are making one adjustment to the back, but otherwise it looks great. J. picked up a woolen winter coat, and I was fitted for a coat of my own. Neither of us will have a winter coat advantage in numbers.

Afterwards, we went to lunch and walked home. The air temperature is wonderful but the quality is horrible. Everywhere looks smokey and smells of a campfire. The air leaves a dusty feeling on my skin. It couldn’t be a starker contrast to the clean island air of the day prior.
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Chickens.
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Sugar cane.
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Firework smoke to celebrate a wedding procession.
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Greens.
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Beijing style duck rolls.
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Taiwan style fried chicken.
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Strawberry smoothie in front of J.
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Rock with a string tied to it.
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The casual girls of Fuxing Road.
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Condom dispenser on fence.
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Rusty counter and bubbling pots.
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Street sweeper.
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J. and a blue wall.
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Guard sitting in plush chair.
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Bike repair in an alley.
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Bike tires.
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A children’s photography class in the park.
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Kids in the park.
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Old men playing cards.
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Flowered arch getting made on the sidewalk.
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View down an alley.

I’m glad to be back with J. Two weeks has felt like a long time away. She is in top form: sniffles, a twitchy eye, and the smell of an old mule that has pooped on itself in an open sewer next to a sulfur mine. Oh wait, that last description refers to my socks.

The next two months are the home stretch to my stay here. They will pass quickly.

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