Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Double Ten Day

Double Ten Day is to the Taiwanese as Independence Day is to Americans. It's a time of celebration with fireworks and the whole shebang.

But when I think of Double Ten Day, I mostly recall an obscure event that had little to do with the holiday itself.

In the days leading up to the holiday, construction crews erected a number of overhead gates, like the one shown above, around the city. (Photo by Lentz, and courtesy of the 6987th Security Group Website)

I was getting ready to leave the China Seas (63) Club one evening when some guy said that he and a couple of friends were heading back in the direction of the hostel and offered me a lift. Saving a little cab fare sounded good, so I slid into the front passenger seat. Faced with that same situation today, I'd probably consider how much the driver had been drinking before making that move, but I wasn't all that bright back in the 1970s.

So we pulled out of the parking lot without hitting anything, unlike my Army friend John who ran over a local's foot one night with his 240Z, but that's another story. We were almost back to the hostel when we came to the 10-10 gate. I was looking out the side window and not really paying attention to the gate. Neither was the driver, apparently, because suddenly I heard what sounded like a cannon shot and I looked up just in time to see broken pieces of bamboo bouncing off the windshield of the car. It seems that the construction crew had closed off our lane that night while they assembled the gate overhead. We sort of opened it up again.

We drove on to the hostel, where I got out of the car and walked into the building to the sound of sirens pulling into the parking lot. I laid awake for a while that night, fully expecting a knock on the door, but it never came. I guess they didn't figure I was worth the effort of tracking down. Besides, what would they have charged me with anyway -- being stupid enough to ride with a drunk?

No, I don't remember any of the parades, fireworks, or anything else having to do with Double Ten Day, but I'll never forget the night we crashed through that barricade. Some things just stick with you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember Double 十十 Day during my time in Taiwan - it was one of the Chinese Holidays we celebrated and had the day off - if you worked in an office that was not open 7 days a week. The signage along the streets reminded everyone that the remembrance was something special. Things have changed since my time in Taiwan, the Double 十十 celebrations have been seriously cut back and depending on which party is in power,the celebration will probably fade as the older generation passes on.