report by Andy On
What can I say? I love Taipei. Always have, and most certainly, always will.
Written by Andy On TIARA REPORTER
What can I say? I love Taipei. Always have, and most certainly, always will. And it’s not a simple bias. I am what some would call an “ABC” (or an American-born Chinese), who had the good fortune of spending four years of my childhood receiving an elementary education in Taipei. Though my four year Taiwan hiatus ended with a return to the American education system, I often found myself enjoying my summer vacations in Taipei.
My love of travel plus a bit of fortuity lead to a job of reporting for travel periodicals. Since then I have made more than several trips in to the island, and many of the foreign visitors I have interviewed seem to love Taiwan as I do. I have embraced almost everything about this place - delectable cuisines, engaging entertainment, spectacular night life, fascinating culture, but the most endearing part of Taiwan, what makes her most special to me, is her people.
After all, what is an island without her people but dirt and gravel? Taipei has grown from its humble beginnings to a rich and vibrant city, but her people had been vibrant all along. Some people might disagree with me, but my senses don’t lie, and I do have great sense.
Fortune and hard work has earned me the pleasure of visiting many different cities and counties performing duties for my wonderful job. It’s not usual that I get the opportunity to pick the location of my assignments, but this time my ever-so-lenient boss gave me three choices in destination. One of which was Taiwan, so one can guess my choice. I didn’t have to think twice before packing my bags and informing my boss of my decision. Before long I found myself walking the streets of Taipei again, and rather than work, this trip felt embarrassingly like a vacation. In my previous writings, I have touched upon the many aspects of Taiwan, but I have rarely described in detail the ways of her people. So instead of my customary commentary on places to go and things to do, I hope in sharing with you a personal story will give you an insight on the beauty of Taipei beyond her sights and sounds.
It was my last day here in Taipei and the weather couldn’t be any better. The thermometer tittered at around 28 degrees. A bright sun dotted with wisps of white cloud leaned against a sky as blue as I’ve ever seen. Joshua (our photographer) and I finished out assignment early, so we decided to enjoy the rest of the day starting with a cup of coffee. Feeling adventurous, we strolled into an unfamiliar coffee shop near our hotel, and took a seat on the most comfortable sofa we could find. The warmth from the sun’s rays shone in from sizeable windows near the bar to induce in us a thirst for something cold and sweet.
While ordering our drinks, I realized that I had forgotten to bring cash, so Joshua offered to retrieve his wallet from the hotel. As Joshua passed by the coffee shop window upon leaving, I could clearly see that he had targeted something (or someone) behind him. Not ten seconds later, the sound of a small bell was followed almost immediately by the slight creaking of the shop’s wooden door. The long legs that stepped into this once unfamiliar coffee shop lead sensuously to a beautiful face. Simply gorgeous. My prudence limited my view to only a slight peripheral vision, but even them, I could see that she had caught everyone’s attention with the elegance of her presence. She ordered to-go, paid her bill, and began her journey towards the empty seat besides me.
being in the sun all day had clouded my thinking, or maybe it was the aroma of
the coffee combined with the hypnotic rhythm of the ambient coffee shop music, I
don’t know. But every step that she took seemed to be in slow motion. She sat
down ever so close to me and began reading the magazine she had brought in. My
occasional glances towards her became stares. She had made the scene a perfect
painting. The soft glow of the sun danced tenderly from her earrings, bringing a
slight glint to the ring on her right hand. The glistening hue around her became
a tranquil aura. Prudence ruled me no more as the urge to converse with her
became intolerable. Before could form a single syllable, her order was ready.
During her stylish exit, she walked nonchalantly passed Joshua, who had then
just entered the coffee shop with a slight smirk on his face. I assumed
Joshua’s grin originated with my obvious fascination with the amazing image
that just exited the coffee shop. As I would later find out, his mischievous
grin was brought about by his coy capturing of my perfect painting from outside
the sizable windows near the bar with me also in frame. When I awoke the
following day, I found her image flowing constantly through my mind. I was given
a chance, but I let it slip away. While going through the empty motions of
getting dressed and packing, I could think of nothing but how I could’ve
spoken even one word to her. I did my best to convince myself that there was no
benefit in thinking about it any longer.
With our flight departing in four hours, Joshua decided it was in our (mine mostly) best interest to do a little leisure shopping before we headed to the airport. I subconsciously lead us passed the once unfamiliar coffee shop in an effort to hail a cab.
Another beautiful day possesses Taipei. With thoughts of her still lingering in my mind, I lifted my head to welcome the sun’s warm embrace. Squinting through the sun’s rays I caught an afterimage of the English word “Tiara”. The word marked a sign leading to a petite jewelry boutique. I had to look inside, the term “Tiara” brought to mind images from a perfect painting.
I walked slowly, almost half expecting to see her rise up from behind the counter to greet me as they do in the movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A beautiful woman was there to greet me. The light glistened gently from her flawless features. The perfect painting stood before me again. A higher power had gifted me with a second chance. Without any hesitation, I approached her. But before I could breathe out the slightest sound, she looked at me with familiar eyes sweetened with a gentle smile and said, “Hello again.”
Joshua Lin: Famous Photographer
Shaiojair Kung: Art Director/ Graphic Design
Andy On: Writer/ Handsome Model / Actor