Monday, February 21, 2011

Well, that about wraps it up for Taiwan

It took me two years to get Edinghbored in Scotland, but after two months I was already getting Taiwangst. I have the attention span of a - hey look, a bunny!

Staying in Taiwan for another few weeks and getting the most out of my 90 days free entry was a safe and comfortable prospect, but there's something about safety and comfort that always leaves me feeling a bit restless and irritated. That's why I've always tended to choose flats located next to burning cars, to live with drug dealers and to annihilate every good relationship I've been involved in, to keep this mundane existence artificially interesting.

So instead of postponing the inevitable and fighting my growing boredom, I chose flight instead. Or would have done, if my spontaneously malfunctioning debit card would actually let me book any of the flights I wanted, or even ones I didn't, or accommodation instead while I waited to see what the problem was, or phone credit so I could call my bank and find out what the problem was, or food to keep me alive.

It turns out money is sort of important after all. Still, what did I expect from such an obscure card manufacturer as 'Visa?'

Serenity now

I have the good people at my bank to thank for injecting some much-needed panic into these too-serene days, which have been getting increasingly less flaneurtastic and more geriatric with their park settings and lengthy escapes into fictional realms.

When I saw some pleasing and surprising birds striding around 2/28 Peace Park, I even considered - and it was only briefly, but it still happened - whether bird watching could be a satisfying pastime to get into. One midlife crisis at a time, Dave! You haven't even found out whether they make that telescope that won't be hindered by glasses yet.

The stress cycle

I don't believe in the arcane cosmic balance of an OCD universe. Most of our lives will be far from a perfect sine wave, with some sloping inexorably downwards and others resembling the ECG monitor of a hamster after a stroke. Bad things happen to good people, while mental whores get married to murderers on death row. Where are my mental whores? But in general, the balancing effect of crisis and resolution can make some stress almost worth it.

Which is why I'm almost thankful that my bank decided to inexplicably make the one card I rely on in the world useless, just as I needed to make some important bookings, and then not reply to my frightened messages during those two days. You dicks! It's all fine now.

Maybe I should sort out a second card, even at the risk of compromising my spectacularly optimised luggage by adding several grams of auxiliary plastic. But we know I won't do that. Let's continue living on the edge of mild inconvenience.

Where the hell are you going?

Idealised view of Thailand

Didn't I mention that? I was toying with several possibilities, some of which only occurred to me during the fruitless search for a travel website that would accept my card (before I realised the problem was with the card itself).

If the card had decided not to be rejected just one of the many times I tried and failed, I could now be on the way to Hong Kong, Singapore or Manila, all on the whim of a temperamental bank card's mood swings. Makes a change from the whims of temperamental girls, I suppose.

But since I was planning on being in Thailand next month anyway, it made financial sense to avoid any pleasant in-between antics and cut to the chase. Is there anything worse than looking forward to something? Better to get the fun out of the way and then work on the rest of your pointless life.

So, expect to see The Best of Thailand matter-of-factly ticked off over the next two months, provided I manage to get a visa extension. I'd better be off now: those shemale prostitutes won't bang themselves.

Or can they? Only one way to find out. Not really, mother, if you're reading.

See you in Bangkok!

Taiwan route map

A Taipei
B Yehliu
C Hualien
D Taroko
E Kaohsiung
F Dulan
G Taitung


  1. Irrelevant to this post but is your email address still wizardly? I emailed you a week or two ago, just a wee note, but I don't know if you got it or not. You'd have been interested enough to reply, you see :P

  2. Yes, it isn't! I have to periodically destroy my online presence and build a new secret one - so that people like YOU can't find me. (Not people like you)

  3. Update: I complained to my bank about my flight bookings being erroneously flagged up as fraudulent card activity (leading to my card going into a coma for several crucial days) and at the end of it they credited me £25 for the inconvenience. That was nice of them!

    So I've removed the disparaging reference to which bank it was. Turns out my silence can be bought after all! (Unless we're talking about companies like Grant Management or Weatherseal, which are irredeemable).

  4. Careful what you say!