rambling physically and mentally in Wulai, a Tayal aborigine village in the mountains an hour's drive south of Taipei; various and sundry comments, criticisms, analyses, and snide remarks. email@example.com
A memory sprang up. This
may seem a bit pointless, but it’s a story to be told.
When I first came to
Free China (as it was called then), I traveled all over the island, mostly by
hitchhiking. Actually, I was the only hitchhiker I ever saw, but when drivers
saw a kid walking backwards down the highway, thumb out, enough of them figured
it out, that I got around quite readily, if not always comfortably. I preferred
hitchhiking partly because I didn’t have money for tickets, partly because I didn’t
want to be tied down by schedules and routes, and mostly because this way I could
chat with drivers, and learn a lot. I wasn’t picky. I rode on any vehicle that
would stop, or even slow down enough for me to jump on.
What brought all this
on was this story: shortly after I arrived, my friend Phil (an Aussie my age who
grew up in Japan) and I went on a trip around the island. When we were hitching
to Sun Moon Lake, we got picked up by a United Nations van: a white van with
the UN logo, diplomatic plates, driven by a nice middle aged man who could speak
some English. The Republic of China had just removed itself from the UN a few
days before. A lot of people were in shock, and didn’t know what the future
held in store.
We had a very pleasant
ride, but Sun Moon Lake was so socked in by fog we were lucky to be able to see
Three years later, I was
hitching my way through Hualien, on the east coast, when the very same van
stopped and picked me up again! Same driver. He was a bit melancholy, because
all the loose ends had been tidied up, the office was closing, and the van
would be sold in a few days. He would lose his job, but he felt that driving
for the UN was a job that meant something, and he would miss it. I arrived
where I was going, we said some good words to each other, and waved goodbye. I knew
I would never see him again.
That is the only car that ever picked me up twice.
有朋自遠方來，不亦樂乎！二十年的筆友，終于見了面。楊愛國先生是濟南山東石刻藝術博物館的副館長，我們一直通訊，交換研究心得、話家常，但是都沒有機會見面。他這幾天第一次來臺，在台北101卅二樓的「中國藝術館」展覽漢魏碑拓，我們當然趁機會去！Yang Aiguo has been my pen-pal for about twenty years, but we have
never met. He researches stone carvings, mostly from the Han dynasty (about
200BC to 200AD). The other day he wrote and said he was coming to Taiwan for
the first time, to set up an exhibit, so of course we went and got together. We
had a wonderful time.