Back in Taipei. Last time I was here I tried to exchange money at a machine and instead bought a Taiwanese phone card. Somehow it survived my time in Thai and I gave my parents a call. Same old, same old, really, but it had been a while since I heard their voices and it felt great to talk to them. I can't believe I'm going to be back in Canada in a month. Crazy.
Speaking of crazy, some of you may remember me mentioning the Hello Kitty! gate at the Taipei airport. Yep, still here. Yep, still scary. I actually really want to visit Taiwan properly someday, because at this point the airport has both terrified and entertained me to a degree that you just can't get on network television these days. I noticed that next to the gate, there's a painted balloon that says "Hurry up! Last five minutes!" next to Hello Kitty! (For the record, these exclamation marks are hers, not mine.) Now I think that's fucked up shit. Why would you permanently emblazon something as full-pants-inducing as that at an airport? Think about it, people are exhausted. How fair is it to all of us walking zombies to freak us out with false warnings of missing a flight? And in TAIWAN? I'm not sure what would happen if I missed my flight here, but the lady on the plane read a warning that "Smuggling illegal firearms or drugs is a capital offense." over the intercom before we landed, so I bet they'd at least take a hand or something.
Ok. Haven't slept much, try not to take me seriously. I know, I know, nearly impossible.
So the second part of the airport, the entertaining part, is this incredible display they have up for the Deaflympics, which after some careful research I have discovered starts in Taipei in 4 days. Now, some of you may think, as I did, that this is some sort of contest between DEA agents in who can catch the most smugglers in Taiwan. It's not. It's the Olympics, for deaf people. Get it? Deaflympics. RAD.
Now, before I go on, I wanna say I think it's awesome that the Deaflympics are around. They started in Paris c.1924, and they've given athletes who might not be able to compete at that level an opportunity to compete against each other with the support of the international community. That's cool. I'm not a dude who's big into competition sports, but I've got nothing but props for people who dedicate their lives to something when they're up against that kind of adversity. What's also cool is the incredible comedy GOLDMINE that combining something as touchy as disabled athletics with the self-seriousness of Asian competitiveness gives us. The coolest "disabled" (or whatever the PC handjob word we use is now) people I've met have had a wicked sense of humour about themselves, so if I offend you, blow me.
Now, the display. Life-size (possibly larger than life even, they are Asian after all) photographs of different athletes in the midst of their particular sport. Under each athlete is a quote, an animal-themed nickname, and on the back of each 3-D display a little "story-of-life" blurb. Reading the quotes, I couldn't help but think of some responses to the hardcore shit these people were saying. I only had a bit of paper to jot down some notes, so I don't have the actual names, but if you click on the title of this post, it'll take you to the website
First up, two dudes who look like they could kick Forrest Gump's ass at table tennis. Their nicknames, "The Snake" (oooh) and "The Butterfly" (huh?)
The Snake: "I can move faster than light!"
(That's incredible, after Einstein, Hawking, String Theory, Quantum Physics, etc, all we really needed to break the unbreakable barrier was a deaf Taiwanese ping-pong player.)
The Butterfly: "I already see your weaknesses."
(Ah, sorry buddy, my weaknesses cannot be seen, only heard, so you're shit outta luck. heyo.)
Next we have a ripped mofo throwing a Javelin. For some reason, they gave him "The Bear". Javelin=Bear? WTF?
The Bear: "I know not where the limit is."
(......really, no one's gonna say it? Uh, I can think of one for ya. Sound.)
The dude throwing the massive kick into the air is a Karate fighter (Karatist?) they call him "The Killer Whale" next to him is a woman gripping a tennis racket like Paris Hilton driving stick, known as "The Leopard."
The Killer Whale: "My fists will break waves."
The Leopard: "Precision is my only way."
(I have absolutely nothing funny to say to either of those. They are both hardcore to the max sentences and I want to see these people in action. For real.)
And the last guy is kinda lame, he's a bowler, although his concentration looks pretty intense, something about bowling just doesn't have the same impact as Karate for me. I just like him because he has no animal nickname, after all the most badass animals were taken, he went with "Lefty".
Lefty: "I'll show you the real curve ball."
(Pretty sure this has some vague connection with the east Asian love of baseball, which is redonkulous.)
And of course, no Asian games (or Asian anything, for that matter) would be complete without some kind of strange little mascot. In this case, we have two. They stand amongst all the hardcore athlete picture boxes, although about half the size. A boy and a girl. How forward-thinking. They're frogs, and their names are Peace and Love. Awesome. I love it.
Seriously though, I'd like to think that these people themselves would see the humour in this, and I'd also hope that anyone feels free to take the piss out of me any time they want. Rock on, deaf people.
Who knows? If the Deaflympics are televised in Korea, maybe I'll even check out those wave-breaking fists. Sounds rad. In the meantime, I'm really glad this little display was here to entertain and, dare I say it, educate my tired, silly mind. Peace out.