For the past week and a half, Wayne has been staying at my place. He just moved into the city from rural Yilan, and needed someplace to crash. What’s interesting to me, is that I even met him at all.
When I first created this site, my main inspiration was my favorite blog- A Better Tomorrow. Written by a young American who had studied abroad in Beijing, and then gone on to travel all over China, it represented the most credible, most human account I’d ever seen of someone of a similar background who had learned Chinese well. Since that had been my original goal in coming to Taiwan, I read each page of A Better Tomorrow with anticipation. The tales of being swindled at knife-point in the north-west, the updates about classes, the uncensored observations about people… all of it was fascinating to me.
After the Nanjing-Hopkins program that the author, the very same Wayne mentioned above, had been enrolled in was canceled due to SARS, I was shocked to learn that he was coming to Taiwan, the place I’d chosen to study Chinese! On, I kept reading, entertained with stories of “stuff you wouldn’t see in mainland China” (such as Buddhist televangelists), translations of Lian Zhan’s political ads comparing himself with Gandalf and his rivals with Sauron, and a hodge-podge of other things. Then one day, Wayne abandoned blogging in favor of photography.
After I started blogging myself and this site became one of the larger Taiwan blogs, I eventually met Wayne via mutual friends who blog, such as PR and Poagao. It’s kind of amazing to me that due to this site, I’ve been able to get to know someone who was once “that guy with the coolest China blog on the net”. Even more surprisingly, he’s restarted A Better Tomorrow… sort of.