A Pensive Train Ride

May 9, 2011

I’m typing this while on the Taiwanese high-speed rail train and we are passing a Taipei suburb and the sun is just beginning to set over the China Sean. A warm, pinkish gold is painted on the worn buildings and baseball fields as the street vendors are starting to open up their carts and trailers. There is a slight mist coming in from the densely wooded hills and it is starting to cover the passing cities like fog rolling over an English moor. In this section of Taiwan, newer, pastel buildings are juxtaposed with derelict slums and storm-grey colored shacks.  To me, there is beauty to be found even in the dilapidation of Taiwan. There is a history to these cities that I’d like to learn about.

As I look out my seat 7A window, I am listening to Johann Johannsson’s Fordlandia and if you have not heard it is definitely worth a listen. There is also a backstory to the song (and the whole album) that makes it even more appropriate. I think it’s a very fitting soundtrack for viewing the old manufacturing plants and cities that sprung up around them. The music conveys the solemn death of a dream and the possible renaissance that can occur if we want it to. I’ve listened to it so many times and every time the music never fails to elicit the hope we can have in this life.

My dad made a reference to the movie Ghandi the other day and he told me (with an Indian accent) that I need to go and find the “Real Taiwan” just like Ghandi sought to find his “Real India.” I believe I may have found part of that Taiwan. As I listen to this music and watch the sun set over the cities and mountains I smile a little and know that I could live here for a year or two and really enjoy myself and gain a lot from the experience. We will see where the Lord leads…


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