June 19. Dummkopf!

The Jiufen mines and gold museum are really interesting. We take a local bus there, and pay a little entrance fee. The area is very clean and I like it. You should not forget to read about it in your guidebook though, because there you will read things I cannot even imagine. For me, it’s just a beautiful spot.
We can get into the mine, we have to use a helmet to walk through the moist low tunnel. Explosions and other mining activities are reconstructed. What a tough life they must have had, I think. We look at the smiling wax figures having lunch in a niche of the mine. It is hard to imagine how hard people have worked in the last few industrial centuries. Thoughts along those lines occupy me when we exit the tunnel and climb up to the ruins of the gold temple. It’s a short, hot road, but the view from above is rewarding.
That concludes our short excursion to Jiufen. We say goodbye to the friendly people in the bed and breakfast place, and jump on a bus back to Taipei. There is a polylingual child visiting. At age eleven, speaking Japanese, French, English, Mandarin, and he had to brush up his German with me. I am curious about this phenomenon and I try to look into the dark eyes of the child, trying to identify schizophrenia, torn between all those languages. That child is much smarter than I am, and still, he is interested only in building model airplanes. When his polyglot Greek-Turkish father barges in a little later, things become clear. He writes a phd about language acquisition and seems to use his sun as a guinea pig. He is a friendly addict to being a polyglot. When he repeatedly calls his child “Dummkopf!” in German, because he cannot read Japanese as well as he can read Mandarin, I doubt this would have a positive influence on the kid’s mental health. Anyway, perhaps the child prodigy will grow up to be one of those amazing individuals that we’d wish to be in charge.
I get a ride to the main station, but despite of internet research, I cannot find the airport shuttle bus. I can convince a taxi driver to take me to the airport for twenty dollars. I spend the night on an airport bench in the overly airconditioned hall and on the warm nightgrass outside, my loyal blue backpack lying next to me.
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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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