August 21st, 2016 | Fact, stranger than fiction

Alexander, me & Great granddad.
South from Great Granddad’s
East road from Great Granddad’s
End of a road into banana plantations.

Broken Clouds, 31°C


8 Sunday. 7:30 a.m. . Was woken up this morning by the voice of Alexander saying “Ba Bah, Ba Bah. Nai Nai. ” which in English is “Dad Dad, milk.” Clever boy. So I made him his morning bottle feed and he played as usual with his toys.

The weather today is quite good, a little cloudy but nothing to be bothered by.

At 2:30 today Moms older sister who I call “Coffee Aunty” because she loves drinking black coffee is taking us to mom’s father’s house, which is Alexander’s maternal great grandfather. He is about 91 years old. He seems to be quite healthy even though he smokes cigarettes and drinks green tea all day. I don’t understand how some people can die so young of cancer from passive smoking ( breathing in the second-hand smoke of smokers) and yet some people can live to a ripe old age smoking cigarettes all their lives. I don’t get it. Yet one more of life’s little curiosities.

Great Grandad lives in a small country town in Xishan district, Northern Kaohsiung. It is about 54 kilometers away and surrounded by banana plantations and other varieties of fruit farms. Actually I think this area is the banana bowl of Taiwan.

233p.m. we were on the road on one of the overpasses to a freeway heading north. At this moment I suddenly realized what the huge chimey stack was slap bang in the centre of a partly forrested area. I had seen it many times before, thinking that must be a factory or refuse incinerator. But now I knew exactly what it was. I had been under its monolithic shape before only last weekend. It was the crematorium. Now driving past it I felt different about it. I now had more respect and a tinge of dread about it. Interesting how an experience can completely reshape your view of something. Sometimes ignorance is bliss in disguise.

10 minutes later my mind was refreshed. We were now crusing along a winding highway through valleys of forrest and grasslands. Ah this was the Taiwan I loved.

By 3 p.m. rain had rolled in and we were almost at Alexander’s great grandads house. The rain cleared away when we finally arrived. Greeted by great granddad and rays of sunlight.

From 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. we spent the afternoon watching the Rio Olympics, playing ‘Pokemon Go’ enjoying tea and a variety of fruit from the nearby Farms. Some of the fruit included fresh lychees and sweet honeydew. While outside it rained and thunder rumbled overhead. That sweet fresh breeze that comes after a rain blowing across the grass and through the trees was a delightful smell. Most of the time that I’ve been to granddad’s the weather has been quite hot and humid, but today’s rain delivered a welcomed coolness. I also love that mysterious spookiness of the mountains behind covered with low clouds and mysts. It is places like this where many writers can get great inspiration. You may not write Bram Stoker’s Dracula thought you could conjure up things pretty close.

I am a writer by the way, well I used to be for very long time. Until the drama of my life took over and occupied my time. However it was wonderful to discover my younger brother took up this nobel occupation and I’m very intrigued by his work so far. As long as he continues at it I’m sure he will be revealed as a master of his domain. As for me I don’t think I really need to write my own novels as my own life seems to be a non-Stop dramatic roller coaster novel. Someone said to me once my life would make a good movie, but the problem is no one would believe it. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

For instance would you believe that I passed American pop singer Michael Jackson in a DVD store (and later got a front row seat at his concert), shook the hand of Prince Charles (of England) at an airport and came face to face (well almost) with President George W. Bush while passing the White House lawns, I met Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jiu at a Kung-Fu show (both presidents  I’m not fond of either), worked alongside the Taiwanese secret service to video the meeting of a famous Chi-gong master Li Shan-Feng and Taiwan Vice President and high fived an Australian rock star named Michael Hutchence (who sadly died in mysterious curcumstances in a Thai Hotel years later). I briefly dated a future Australian movie actress and had tea with a Billionare heiress named Rose Porteous (2nd wife of a Iron ore magnate named Lang Hancock). I have operated in army signals intelligence, flown Cessna airplanes (almost crashing one at the beginning in a spiral decent). I have been hit by 2 cars, survived three motorcycle accidents, almost knocked down by a train, been electrocuted, drowned in a civic swimming pool, fell out of a tree, robbed and knocked unconscious, stood in the forests where Pocahontas lived, flew over the Grand Canyon and looked down in wonder at the icebergs in the North Atlantic thinking if that’s where the Titanic sank, stood at the centre of ground zero in Hiroshima, made friends with Yuji Sasaki, the nephew of Sadako Sasaki who died from the atomic bomb and other historical and bizarre events.

See I told you you wouldn’t believe me! But if you’re lucky enough, I’m sure some more bizarre events will unfold in the recording of this dairy. And you will have a front row seat. Anyhow I guess all this would make me a drama queen or should I say the Drama King. Haha!

Like I said, fact is stranger than fiction.

Let’s see shall we.

P.S. Remember that “Terminator Mode” I told you about when driving in traffic in Taiwan. Well tonight it saved a life. At 10:10p.m. I was waiting at a red light as I was coming back from doing some late night shopping at Carrefour. A woman was waiting in front watching the red light. When it turned green she accelerated forward. But I’ve learnt you should never do that at traffic lights here. Because someone will always run through a red light! As I scanned the intersection in those few seconds I saw a white van speeding through. I quickly slammed my hand on my horn to alert the woman ahead. She stopped and looked up startled as a white van speed past her face. Had I not reacted. That woman would have been road kill. After that moment had passed she rode onward, slowly, I guess in shock. She looked at me as I drove past and nodded gratefully. Wow, I thought, I just saved someone’s life. What another bizarre moment!

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