Day 135 - Cobble It

This guy is leaving the Library
August 20th, 2015

Well, today its the day that I had planned to leave, and god is chuckling in my general direction. The visa issue is still hanging and the school says they'll be dealing with it tomorrow, then let me know. Just in case, I think I'll head to the immigration office to see how much one of those visa labels for my passport costs. Might as well give the school as much proof as I can get my hands on.

I've said it before: I need too much sleep. Despite usually staying up slightly later, I'm also usually up before Shimou. She makes comments against me staying up later, but has no defense against that fact. Hah!
After cutting up the strawberries, I mix them with greek yogurt, bringing them to her with a side of coffee. All my writing has been caught up, and I have about 4 days of posts lined up. I can relax. I shouldn't, but I do anyway. This is how these things come to bite me in the ass. Instead of editing, I read articles and chat with friends back home. There’s only two relatively small windows to talk to people, so I like to take advantage of them.

Shimou and I catch the train to town, practicing my mandarin on the way there. I've installed the good habit of studying my flash cards whenever riding the train instead of reading comics or doing something equally useless. It seems a the translations on Google Translate aren't entirely accurate to what people actually say.

Today's Cafe
I've realized how spoiled people in cities can sometimes be when it comes to getting around. In Perth, I walked most places and only paid for the bus if it was to cut down on time. I would walk at least an hour most days. After the months doing that, I’m fine to walk most places. Back in university, I used to say that summer was great because you could walk everywhere and not have to be afraid of freezing to death. Just walk out the door and keep walking. Now we're walking 3 blocks to the immigration office and Shimou is quietly commenting on how far it is.

In the office, the guy at the desk tries to discourage me from buying the visa label. “They have it in the system, you don't need one.” I ask about proving it to some third party, which he says is entirely up to me. If it was $60, I was prepared to bite the bullet on that… but it was over double that. $150 AUD to be exact. Wtf, no.

Since it’s 3:30, I want to check out a new cafe before they close. Almost every non-chain, non-restaurant cafe closes at 4. As someone used to Williams (closes at 2am) or even Death Valley’s Little Brother (DVLB in Waterloo, Closes most days at 11pm), it feels so strange that you can't sit and read or work on something in a cafe after daylight hours. The warm lighting works better without the sunlight spilling in, but maybe that’s just me. We stop at this cafe right around the corner of the immigration office. I figure we won’t be this way again.

This guy was great
Boy, am I glad we did! The cafe was alright, and had a mildly confusing two options: Mochaccino and Mocha latte. We got both, but they tasted the same. Turns out the difference is whether there’s a sprinkle of chocolate on top, while the contents are the same. But that’s not why I was glad I stopped. Washrooms, as I've pointed out, are often not in the shop themselves. This one was no different, having a collective, public toilet down the breezeway from their shop. On my way there, I discovered…

A COBBLER! They still exist! For the longest time, I've wondered about the difference between a cobbler and a shoemaker, and now there’s a flesh-and-blood cobbler right there! I stopped to ask what they do there, and the difference. The difference, according to him, is that cobblers have to be able to work with every type of shoe, while shoemakers specialize in one or two styles. This means that a cobbler could make you shoe, but it would cost twice as much because of the higher level of skill. He tells me that business is actually booming. He went into more depth, which fascinated me, but will probably bore most people. I'll leave that out.

I suppose a cobbler should be expected in a somewhat moneyed, hipster city. I really like all the variety, random art stuff, and obscure stores that you can accidentally stumble across. Maybe I’m a hipster. Part of me wants to say that because the Catch-22 of hipsters is that admitting to being a hipster kind of invalidates the statement. To me, the defining characteristic of being a hipster is the condescension, which I hope I’m lacking. Having weird hobbies and developing strange skills is cool.*

We grab food at a Western Chinese restaurant, which I liked, but Shimou thought as sub-par. It was a little bit spicy, but Shimou had asked them to make it less so for my benefit. She thinks I can’t handle any spice for some reason. Probably because I’m afraid of what Asian people consider spicy, but can handle more than most white people I know.

We are walking to the State Library to work when we I spot this book store. I really love book stores, despite them slowly declining as ebooks pick up. Embiggen Books is definitely worth checking out, all wood, great displays, and sells coffee (during certain hours). I wish I could read speed read. I'm so slow.

The State Library
Needing coffee before getting down to work at the library, we find a 711. Unlike the 711 coffee in Canada, here it has the cheapest, decent coffee around. $1 for a small, 2$ for a medium, $3 for a large. Not Tim Horton’s prices, but acceptable. I don’t bother trying to sneak the coffee into the library again - they have the same guards most days. For some reason I'm not overly concerned with the morality of this act. As I tried to explain to Yuzu about crosswalks - I don't believe in following rules simply because they exist. In reference to the cross walk, it was because the streets could be entirely clear, the crosswalk says “Don't walk.” I'd do it anyway, which earned me a reputation of being impatient. Truthfully, I just don't like blindly following things when they make no sense.

We worked in the Library for two and a half hours before catching the train home, again practicing mandarin.

Editing Music: Come Out West by Jef Joslin

*I still want to set up a booth one summer and give free palm reads just to practice my ability to cold read.

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