Welcome to Taiwan

Doc - Sep 24, 2015, 6-00 PM

Eating noodles with chopsticks on the plane and doing a poor job, secretly wishing for a fork, but I want to experience everything.  I can see the leaf-shaped island of Taiwan.  I smile-my first solo trek.

The driver I hired is waiting.  He bows slightly and welcomes me to Taiwan.  His driving is erratic as he keeps up with the frenetic pace on the freeway.  Vehicles complete bumper to bumper for road space.  Further ahead, twisted wreckage blocks the road.  Traffic grinds to a standstill.  Emergency vehicles screech to a halt.  Momentarily, everyone pauses to gawk.  Just beyond, Police usher everyone back into the invincible rush of traffic and the competition continues.

The road narrows and the traffic intensifies.  There are no discernable lanes.  Everyone squeezes in, but there isn’t enough room.  Vehicles spill onto the sidewalk.  Pedestrians are squeezed out and forced to dart in and out of the chaos.

scooter two

Its late, but the city is awash with a neon glow.  Artistic, intricate Chinese letters adorn every store.  I am faced with a riot of color, each competes for my attention, but I can’t absorb it all.  My visual senses are saturated.  I close my eyes.  The radio croons out a song.  Inflections rise and fall.  I listen to the sound of language, the beauty of the human voice without the knowledge of words to blur the moment.

In the sanctuary of the vehicle, other sounds are muffled but ever-present, horns, firecrackers, barking and talking.  Like a mechanical toy that won’t stop, this city is never still or quiet.

I arrive at my friend, Glenda’s home. The door is unlocked.  Inside the apartment its quiet.  Simple lines of tile floors, wood ceilings with little variation in color offer peace.  Slippers lined up by the door, beg to be worn.  A couch is nestled in a corner, a blanket casually draped on its arm.  A reading lamp leans over casting a warm glow.  There is little distraction.  Clear thoughts are possible, as time slows in this place.

Glass patio doors block sound, but I’m lured by an inviting tile deck.  A brick enclosure surrounds the deck and provides a dual purpose.  It offers a peaceful transition from one home to another and a growing space for plants that are fussed over at home, but flourish here without the work.  The city pulsates just beyond these walls.

A neighbor perfumes the night with incense.  She notices me.  Her round, lightly tanned face defies age.  Like a well-worn path, her almond-shaped eyes crease into a ready smile.  She enthusiastically waves hello.  I cautiously wave back

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Writing and photography are my first and second loves and thanks to technology I have the ability to share with a larger audience, including family and friends. Gone are the days of lugging around photo albums after a trip and of keeping a written journal of the experience that only I would view. The days of the handwritten letters are gone, but blogging provides a chance to share ideas, thoughts and photographs with a few mouse clicks and to receive instant feedback from around the world. It provides an opportunity to research a new place and to see that place through the eyes of a multitude of people each with their own unique way of viewing and experiencing the world. It opens the world wide and allows us a front row seat. Blogging connects us and creates a family of support. It provides an outlet and a chance to perfect the craft of writing and story telling. When I sit in my living room drinking my coffee and see that someone from another part of the world has read my words, and then I read theirs, the world is much smaller and more attainable. We are more alike than different as we share uniquely human experiences. Once I had a dream of becoming a Journalist, but somehow life got in the way. I currently have a fantastic career in healthcare and know that I have made a difference so I have no regrets. Still, I wonder if there is time to explore the road less travelled?

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