“When I first arrived in Taiwan, I went to Tainan to meet up with one of my friends. He gave me a rickety motorcycle and encouraged take a trip around the island. He emphasized that I should definitely check out Taitung!” Mark’s eyes lit up. That was the first time he had heard about Taitung. He couldn’t constrain himself to want to know about what a special place Taitung is. Mark was on his solo road trip heading for Kenting but lost his way near Pingtung. “The local police looked out for me for about two hours and escorted me back to the main road. After all the help, they finally felt relieved enough to let me go on my way!” This experience left him with a deep impression of the enthusiasm and warmth of Taiwanese. “Taiwan is a great country!” Mark said.
Gradually, the emotional damage from his separation no longer plagued him. Not long after getting his feet wet in Taitung, he unexpectedly ran into Thomas, one of his university classmates, at a Mexican restaurant downtown. They were super excited about having met up with each other. Not thinking too much about it, Thomas immediately took Mark to the beach. Speeding along Provincial Highway 11 between Fugang and Xiaoyeliu he recalled, “There were towering coconut trees on both sides of the street. Dulan Mountain rose in the distance against the backdrop of the coastal mountain range. It was completely breathtaking. I thought it looked just like Hawaii! South Africa has a similar landscape with an amazing coastline. It’s really beautiful.”
At that time, Mark knew that Taitung was where he wanted to stay forever.