Monday, September 19, 2005

leisure time

The teaching week is only about 30 hours long here. That allows for a lot of down-time activities. I still get up pretty early. Most of the time, it's before 8 am. That doesn't sound very early at first, but my workday doesn't start until 3 pm. Many teachers fall into the habit of going out after work and sleeping late. Then, they grab some lunch, watch some television or play around on the internet before heading to work. While this is fine and relaxing, I do not want that kind of lifestyle. I may go out after work a couple of times a week, but even then I don't stay out very late. I'm older and I feel the need to justify my off-hours, at least some of them.

When I wake up, I hit the road for a little run. I'm slowly adjusting to running in 90% humidity and maybe 88 degrees fahrenheit, even at 7:30 in the morning. Right now, I'm running 5k. That is along a hilly course, so I know that I could run at least 5 miles on relatively flat terrain. I also combine that with some strength exercises. This park that I run in has pullup bars and a lot of good stretching devices. I haven't mastered them all yet, but I watch the locals and learn from that. I have probably lost 10 pounds since I came here. I've leaned up a much-needed fair amount.

After the exercise, I come back to my place for a little caffeine, either tea or coffee. Then, I write for an hour. I can then eat something and head out to one of the many markets in town. I got a bike a few weeks ago, so I can pedal around places fairly quickly. Plus, it's more exercise. I also just bought an acoustic bass when I was in Taipei for the day this past weekend. One of the restaurants I go to is owned by an Australian expat named Jack. He used to be a professional musician in Australia, travelled here a few times, decided he liked the country and settled here. So anyway, he is a really awesome guitar/banjo player and he likes bluegrass. I told him I used to play bass, and he talked me into buying one and playing with him and some friends. I've picked it up fairly okay, but I have time to noodle around every day and practice. I'm basically in a bluegrass band. In Taiwan. I know.

So, everything is pretty good here. In a few weeks, I may own a scooter, but I still need my work permit to be able to buy one and register it. I'm told it should arrive this week. Then, weekends will be open for exploring the mountains. This tiny island has mountains that are almost 4000 meters tall. I'm all about hiking and camping, and I know some people who are down with that. Not bad for five weeks in the country.


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