Last night, I went to Range’s (likemind). Truth be told I thought the name sounded like some creepy sort of cult, but I love meeting up with people and socializing, so I was really psyched about it. The location they picked was a bit far from me- in Banqiao, 13 stops down the subway line away from where I work. Also, they all wanted to meet up about half an hour before I got off work. Still, Range said it would go late, until at least 2am or so, so I thought it would be worth it.

I hurried as much as I could to get everything I could done ahead of time, so that I could get off work as soon as possible. After my last student left, I practically jogged home, changed clothes, and headed out. I didn’t get to the subway station in Banqiao until about 10:50. By that time, everyone had already gone into a tea house inside Nanya night market. After calling to ask Mark S. how to get there, I headed out. I called again after getting to the night market, but nobody seemed able to explain quite how to get to the tea place. Just as Mark S. was starting to explain something, my phone beeped. It was out of money. “Oh, well. They’ll probably just call back or send me a text message,” I thought to myself.

As I made my way into the night market, I kept an eye out for tea houses or anybody I knew. At first, it was a narrow alley, packed with shops on either side, mostly selling clothing and accessories. Then, it opened up into a broad T shaped intersection, filled with food stalls. I took a right, and made my way down that street to the end of the night market. Then I turned around and started walking back in the other direction. Since I hadn’t seen the tea house, or anyone, or even heard from anyone, it was a bit frustrating. Eventually, I came to a convenience store, where was able to buy an IF card to recharge my cellphone. I called Range, and then he came out to find me and it didn’t take any time at all.

The tea house was nice. It had a very understated, wooden theme, which is probably why I hadn’t noticed it amongst all the bright lights of the night market. As I entered the room where everyone was eating, I saw it was packed. Todd, David, Franc, Poagao, Mark S, Daniel, Wally, and a couple of Daniel’s friends were all there. It was actually the first time I’d met either Todd or Wally. Todd seemed pretty much exactly like I imagined he would be from his blog, but Wally was far more out-going than one would ever expect the author of Frostfox to be.

Just a few moments after I arrived, Daniel, the one guy I’d most hoped to have a chance to chat with was on his way out of the room. As he was leaving he said something about deciding not to go to Argentina when he leaves Taiwan in a few weeks. It sounded like he wanted to go to Syria or something. Not exactly someplace I would have picked, but I bet he’ll have interesting things to write about.

Todd and I checked out each other’s vocab flashcards, and David and I chatted about the Guoyu Ribao a bit. It was fun, but it ended all too soon. The restaurant closed at midnight, and we all headed outside to go home. Since Franc, Wally and I all live in the city proper, we cabbed it back together. On the way back, I learned that Wally used to work with one of my old coworkers from Modawei! What a small world. It seems like long term English speaking expats in this city never have more than a couple of degrees of separation. I’m glad I went.