March 1999

Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake, Cultural Village

For the last two weeks I have had the pleasure of going to Taiwan to service a Stinson model 87 organ which we installed five years back.

This is the first time I have flown Singapore Airlines and had a very nice flight both coming and going. They still fly the 747 and being of the old school, I still like the aircraft with four engines. This might be a result of my time in the Air Force where I have flown many times on the old B29 airplanes.

If you have never been in Taiwan, let me relate some of the different things which always impress me in one way or another. One time on a television program in Taiwan the statement was made that the roads are to be used to the fullest. I find this is a very true statement when I go there. It seems the unwritten rule is, "If there is one inch of unused road, try to make use of it."

Many times while traveling in the cities on two-lane roads our driver would get impatient with the car in front and simply drive between them and make a third lane until he passed the slow car. This is done all the time and I only observed one accident all the time I was there.

My driver could not speak our language, which might have been good, as I might have made some remarks about his driving several times from our area to the airport.

Our organ is located in one of the most beautiful locations in the country. High in the mountains in the Sun Moon Lake area is the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village which consists of an amusement park in two large buildings and many outdoor attractions.

After leaving the amusement park you can get on the trail and walk up between two mountains where the old villages of the Aboriginal tribes have been recreated in great detail. The park and grounds along with the large flower gardens are kept immaculately clean and well cared for.

When I arrived at the site, I was introduced to Tina Chen, who did all the translating for me and assigned some of the local maintenance men to help me. They were all very hard workers and very anxious to help in every way. They work seven days per week, with one day off every two weeks, and seem to be happy with the employment situation.

The organ had been used every day for several hours each day, and I spent several days repairing all the worn parts and returning the organ to new condition again.

The cleaning persons in the park usually wore the large hats made of bamboo. One cleaning lady came by the organ several times a day and I asked Tina to find out where she bought the hats, as I wanted to take one home with me.

The next day, the cleaning lady came up to me and removed her hat, removed the little red ribbon which she used to tie the hat on with, and offered it to me as a gift. This is the type of friendly people I encountered all over the area around the park.

At lunch time, I had my meal in a park-owned restaurant and never sat alone at the tables. In Taiwan, the students are taken on a field trip once a month on tour busses and every day, Monday through Friday, the park was loaded with students. When they observed me alone at one of the tables, one of them would come over and say, "Hello, how are you?" in English, and I would answer him in his language, which is the only words I knew how to speak in their language.

After that, I would usually have students all around my table, asking if they could be friends with me. I found these students to be the friendliest of anywhere I have traveled.

If I'm ever able to get caught up on the organ building, I would like to return there at a later time for a vacation and tour the complete island.

And so it is in the old organ shop.

Next: Band Organ Note No. 6, April 1999
Previous: Band Organ Note No. 4, January/February 1999

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