Spent a lovely last day in Taiwan. I met up with Yachu one of the Taiwanese artists, my assistant Shue and 1 other volunteer Sylvia for a 4 hour Tea at a well known Tea House called Wisteria. We sat on Tatami mats and enjoyed 4 types of tea and a delicious lunch. Our first waitress was quite a sourpuss, but the next one was wonderfully helpful in helping us decide on our teas. She suggested that we start light with a green tea, then move to oolongs and end with a pu-er. When explaining how to prepare our oolong she could see that I had some experience and asked me if I wanted to serve my friends. What an honor and pleasure.
I was supposed to have another massage appointment at 2, but when 2 came around we were only starting on our 3rd tea an Oriental Beauty. Thankfully they said I could come at 3, but even then I am sure we could have sat and drank and shared our tea for longer. Shue said it was so relaxing to just sit and share after such a long and hard project. I agree. Though I have to admit my legs were getting a bit tired from sitting on the floor. This massage was different and more gentle. The Master’s daughter used a special mitt attached to an electric current to massage with which was called a lymphatic draining, I think it helped, though there were times when I could feel the electricity running up my arms to the tips of my fingers, but I still woke up in the middle of the night to my hand feeling numb and not knowing where I was, thinking that I was back in Cheng Long and I had missed everyone who had left already for a trip.
My first host Andy graciously picked me up and let me stay at his place again that was closer to the airport. He had to pick me up at 6 am to get there on time. He took me out to dinner at a traditional Taiwanese Buffet, where you have an individual soup pot in your table that is heated to cook an array of fresh vegetables, seafood and frozen seafood and meat to your liking. I swear this was the first and only place I visited in Taiwan where I saw the most overweight people. This place was crazy with various food bars throughout the space serving salads, cooked dishes, fruit, sushi, ice cream, waffles, deserts, deli meat, battered and fried american food like onion rings and fries, soups and on and on. I just saw children running from station to station carrying giant piles of cooked and raw food to their tables to devour. Have to admit I truly thank my host Andy for taking me to a unique Taiwanese experience, but after a month of incredible meals of fresh seafood and organic vegetables it was a bit of a let down to eat in such a place. We where supposed to meet his family, which would have been fun, but unfortunately they accidentily went to another chain store location. I also did not feel so well in my stomach afterwards, Sorry Andy. But thank you to you and your sister so much for your hospitality and warm welcome and goodbye to Taiwan. I especially appreciated your comment that from a Taiwanese point of view you really thought my Tea House was a very good piece, that the shape of the roof and layout of the oysters had a very Taiwanese aesthetic to it. I was very honored and grateful to hear this. It showed that my perspective as an artist who works in response to my environment was successfull with this project.
And now I am on the famous bullet train to my friend Masaki’s home in Japan outside of Tokyo in Shizouka. It has been 15 years since I last saw Masaki in Thailand. I am looking forward to seeing him and meeting his family (especially to receiving a massage from his wife from Thailand) and to prepare from my trip throughout Japan.