The 1971-72 Global Semester, Day by Day

Saturday, December 4, 1971

Our flight was delayed an hour so we did a lot of waiting around. JAL is a good airline, almost as good as Thai. They gave us good food as well as miscellaneous things such as a tour guide of various cities. Taipei airport is very nice. They even had those tunnel things to walk through from the plane to the terminal!

Our hotel is nice. All I care about is the hot water. Our window looks out onto a cement wall about one foot away.

Sunday, December 5, 1971

Today we spent writing Christmas cards.

Tonight we were invited to the Lutheran Student Center at the National Taiwan University. It’s a fairly new building and the inside is typical church youth room or Sunday School: light blue walls, a piano, pictures of Jesus, wooden folding chairs with Bibles on them. Mr. and Mrs. Metcalf were there and so were a couple of Chinese ministers, an American missionary couple, two old maid missionaries, and a young Danish missionary woman. We filed into the rows of chairs. None of us was looking forward to a missionary type worship service and we were all in a squirrely mood. Then they passed out Christmas hymnals in Chinese and English and we became more enthusiastic. There were about an equal number of Chinese students there. Then we sang “The First Noel” and a couple of others and I began to feel the Christmas spirit. One old maid missionary is the real gushy type, the hand-holding, emotional, overflowing-with-friendliness type. Very sincere but hard to take sometimes. She sang just like Grandma and very loudly. We had a hard time trying to keep from laughing. The Chinese students sang a very beautiful Chinese song and then expected us to sing. We weren’t prepared of course but Jeff led us in “Rock My Soul” and we didn’t do too badly. We had some good pastry, jasmine tea, salted peanuts, and Swedish mints for refreshments.

Monday, December 6, 1971

We had some lectures at Soochow University. The prof (Chihwang?) was an important officer in WWII and once knew Mao. Of course, he didn’t say much about that except that Mao is an imperialist.

You have to be careful about what you say in this country. Even the hotel rooms are bugged and mail is read and censored. There is a suspicious little instrument on the ceiling of our room.

We had our eighth major Narum lecture today. This one was on Chinese thought.

Tuesday, December 7, 1971

We had a professor lecture on Chinese literature. His name is Jen Tai and he’s 70 years old, short, squat, and speaks like Winston Churchill, British accent and all! He’s also one of China’s leading poets, studied at Oberlin and Harvard under such profs as Whitehead, majored in lit and philosophy, and represented China at an international poets’ convention. He read some of his poems and translated to us and also read some poems in Chinese.

{from Bill K.}

For lunch we went to a small, neat-looking Chinese restaurant. Metcalf had told us we could have noodles and some kind of meat for 25¢ so we pointed to noodles and chicken on the menu. Then they started asking us questions in Chinese which, of course, we couldn’t understand. Then they laughed and left. Pretty soon they came with some plates of peanuts, lettuce and spicy meat, and then our noodles and chicken. We had trouble with the chopsticks and we knew the waitresses were laughing at us but we’re used to that by now.

We had to take the bus back on our own. It was raining. All 36 of us piled into a small bus that was already full and stood up for an hour before we got off not knowing where we were. Some Chinese people told us where to get off and then we wandered down a street and by chance found First Company and from there knew our way back.

Wednesday, December 8, 1971

Today Metcalf took us up to the ocean and along the coast. It was a cold, gray day with a strong wind coming off the sea. We soon reached a rocky coast with stormy, white-flecked, aqua water pounding on the shore. The roar and spray were a tremendous thrill for me who had never seen the ocean before. We stopped at one point where a fishing boat had run aground.


We drove farther to a U.S. government recreation area. The picnic ground there was very nice and had a lot of pine trees.


There were two huge, friendly German Shepherds there and a big Southerner who told us to make ourselves at home. We had ham and cheese sandwiches, doughnuts, and Canada Dry soda for lunch and then we went down to the beach.


It was an exhilarating experience. After leaving there we drove along the coast to a point with the most fantastic rock formations I’ve ever seen.


From there we went to Keelung, a large port, and saw the statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) on the top of the hill.


Thursday, December 9, 1971

We had an excellent lecture today by Mr. Metcalf on non-verbal communication. The other lecture today, at the university (by Jen Tai on philosophy), was unbearably boring.

We also had a lecture/discussion for Narum's course.

Friday, December 10, 1971

We went shopping for shoes and clothes.

Our local lecture today was by Edward Yang on the Chinese language.

Saturday, December 11, 1971

We went to the National Palace Museum. Marylou, Don, and I wandered through room after room absolutely overwhelmed, especially by the porcelains and enamelware. The museum is beautifully constructed and set in the hills just outside of Taipei. We went to a Mongolian barbeque afterwards. You pile a variety of raw meat, vegetables, spices, etc., into a bowl and then they quick-fry it and dump it back in the bowl.

Sunday, December 12, 1971

We went with Marylou to the curio mart and saw some beautiful but expensive scrolls and porcelain. Then we went to the Taiwan Handicraft Promotion Center. There’s a pretty park there, near the Provincial museum, with trees, ponds, fountains, and pagodas.

Monday, December 13, 1971

Discussion of how we’re all going to connect up our homeward-from-San Francisco flights has become the common dinner discussion topic.

Metcalf lectured today on mythology. Also scheduled local lectures by Chih Wang on religions in China and Elizabeth Wang on Chinese Customs and Festivals.

Narum's ninth major lecture today was on Taoism and Confucianism.

Tuesday, December 14, 1971

We went to Yang Ming Park today, up in the hills above Taipei. It’s a pretty place with lots of paths, pine trees, and waterfalls.


Marylou wandered around with us. We found a maple tree whose leaves had turned orange. That was a thrill for us since we missed fall at home.


The restaurant was expensive, the waiters didn’t understand us, and they wanted us to pay before we got our food. Another difficult experience.

We got off the bus at “Cove’s” bookstore and spent a couple of hours there.

{from Marylou}

Wednesday, December 15, 1971

Today we went to the Historical Museum, Botanical Gardens, and Art Gallery. They were all a big disappointment. We stopped at Lung Shan Temple.


Then we went to the Foremost ice cream place for lunch.


Thursday, December 16, 1971


Our lecturer today was Father O’ Hara who has been teaching in China for over 30 years. He’s very Irish and good humored. He also seems very liberal for a priest.

We had three lectures at the National Palace Museum on Survey of Chinese Art, Porcelain, and Jade.

Friday, December 17, 1971

Today we had lectures on bronze and painting.

Saturday, December 18, 1971

We have all been reading about the Indo-Pakistan war and are thankful we got out when we did.

Sunday, December 19, 1971

We have spent yesterday and today writing Narum’s study questions.

Today nine of us, Mary not included, went to the local officers’ club and watched an NFL game (Washington vs. Dallas, played the last Sunday we were in India).

Monday, December 20, 1971

We left the hotel at 7:00 AM and drove to Lu Shan hot springs. The road ended right out of Taichung and became a dusty, narrow track.

We went over a suspension bridge (we walked over and the bus went over empty).


When we got to Lu Shan we had to cross a suspension foot bridge.


We were stopped today by a member of Chiang’s SS men who keep tabs on all movement within the country.

The rooms at the hotel (Aborigine-owned) were straw-mat covered and they fit just enough people in so there wasn’t any walking room. We slept in sleeping bag type things on the floor. The pillows were like bean bags but the rest was very comfortable. The john was co-ed – one set of sinks near the urinals and two cubicles, one for men and one for women. The toilet was the bomb-sight type, flush but wet floor and kind of smelly.

Mr. Metcalf had a Catholic priest come to talk to us about aboriginal culture. He has been here for 18 years and he has trouble speaking English now! He and some Protestants are compiling a Bible in the aboriginal language and he’s doing a dictionary. He had some aborigines come and sing and dance for us. One old couple did most of it. The old man had a tattoo on his forehead signifying he had taken a head (these people were head-hunters until 50 years ago). They were both tiny, wrinkled, bent, and good-natured looking. The old lady had a scarf around her head and an old sweater, black pants, and bright blue bedroom slippers on. Her face was wrinkled like a prune. She and her husband played some strange stringed instrument and then several of them danced and had us join them. Several of the women sang aboriginal, Chinese, and Japanese songs. They also did a Japanese dance, synchronized and perfectly timed. Then they wanted us to do something. Doug danced to Mr. Bojangles (sung by Jim Staab who played his guitar) and did the funky chicken.

Tuesday, December 21, 1971

We were up and off by 9:00 AM. Breakfast, to our surprise, was scrambled eggs, bread, oranges, and rice gruel. The ride back down the mountain didn’t seem half as bad as the ride up.

We ate lunch at the Evergreen Hostel, a nice hotel on Sun Moon Lake.


From there we drove to Taichung, a modern city, where we stayed in a nice hotel. After dinner tonight we went to the local Navy Exchange for banana splits and fresh home milk. Great!

Wednesday, December 22, 1971

Today we drove a cliff highway through the high range of mountains. We went to a maximum of 9000 feet before descending. Several of us ate at an open-air Chinese place for lunch.


About 4:00 PM we came to Tiansiang at the beginning of the Taroko Gorge.


We are staying at a youth hostel. It’s new and they’re still working on it. It’s U-shaped and has a courtyard in the middle with poinsettias, trees, and flowers. There is a pagoda up above on a cliff and a suspension bridge goes over to it. We had a good hike around by the river. It’s so restful to just sit on the rocks with just the sound of the rapids.


Metcalf says that in a decade Taiwan will be the tourist destination of the Far East. When it does, Tiansiang will be the main attraction.

All 33 of us are in 3 rooms here … co-ed by necessity. The rooms consist of a raised platform on which there are straw mats and bedding. With 11 in each room there is no walking room at all. Dinner tonight was Chinese of course. (There are 60 Chinese students here in addition to us.) One dish was potatoes and chicken. However, the chicken consisted of feet and backbone with little meat.

We had some good laughs before going to bed at 9:30. We slept pretty well too. Doug snored and woke me up once but that’s all.

Thursday, December 23, 1971

Today was another long and hairy bus ride. We were up at 5:30 again. We had Chinese breakfast: rice gruel, peanuts, dried pork, duck eggs boiled in soy sauce, and steamed bread. It wasn’t too bad actually.

The road through the Taroko Gorge runs along the bottom though a lot of tunnels that are just hacked out of the rock.

We turned onto the Cliff highway that runs along the edge of the ocean. The mountains come down nearly vertically, then there’s a small ledge for the road, then it drops down to the water. It was scary to look out the cliff side. The bus tires were only 1 or 2 inches from the crumbling edge of the ledge.


We were glad to see Taipei again.

Charlie Chen, the hotel manager, had a special pre-Christmas dinner and dance for us. We got all dressed up and went down to the restaurant. It was all decorated up for Christmas and had fancy place settings and even cute cloth napkins. We quickly noticed the wine glasses. They came around and refilled our wine glasses several times. After the soup there was stuffed whole crab, then turkey, cranberries, green beans, stuffing, then bread pudding and then oranges! Plus hot chocolate made with real milk for once. The service was excellent. They gave us rolls and hot toast too. Of course, Charlie was eating with us so that’s why the service was so good. Afterwards, any who wanted to go were invited to go up to the 8th floor night club, free of charge.

We had our first burglary tonight. Ellen, who had lost her camera in Bangkok, had her new camera (plus exposed film, lenses, etc.) stolen by a burglar who came in through the window of the room she shares with Melanie. Melanie lost $120 in travelers checks. The police took fingerprints from the suitcase, which hadn’t been broken into, but not from the window sill and they took footprints from the floor where everyone had already walked.

Friday, December 24, 1971

We went to Metcalfs’ to present our journals we have been writing for him. They have a nice house and they fed us well. We had to take the bus out and back. It was really crowded. On the way back a bunch of school kids got on. All school children wear orange hats to identify them and make them visible to motorists. We were singing Christmas carols so when we finished a song, they sang one. These kids were going to school at 11:00 PM! This country operates on a 24 hour basis. All of the shops were still open too.

Saturday, December 25, 1971

The guys gave each of the girls 6 red roses for Christmas. We gave them candy and cookies. Marylou and Marty put them in stockings and stuck them under the guys’ doors at 6:00 AM. Unfortunately, the floor boys stole most of them. They gave most of it back though when confronted but they acted sort of sheepish and we knew they didn’t think it was for them. We were really upset. Charlie Chen made them replace the missing candy so everything turned out pretty good anyway.

We had a delicious dinner at the MAAG Officers’ Annex, a fancy restaurant and bar. They even had slot machines there.

GlobalXmasDinner01 1GlobalXmasDinner02 1GlobalXmasDinner03 1

Sunday, December 26, 1971

Today was really quite hot until it got cloudy this afternoon. There was a nice breeze from the ocean too.

I hope we’re not too much overweight. JAL wants us to come early and we’re worried that they’re going to weigh our hand baggage.