Tainan City is steeped in cultural history; its canal might someday become the “Venice” in Asia. Yvonne our tour guide made us fall in love with Tainan, the same way that she has, and it only took her one day to do this. My class mates and I visited Tainan two days before the TICA Tournament, and on the second day of our visit Yvonne took us on an unforgettable tour of the historical part of Tainan City. She showed us the area where Koxinga (or Cheng Cheng-kung) defeated the Dutch settlers in 1662 to reclaim Taiwan. At the Chihkan Tower formerly known as Fort Provintia we saw the nine stone tortoises each carved from a solid granite slab carrying on their backs giant royal stele written in both Chinese and Mandarin. Nearby the imposing Chihkan Tower with its vase shaped doors and various Pavilions dedicated to the god of wisdom, among others is a stunning reminder of the distinct architectural, artistic and cultural identity of Tainan’s past inhabitants. Yvonne took us to the Confucius Temple, the Guan-Gong Temple, the Koxinga Shrine, and the Official God of War Temple, her insights into the history and symbolism behind these monuments allowed us to not only see, but understand what these buildings meant to the people that made them and those that visit them until this day.

Travelling to the various counties in this country has shown me that Taiwan is not only about the metropolitan lifestyle of Taipei. The warmth of the Taiwanese people is everywhere. Regardless of language barriers, in areas such as Miaoli, where we spent a day to attend an Indigenous Festival, the people truly know how to make us feel special at their home. One learns that communication is not only by words, but it can also be delivered by gestures, and nothing is more powerful than the art of dance with music. We had an experience where they were talking to us in Chinese for more than two hours and we understood only a few words that were spoken. Not understanding what the topic is all about, yet understanding that they were talking about something is kind of how I would describe this situation. I don’t know if I am making sense? Anyways let me leave it at that.

The little of what I have seen of Taiwan makes me so eager to experience what is yet to be seen. I especially thank the Department of Agricultural Economics of the National Taiwan University and Taiwan’s ICDF for providing me with this unique opportunity to not only study in Taiwan, but to be able to visit and explore the charms and beauty that this nation holds.

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