Flyer of festivities available at Wild Market, July 11th, Hualien, Taiwan, 2016.
Wild Market I heard about because one of the founders is a Japanese (Mario, a name as Japanese as they come) fellow who is staying here at Amigo’s Hostel in Hualien. He, along with another Japanese fellow I like to refer to as “George and Lenny,” because they remind me (physically, at least) of the two characters in Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men, although the similarity ends there. Mario, the short guy, looks like some sort of storm trooper out of an old WWII movie (he is vehemently ANTI-war, however), and the tall one, I think Izo is his name (but I am probably mistaken) is simply crazy and wild and was last seen wearing a loin cloth and leading a dance ensemble on the stage of Wild Market.
But what these two gentlemen showed to me was that a bunch of hippies can come together and create a beautiful thing, even if it is 2016. The idea, the thought, is what counts.
I met Li Ning (莉寧) at Wild Market. I did not have to say a single thing twice, and for this I thank her. But our conversation was not simply enjoyable because she spoke and understood English so well (in a country that speaks Mandarin primarily, when you encounter someone like this latch on), but also because she thinks a lot like I do. Therefore, the discussion rolled along like bulldozers run amok, or huge boulders careening down a canyon–with nothing to stop it.
The first thing she says to me is, “Where did all these hippies come from? I have never seen so many hippies gathered in one place in my entire life.”
“Neither have I,” said I. “At least not since Woodstock.” I was referring of course to my lack of sightings of field hippies since the late 60’s and early 70’s, with the exception of course, of the Oregon Country Fair.
“They must be bankers or accountants or have ‘normal’ jobs in the ‘real’ world. Do they act like this during the weekday?” she added.
“Beats me,” I said. “They probably came out of the woodwork just for this occassion.” I was worried she had never heard that expression, but she had.
Somehow the conversation drifted toward the police shootings in America. She knew all about them. “These people are just being killed because they are black.” I mentioned that anytime you have 300 million guns in circulation, they are going to get used. She nodded her head. We debated how long it would take a crazy person to take out a dozen people with a knife, then realized that that was almost impossible. In any case, we both agreed that America has become a police state.
Then, somehow the conversation moved from guns to zoos. She said to me, “You know, I hear that they are closing down many zoos, especially in South America. Argentina, for example.”
“And Ecuador,” I added.
Then I mentioned that nearby is a zoo. All of a sudden she lit up and said, “That is the most evil zoo in Taiwan. They take all the profit they make and use it to build housing developments.” We did not even get around to discussing the porpoises who perform stupid tricks for treats of raw fish and mostly tired applause from the audience. We further discussed the ethics of animals living in cages, jail, what have you, rooms with iron bars on the windows, left there to rot away. Then she said, “The news is all bad. The world is weird.”
“I agree,” I said. Then she said goodbye, told me that she was a bit drunk, and would probably forget my name before she got to the next place.
So it goes.
Mario playing a three stringed instrument at Amigo’s Hostel, Hualien, Taiwan, July 11th., 2016. The name of this instrument is san shin 三線 (Okinawa).