Friday, 24 October 2008
Mustering a toothy smile despite having lost all the blood in my face and ready to hurl at any moment. Air sick.
Sunday, I went to Sandimen, Pingtung, which is in southern Taiwan. The original locals there were aborigines from the Paiwan tribe, but there doesn't appear to be much aborigine culture left, except the shows that are put on for tourists to see.
But first, we went paragliding, for fear it would start raining in the afternoon. There, I ran into Jacu, a South African living in southern Taiwan, whom I interviewed at the Birdman Contest in Taipei about three years ago. Small country!
According to our guide from the Sandimen Cultural Center, the Paiwan tribe is a gender equal society, as can be seen in sculptures and artwork where both male and female figures are present always at the same time. The oldest child, irrelevant of sex is the heir to the family's assets.
A Paiwan dance performance at the cultural center.
The Paiwan's are known for their traditional, handmade glass beads that were recently made very popular in the Taiwanese movie "Cape No. 7." I visited the work/gift shop where they're made. I wanted to make my own, but it was too crowded that day... It turns out that the glass beads cell phone straps I got for Uncle Tad and his family a while ago in Taipei are from this workshop!
One of the better-known Paiwan delicacies is the stone BBQ'd boar, sausages and other meats. I passed. Instead, I had a nice Taiwan Rail lunch box for dinner on the bullet train ride back to Taipei. If you get a chance, you should try these lunch boxes. They're only available at some Taiwan Rail stations. I had to walk from the High Speed Rail station to the Taiwan Rail station just to buy it. They're quite good. I this one, there was a pork chop, stewed egg, sausage, broccoli, shishamo (smelt fish) and yummy pickled veggies that was just perfect with the rice. I rarely finish any lunch box, but I cleaned this one up real good. I was probably very hungry too.
It was a rather hazy day, but like the silver lining in these clouds, it was still a nice one.
Here are a few pictures. You can find the rest here.