Dulan, TW

Dulan, TW

Sunday, 02. February 2014

Helped yet helpless!

At the beginning of the week we left Aisha to explore Taiwan a bit more. We spent four days in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. Only half of the eight million inhabitants were here as everybody else had left to celebrate Chinese New Year at their parents’ place. 2014 is the year of the horse and it started on 1.2.2104. There were horses all over the city and on every house door there hung a red/gold paper horse, with good luck wishes.

Aisha had introduced us to the glass gallery owner Shelley Wang who lives and works in Taipei. She invited us to visit her gallery in which she mostly exhibits Italian glass. We chatted a lot about glass and to our question as to why she doesn’t exhibit any glass from Taiwan; she replied that as there are too many copies of the Italian style in Taiwan, this would bring down the value of the genuine European pieces. She invited us for dinner where we met her daughter and it was arranged that we would spend the next day with the young ones in a variety of museums.

We walked along the marbled pavement in Hualin towards the big main road. From there we were planning on making our way south along Taiwan’s east coast. Louise quickly got herself a coffee with Franca looking on absentmindedly. For some reason the sales assistant thought the coffee was for Franca and therefore kept addressing her, while at the same time discussing types of coffee, chocolate powder and cappuccino foam with Louise. All very confusing. This utter confusion stayed with us all through the day. After lots of driving here and there, due to communication problems in Chinese and English, finally one family gave us a lift just before dusk. They invited to pitch our tent on their uncle’s premises. The uncle asked us to join him and his guests for dinner, as there would be enough for everyone. Great, we were delighted! Afterwards there was a heated discussion about our sleeping arrangements. The uncle absolutely didn’t want us to sleep outside in the tent, however the aunt had already invited other guests to stay in their house without telling him. So the nephew stepped in, and offered us a place for the night in the school where he is the Director. Overwhelmed by the generosity of the Taiwanese people, we happily fell asleep in the classroom. We have to fine-tune our communication methods, as otherwise in the hands of these well-meaning people we will lose our autonomy.

Tonight we are pitching our tent on the grounds of the local police station where tourists and locals can pitch up for free. With extra bathrooms they are well prepared for visitors. This set up exists all over Taiwan and of course you feel doubly safe right next to the police. A brilliant idea from Taiwan!