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Terrific Taiwan

Last update: 15.04.20 First posted: 15.04.20 by in

I want to report back to you my fantastic experiences in Taiwan a couple of months ago in February. I was heading there to visit my son who was studying in Taipei, so contacted Janelee, a local who had recently asked our communications lead, Estelle, for some photos and copy for a magazine article.

She was delighted to hear from me and in no time they had asked me if I was willing to do a lecture ‘tour’ while I was there. This sounds rather grand but boiled down to giving a presentation at two different venues and all the lovely things that went with it.

The first presentation was at the Chung Yuan University, Department of Landscape Architecture a few miles outside Taipei. I went with my son and we got a very warm welcome there from Joyce Peng and great assistance from a skilled interpreter, Yipei. We also had the honour of meeting with the Dean. I had been warned that as the University holiday had been extended due to the COVID19 outbreak, there may not be many attendees.

As it worked out they had gathered a big and very mixed audience who listened intently to the presentation and the recent film we made with the Tod Information Centre. At the end they were full of interesting questions and suggestions and kept me on the podium for a good hour or so discussing ideas.

A delicious group buffet ensued that had been prepared by students and staff, from produce they had brought from their home areas across the island of Taiwan. The most touching aspect of the whole day was the number of people who came over during the lunch to tell me about their own work and projects and say how inspired they now felt to start or build on these ideas.

I should mention that we had already noticed from our travels around Taipei and nearby that communal edible growing is already a thing in that part of the world, so it looks like we are pushing at an open door in any encouragement, inspiration or advice we are able to offer.

After lunch and lots of photograph-taking, we were driven a couple of hours over the mountains to Yilan County where we went to a Placemaking project in the home of an artists’ colony. This was a more informal gathering of academics, artists and farmers. They were a very interesting and interested group and following the presentation about their project and mine about IET

we had a really lively discussion, accompanied by great Taiwanese snacks. The food is really good in Taiwan, in case you hadn’t picked that up already! Before we left, Jimmy the lovely farmer took us a walk to the nearby beautiful Buddhist temple to pay our respects. He gave me a delightful home-made etching of a mouse/rat (they use the same word in Chinese) representing the recently entered Chinese Year of the Rat.
The Taiwanese are famous for their hospitality and rightly so. We were given some other lovely gifts, including delicious home-made yuzu marmalade.

I’m hoping we’ll soon be welcoming more Taiwanese visitors to Tod, once travel becomes possible once again. If anyone’s looking for an amazing new travel experience they really couldn’t do better, the people, the landscape and the food of Taiwan are out of this world.

Judy 2020

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