You always know a tourist even when you are in a country where honestly it is difficult to tell (no offense intended at all I promise). I say difficult because for a westerner like me often times Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese and Japanese people look very similar, sound similar and write similar. Until you have been here awhile and gotten to know them it’s all just Asian to you. But one way to tell anywhere in the world if someone is a tourist is if they are “googly eyed”. Googly eyed is my description of a person from any descent that is walking around staring at Google maps on their phone who walk in one direction for about 50 paces stop dead in their tracks do a complete 180 and walk another 50 paces in the opposite direction waiting for Google Maps to pick up their location by satellite and, more specifically, their direction so they can figure out if they are going the right way. Happens to me ALL the time! I do hate it when I’m carrying my pack though and am searching for my accommodation as that pack can get heavy whew! Anyway, it is one sure fire way to spot a tourist and is quite funny to watch from a distance! Today I did it in the shopping plaza next to Ximen Station. This plaza is the Time Square of NYC and the Picadilly of London I think. Bright and colorful buildings with large advertisements on the face of each of the buildings. Tons of people congregate here – locals and tourists alike. And here is where I got my first introduction to the Falun Dafa also known as the Falun Gong. (Photos below except last one, which was taken by me, are from tretando.com.br (left top); latin5stelle.it (top right); and epochtimes.com.br (bottom right).)
Falun Gong is a controversial group here in Taiwan and in mainland China. Supposedly it is a qigong practice that combines meditation with the moral philosophy of their master – Master Li – and has been around some 17 or 18 years. They hold what are referred to as “truth clarification” seminars and one of their goals supposedly is to raise awareness about human rights issues such as those related to abused children and anti-harvesting of human organs in mainland China. The Falun Gong are persecuted and tortured throughout mainland China I’m told. Taiwan however cedes itself from China in areas such as politics and religion. In other words, the Taiwanese encourage freedom unlike its “owners”. They are democratic and capitalistic and allow its people to believe in whatever their hearts desire unlike communist China. This includes the practice of Falun Gong.
Assuming the leader is not some kind of evangelist with his real interest in lining his own pockets or brainwashing his followers, this is a practice I could get behind as they allegedly believe that all society needs is for its people to be truthful, compassionate and tolerant. Those 3 qualities are, in my opinion, the pinnacle of character and will lead their possessor to enlightenment and spiritual growth and are 3 qualities I try to improve upon in myself on a daily basis.
For now though, I need to improve on something that can sometimes be difficult on the road and that’s my work ethic! Difficult because obviously I would rather go explore but know this, I’m not complaining not even in the slightest. My work allows for my travel. No work no play. So when I get to a good hotel with good wifi I invest sometimes 8-10 hrs straight in work and I’m happy to do it. This is my lifestyle design. I met a guy who was hitting on me in Boracay by the pool (my office for the day) who was saying that when he is on vacation, he turns his phone off, doesn’t check email, etc. and just enjoys his vacation. I replied well my life is a vacation and that it is. When I get to meet God face to face, I think he will say that I took the road less traveled and really lived the life he gave me. So thank you God for guiding me in this direction.
And thank you Four Hour Work Week although I haven’t quite gotten it down to 4 hours ESPECIALLY if you take into consideration the time I spend on this blog which is easily a Forty Hour Work Week – not that I consider it work given it is my passion. Although frankly, it must be said, there is no way Tim Ferriss is working a mere 4 hrs a week. Look at all the things he puts out there!
Anyway, back to doing what allows me to do what I want.
That’s all for now from Taipei.