One thing I love about street photography is that I have a tendency to get sucked into some great random encounters with people. If you immediately thought of video games, you’re awesome, by the way. And those random encounters often lead to some great images.
I was walking in a new part of Kaohsiung when I hear a catcall from across the street: “halloooo!” Nice thing about Taiwan, though, is that people really aren’t trying to be jerks when they shout at you – and unlike mainland China, I almost never hear anyone doing this so it feels fresh.
I use the term “catcall” because in many countries, if you go up to them and engage, they immediately get awkward, start saying stupid stuff to impress their friends, or go the other way. You were expected to be amusing from a distance, not an actual person. In Taiwan, “halloo!” is an invitation so if I have time I take people up on it!
Four scruffy looking guys across the street waving and sharing a jar of some unidentifiable substance.
I can’t say I remember what we talked about – my Mandarin remains abyssmal but after a brief preamble, they pressed a cup on me of strong-looking liquor. Yes, strong looking. Look at it! It looks like used motor oil.
I decided to drink; why not? How often do you get to share unidentifiable moonshine with grubby guys you just met who don’t share a language with you? The alcohol’s pickled all the worms, no doubt.
It was actually pretty good. It reminds me of the last time I was in Taiwan. I was on a rural agriculture tour in rural Miaoli County and we got to see how traditional Chinese medicinal wines were made. Deer antler, gogi berries, seahorses, tons of herbs…And I got a good taste as well – definitely similar. To describe it for a Western palate? I’d say it has an overpowering ginger element but far more…Green, is the best way I can describe it. Ginger with a somehow herbal tone to it and a bit more astringent.
Still, I turned down a second cup. I’m asking /r/Taiwan on Reddit what it was – the people there have been loving my images so far so I’ll update with some info on what wizard’s concoction I drank and how long I have left to live.