This week I faced an experience which I thought would be a nightmare and a dream which turned into a nightmare. I shall explain.
A few of the TUSA students left early to go back to America this weekend. As a last hurrah, one gal mandated we should join her at KTV aka karaoke. There are things I would rather do than sing karaoke: gauging my eyes out with rusty nails, for one. (I guess I am being a little over dramatic.) Since KTV is such popular sport in Taiwan, I figured what the hell, might as well give it a shot while I am still here. How different can this be from playing Rock Band in my living room?
The KTV building is at least 5 stories tall… 5 stories of karaoke-ing bliss. The entrance is like that of a fancy hotel: there is a check-in desk, marble floors and columns, a foyer with a grand floral arrangement. If you didn’t know that it wasn’t a hotel than you wouldn’t know it wasn’t a hotel.
We entered the elevator and got to the fourth floor, where our karaoke room was. Yes, you get a whole room (my Asia-phile friends are already well aware of this). So there were about thirty of us sprawled out in our room, complete with leather couches, private bathroom, and a large projection screen. The cost of admission also includes an all-you-can-eat buffet with five different flavors of ice cream. Booze costs extra, but not much, so I did not hesitate to order a six pack of Taiwan beer for myself. I was on the threshold of not going to KTV at all, and I was damn well was not about to start singing sober.
So three beers and two shots of tequila later (never mind where how he got there, but Jose Cuervo made it to the party), I was hogging the mic and belting out “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers. My rendition of “Just Dance” was most excellent. Karaoke is the last thing I want to do when sober, but as it turns out, it is the only thing I want to do when I am drunk. I was bummed that our three hours at KTV ran out before I got to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Sonia* (Taiwanese girl of a previous post) told me that “this is a common phenomenon in KTV”. Overall, karaoke gets an A+.
On to the nightmare I mentioned earlier…. I made a trip to Kaohsiung’s “Dream Mall” yesterday. It’s at least 10 floors of retail clusterf*ck. I don’t really care for malls in general but thought this would be worth seeing. Indeed it was. However, I have done too many drugs in my life to handle this place. I have reoccurring nightmares about Escher drawing-type endless escalator rides and this mall was that come to life. There were a ton of cool shops, but I have no idea how you could cover this place in one day.
The Daiso Japan store is rocking chain of dollar stores where I got some paper lanterns for cheap. The mall also had several food courts — one of which was dedicated solely to Japanese food. I thought I had died and gone to kastudon heaven.
I got turned around in trying to find the elevator to the roof, where there is a carnival and Ferris wheel. I was desperately trying to avoid the escalators, in the process I nearly had a panic attack in not being to find my way off the seventh floor. The room started to spin a little bit. I eventually did find my way to the roof top, which was one floor above the IMAX theater.
Once on the roof, faced with the cartoon carnival, I couldn’t stop thinking about a quote from ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, from the part when Dr. Gonzo and Hunter Thompson enter Circus Circus: “This is what the whole hip world would be doing on a Saturday night if the Nazi’s had won the war. This was the sixth reich.” Or something like that. So after three hours of mania, I left the Dream Mall, reminded why I do most of my shopping online these days.
6 days left and counting…