Taiwan trip was great. It was a meeting of World Creativity Summit in Taipei. Taipei was a major surprise for me. So clean and so prosperous and more importantly, so vegetarian! I reached on 4th afternoon, had a two hour sleep in the hotel, went out for a walk, bought some bread and milk from a department store and had that in the night. The next day at the conference they had some lunch boxes marked vegetarian. they even keep it separately. It was the most delicious vegetarian food I have eaten other than Indian food. Also the beautiful presentation of it all. Herbs twisted, tofu like a flower etc and the most exquisitely delicate taste. I am told they are many vegetarians there who do not even take garlic and onion and keep off tamasic food. The oil is also vegetable oil. Some even keep ekadasi fast twice a month. Apart from great interactions in the conference, visit to the 101 tall tower and the ancient treasures museum were great. I had nausea when they took us to the night market where live things were being offered on the street but this vegetarian stuff was a major surprise. It is easily available all over . Brown rice with sesame and ground nut in delicate spice steamed in leaf packets, salad with many different herbs, soups ,some vegetable, nuts and dry noodle combination which was bhelpuri like, a rasagolla like thing with lotus inside, at the end came a soup that tasted absolutely wonderful. It had camphor like smell. They said it was medicinal to help in digestion and to calm one down Absolutely a great pleasant surprise. there is a large green fruit that tastes just like our guava but is much much larger and does not have the smell. The other vegetarian with me was surprisingly, Eldad from Isreal. He is mostly vegetarian and completely avoids chicken. He also ordered veg food everywhere and it was great. He is such a lovely gentle soul.
On the first day when I came down to the breakfast room, every one came up to me and said my costume was just beautiful. The hotel had all the summit delegates from 23 countries (I was the only Indian) and some business and Holiday makers. Every one told me my Sari was beautiful. It was to repeat all five days. I revel in showing off my saris in these conferences. That reminds me of the customs at Taipei airport when I came through the green channel, the X Ray guy told me he had to open my box as it showed some long metallic object but very light. I saw the screen and told him it was all the gold in the silk sari borders. He smiled and said the saris are so beautiful and sent me out without opening the box. As I have said many times before, I wear my saris as a tribute to the weaver. I had seen a loom being installed some thirty years ago and after watching that engineering and art marvel, I decided I would only wear handloom and wear saris most of the time. My saris are my statement when I travel around and they are really a performance. I show them off with great affection.
In the bus to the conference, Liora Bresler asked me if she could sit next to me. She kept telling me how India touched her heart when she came as the wife when her electronic engineer husband had come for a conference in Chennai and had seen Mamallapuram etc. She said she had travelled in different countries but nothing had touched her as India has. In the short time we became very close to each other. She is a professor in a university in Champagne near Chicago. I loved her.
too many things to talk about.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Being a critic has its problems. Especially when you know the artists. Do you say what you feel or do you want to stay friends. It is the eternal question. I have had many who have taken offence to what I have written and either stopped talking to me or become extremely nice. I guess it is an occupational hazard.