There are several warning signs along the way about the Black Bears of Taiwan (as well as snakes, wasps, leeches and rock slides) and it’s starting to get on my nerves all those stories about deadly animals, to the point where I completely overreact and jump with fear at the sight of… a bird flying away. So long for my cold sweat followed by my laughter.
I’m often waiting for that green light, that next train departing for another mechanical lift up to the top that’s going to kick my shoes away, ignite myself like the first time, with that dizzy taste of vertigo in my mouth.
Butterflies are flapping in my stomach while riding up. Am I going too high?
My feet are not touching the ground anymore by the time you take my hand in the streets of Kyoto.
Like a family, we took care of each other. We cooked together after our shift. Emma used to help me to separate the white and the yolk to bake chocolate mousses. Vincent helped me getting train tickets out of the Family Mart’s vending machine where everything was written in Chinese. I used to go swimming with Emma at Our Beach. I used to sleep with Vincent at the 7/11 convenient store before watching some hot air balloons in Luye.
I still remember the first day we went to our beach. It used to be her beach, the spot Emma chose to go swimming almost every day, meeting fishermen sometimes. I was following her racing her bike, trying to memorize every turn and streets, and was a bit confusing when I first arrived. It’s not a sandy beach. It’s a rocky beach, not really a beach, with a lot of garbage from the Night Market. But there was something extremely extraordinary about having the chance to go swimming every day. Because that’s exactly how it felt: a chance.
When I travelled down from Taipei to Hualien, my main reason was that I really wanted more nature, more crazy-wild sceneries and let’s face it: I was craving to go hiking again. I guess this is why I fell in love with Taroko (and the whole Hualien County) right away.
There’s a place that I, unfortunately, carry up with me no matter where I go: my cabin of sadness.
Until a few years ago it didn’t have a name, neither a shape. However, it had been there just as far as I can remember. It was just a dark place I would go sometimes, without even knowing why or how.