Change Yourself…Change The World.

Two Messages lumped together so quickly, aren’t you all LUCKY!
October 13, 2008, 12:33 am
Filed under: Taiwan


This is originally from my previous facebook group ‘Brittany Goes Global,’ (wanna know how I got the blog name? ;)) in which I sent messages to friends about my travels with Global College’s CRC Program through Taiwan, Thailand, India, and Turkey. This post was not originally associated with this blog, but I have put it up here in the correct date. As you can see, my writing is not quite up to par with what it is now 🙂 But I thought you readers would still find it informative and entertaining.

Well I know I just sent a message. But experience has no time and depth, so deal with the fact that I’m flooding your inboxes. Mostly I just wanted to tell about my crazy experiences in Tainan, a city in Southern Taiwan that I went to for a day. I feel like if I focus on one experience rather than spouting randomosities you all can’t relate to, maybe you’ll be more inclined to read. Also I think it would be cool for you guys to get the whole “day in the life of a traveler” kind of thing. Also, I tend to write my response papers on stuff like this, so there’s some insight into my school work. Note this is SUPER long. So don’t worry about reading it if you don’t want to.
So a few weeks ago I emailed my teacher from CalArts about some drumming I could check out in Taiwan (he goes there quite often for his percussion group, Hands On’semble). “Go to Ten Drum in Tainan” he told me. “They have a drum village.”
Obviously I was a bit more than intrigued. So I fooled around with Taiwan’s crazy transportation system and paid way too much money for a high speed train ride to Tainan (you can get from one end of the country to the other in an hour and a half. Not bad, huh?)
So my teacher gave me this guy’s contact information at Ten Drum (Winston) and I sent him a few emails about what date I was coming, and he sent me back an email with his phone number and told me to call him when I got there. I pull into the Train station in Tainan and gave the guy a call. OH guess what, the phone doesn’t work! Perfect. I made my way over to the taxi stands. “Ever heard of Ten Drum?” I, the lone white female foreigner ask about 10 Taiwanese men. Of course the Taiwanese tend to make a huge fiasco out of things and I was soon surrounded by 20 guys looking at the paper that I had written down the address on, and all calling who knows what on their cell phones. Finally this one random guy claims he knows where it is. “This address is a sugar cane factory,” he says matter-of-factly. Um, no, it is not. But I decided to take my chances with the taxi driver who at least spoke some semblance of English.
Luckily this guy knew what he was doing, and apparently Ten Drum USED to be a sugar cane factory-now converted into a drum ‘village.’ So I leaped out of the car and laughed gratefully at the sight of the Ten Drum sign and paid my 250 NT to the cab driver.

Now there was a brand new obstacle. Where the HELL do I go from here? Where is this Winston character? After 10 minutes of confused walking around an unknown area, this guy comes riding up to me on a bike. His English name, is Dragon (I’d like to note here that crazy English names are NOT uncommon in Taiwan. In a 7/11 I met two guys named “Matrix” and “Denial”). “Can I Help You?” I try to explain what I’m doing there, if I can see Winston, and we walk to this restaurant type place.
“Why are you here?” He keeps asking, seemingly the only English phrase he knew. Great. I came all the way to Southern Taiwan to have my motives questioned. I kept mentioning “Hands On’semble” and “Winston”- of course as it’s the Taiwanese way, about 10 people joined in on the conversation, with looks of intense anguish and worry on their faces. As if it was the PRESSING matter in the world that they know why I’m at Ten Drum. Feeling like an idiot for coming all this way for no result, I was almost ready to stand up and be like “Okay, Peace Out,” when finally this lady named Joanna introduced herself and offered to give me a tour of Ten Drum. Score for Brittany, she spoke perfect English. So I let the whole Winston matter drop and she showed me Ten Drum’s “Drum Museum,” which held the largest Taiwanese drum in Asia (about 3 times the size of me), this freaking CRAZY triangular drum where I was like “How does this kind of drum even exist,” and she showed me around Ten Drum’s Drum Making Shop. Meanwhile she told me about how she’s obsessed with India and named her son “Babesh” (even though she’s never been there…hahaha she was wonderful though). I was surprised to see they had a Daoist temple also in Ten Drum.

The crazy triangular drum

A huge Taiwanese drum

ANYWAY the point is as you can see, it’s not about actually GOING to Ten Drum it’s about the unexpected hilarious things that come out of it, that are so inherent in all of my travels. Go in with one expectation, come out with a totally different one. I spent a few more hours hanging out with Dragon at Ten Drum and then said my goodbyes and without any knowledge of Tainan, somehow got myself over to the Anping District which is like half an hour away. I TRIED THE ONE HUNDRED YEAR OLD BLACK EGG. Disgusting. D.i.s.g.u.s.t.i.n.g. And I saw the Matsu temple, one of the best temples in Taiwan. And I wandered around for a really long time and saw crazy things like fried pizza and stuffed blowfish and gun-shaped cakes and all of the insane things that is associated with being in a strange place.
It was a beautiful day in Tainan. It was a beautiful day to be alive.
Thanks for tuning in guys.
Much love,

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