Please note: Greg, the Expat, was actually saying ‘crepes’ and not ‘crabs’ but we didn’t realise until afterward. Soft French crabs with marmalade may sound odd but Gregg’s enthusiasm made them sound so delicious that I was ready to devour a dozen. I don’t even particularly like crabs or marmalade never mind soft French crabs with marmalade.
Chris: We’re interviewing a lot of different people. You are the Ex-Pat.
Lewis: Tonight we’re looking for some ex-pats, an alcoholic, a beer girl, an artist, a student, a gay man and others.
Ex-Pat: I’m also an alcoholic and a student and our friend is coming here later. He’s gay. So you’ve got four already.
Lewis: What’s your name?
Lewis: What do you do?
Ex-Pat: I write software and I’m a student. I work in the mornings and study in the afternoons. The company is a small company, a family company, it makes software.
Lewis: Where are you from?
Lewis: Where do you live?
Ex-Pat: Near Taipei 101. It’s a good place and near my office. I have a great apartment and a place to study.
Lewis: How long have you lived in Taipei?
Ex-Pat: 2 years.
Lewis: What’s your favourite thing about Taipei?
Ex-Pat: What kind of magazine is this? Is it a smart one? Can I say what I want?
Chris: Yes. Say whatever you want.
Ex-Pat: The best thing about Taipei…the girls. I can change if you want.
Chris: No, if that’s your answer then it’s fine.
Lewis: But Lydia (his girlfriend sitting opposite), is from Hong Kong. Surely that means Hong Kong has better girls.
Ex-Pat: Yes. Yeah, I guess so.
Lewis: Do you know a something or somewhere in Taipei that not many people know about?
Ex-Pat: For foreigners?
Lewis: No, for anyone.
Chris: Maybe a favourite place.
Greg and Lydia then started to speak in French. They discussed his answer.
Ex-Pat: A place where people can eat French crabs. With a real French cook, not like the streets. Delicious, soft ones, real French crabs.
Lewis: Really? Where?
Ex-Pat: This place. Starting next month. We’ve got out here (referring to the outdoor seats where we were sitting), lots of people and here has a second floor. The idea was to buy a second place but here has the people.
Chris: Oh! I understand! Are you the French chef?
Ex-Pat: Yeah, I will help him. I will teach him.
Chris: When do you open?
Ex-Pat: I think we’ll open next month.
Chris: Will you have a party?
Ex-Pat: Ahh! Maybe. Yeah, you can be the party organiser. We need one. But here has a lot of customers. Don’t forget to try the crabs someday. I will prepare some fruit marmalade. Deilicious…I can teach you how to make one in Taiwan.
Chris: How long do you think you’ll stay in Taiwan?
Ex-Pat: No idea! No plans leaving. We’ll see! First idea is get great Chinese. Maybe, I’ll leave in 50 years. (Points to Lydia) 50 years and then ‘Oh no he’s gone. He’s gone.’
Lydia: No ending.
He turns to Lydia.
Ex-Pat: No ending.
They talk in French.
Lewis: What’s the most unusual thing that you’ve seen in Taipei?
Ex-Pat: For crazy was in a typhoon and four people driving one scooter.
Ex-Pat: I was between Touyuan and Jhongli. A small city, Mai Li. It’s a pretty little city. It’s got a swimming pool.
Lewis: Now, the difficult one.
We used the dice shaker of random questions. Lydia picked one and opened it. She read it first and was very happy.
Lydia: Easy one. It’s an easy one.
From Lewis: If you had one wish what would it be?
Ex-Pat: I wish that I get a wind boat and make a trip.
Lewis With Lydia?
Lewis: And catch and eat French crabs.
We asked him to write a question. His question was ‘How many partners have you had on your journey?’
Lewis: Journey through life?
Ex-Pat: No, here.
Lewis: But maybe some people have just taken the MRT to get here. I don’t think they will have had any partners on the MRT.
Ex-Pat: Is it for foreigners?
Chris: Maybe. But most will be Taiwanese.
Lewis: We’re only going to ask two ex-pats and you are one of them.
Ex-Pat: OK. Hold on.
He wrote ‘What part of Taiwanese culture should Taiwan export to other countries?’ Lydia copied it into Chinese. We gave him a Malaysian Buddhist book, written in Chinese, from Chris.
Ex-Pat: I don’t like this. (Pointing at the pictures of the different Buddhas.) Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. No women.
Lewis: It will be good for you. After you read this you won’t be an alcoholic, can stop smoking and get rid of Lydia.
Ex-Pat: (Points at Chris who has a shaven head.) Oh, I see you’re on Chapter 2 already.
He gave us a 10% discount card for the K-House, the French crepe (not crab) selling gay bar that we were in.