The minute you get off the plane in Taiwan, you’re barraged with a battery of sensory stimuli. The type of heat is immediately unfamiliar – a sort of acrid humidity. You begin to eat and it’s Chinese, but there’s something very different about it, something more visceral, more vigorous about it. I’d traveled to Taiwan on numerous occasions so these things were nothing new but this trip was, by far, the most productive and rewarding trip I’d ever taken there.
As I’d mentioned in a prior post, we’d traveled half way around the world for the purpose of creating an ad campaign but I wanted to make sure Sung and Julie, my assistant/part time model got a taste of Taiwan. We booked a tour of Yang Ming mountain famous for it’s natural production of sulphur.
Our tour guide was quite an interesting character. He introduced himself with 4 names. He said, “In Taiwanese, my name is Mr. Ni. So you may call me that. However, in Cantonese, where I come from, it is Mr. Nguy. In another area, people call me Mr. Li. And then, there’s my least favorite name; in Fukanese, my name is Mr. Gay. Please don’t call me Mr. Gay.” That cracked us up. He certainly was the highlight of the tour, chock full of completely useless and sometimes plain odd information.
I tried to turn Sung onto one of my favorite snacks, High Class Dried Bean Curd. He didn’t like it.
There’s Mr. Gay leading us to the temple that wasn’t actually a temple. Here’s a joke of his, “What am I when I am in the middle of the water? No the answer is not crazy. Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh.”
We noticed an abundance of stray dogs in Taiwan. Even the dogs with collars roamed the streets. We were told it was common practice for owners to let their dogs run wild during the day while they worked and have them return in the evenings after they’d found all their girlfriends. Sung and I noted that it was nice to be a dog in Taiwan.
Here’s the hot spring reservoir. It gets pumped into this facility.
Here, Sung, Julie and I purified our bodies in the waters of the sulphuric hot springs. I figured it would be good to make their skins look good for the shoot the next day.
They had both private baths and public baths. I dare not take pictures of the public ones and the one I went into (it’s split between men and women), I’m sure you wouldn’t want to see it anyway.
That evening we met up with my long time friend Alex at a restaurant we had just eaten at at 5 am that morning. Neither of us remembered it. We introduced Sung to Alex’s mom, Yang Yen, a famous Taiwanese singer.
It was quite an explosive celebrity moment. There was one table who couldn’t take their eyes off of our table. First they were checking out Julie, because she’s blond and blue eyed (rare in Taiwan). Then they saw Yang Yen and were like “huh”? Then they saw Sung and were like “HUH”? Like this scene from the MadTV spoofs.
That was funny.
We also got to meet Louisa, a radio personality for Taiwan’s international radio station ICRT. She would interview Sung later. Will post the clip when available.
After dinner, we went to Shih Ling Night Market – the biggest of it’s kind in Taiwan.
Sung was pretty daring in trying the various kinds of strange Taiwanese eateries.
Julie got some good footage of our travels.
We had fun playing with glasses.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of our Taiwan experience: the photo shoot.