It was not until several days ago when Evania and I embarked on a five-day trip to Taitung that I got the chance to visit this place once again. What initially seemed new and distant gradually became familiar.
When we stepped out the train at Taitung Station, I was befuddled by Evania's question about this station. During my military service, I always came back from a vacation by train, but I had little recollection about taking a bus to downtown. Maybe I had, but that part of memory was just too fragmented. Fortunately, we quickly discovered the answer on the next day while visiting the old Taitung Station, which was transformed to Taitung Railway Art Village. We found on the station's timetable noting that the old station was retired on May 31th, 2011 (which happened to be my birthday). It was almost one year after my retirement. So it became clear that this was the station I frequented.
We stayed at a hotel right next to Taitung Culture and Tourism Center. During breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, I could see through its glass window, the library across the courtyard. The scene reminded me that I would come to this library when I returned from a vacation. I would pick up some magazines and read them in the library or sit outside on the stairs reading my own book, which if my memory serves me right, was Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. At that time, I was just started to read English novels, so I always had a dictionary with me, and I had to consult the dictionary more often than I wanted to.
There were a couple of places I personally would like to visit. For example, the Taitung County Hall where I waited for the shuttle truck that would take me back to airbase. The only movie theater in Taitung where I watched Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The former is still there but the later was closed down because of a fire almost two years ago.
There were also some people's faces that would appear in my head if I wondered back to my time at Taitung. Some of them were vague but some were quite vivid. To my surprise, one of them showed up in person when we visited the Taitung County Travel Service Center at Taitung Railway Art Village. She was (and still is) one of the civilian workers at the airbase and she told me that her department was relocated to another room because the department that I worked at expanded into their original room. It was these tidbits that my nostalgic appetite really savored.
Aside from all the longing for the past, we did experience something new in this trip.
We postponed our dinner in order to attend a performance by Dizzy Jazz Trio: 陳奎昇 (Guitar), Jason Hayashi (Piano) and 程湛文 (Drums). They played 10 songs and the audience even managed to demand an encore. I also learned that it's perfectly fine to applause during a Jazz performance, especially when the players finished an exciting segment, the audience should not refrain themselves from giving a big applause.
Songs performed in order: