This story is about the strangest (and scariest) thing that has happened to me so far in Taiwan. It just happened 1/2 hour ago, so all the details (that I know of) are fresh in my head.
Anyway, after dinner tonight Steve and I decided to go to KTV. This is the local equivalent to Karaoke where you at least get a private room.
After we sang we went to Welcome (the local equivalent of Safeway) on the way home to stock up on western snacks. While shopping in the store I noticed that a young 20-something guy was following me. At first I was thinking to myself “Jim, you are just being paranoid.” But then I thought it was weird when the guy followed me to the baby food and feminine hygiene section.
After collecting all of the items I wanted to purchase and checking out at the teller, I told Steve that someone was following me in the store. He said he did not notice but then we turned around and guess who was there? The same guy!
I told Steve that I think he might be following us, and to be sure that he is or is not following us we should take a round-about way home and zig-zag down some alleys.
So we walk briskly and talk about what he is doing following us and just produce small talk. I keep asking Steve if he is following us, and he tells me “I don’t want to look back!”
Soon we are coming to a spot where we cross the street and there is a police station right there. Steve mentions that we should stop there for a while and just chat so the guy will go his own separate way but I tell him that is silly and he won’t follow us any further. We cross the street and the light changes and the guy is left on the other side of the street.
So soon we come to a side alley that is going in the opposite direction as our home. This was my plan. On the way we pass a small vegetable stand and we pick up some garlic for some pasta sauce I was going to make. While Steve is talking to the grocer and paying for the garlic I notice that the guy who is following me shows up and is browsing through the vegetable stand. Damn, I thought we lost him!
So then we turn down another alley heading closer to home. We pass quite a few cats along the way and we decide to stop to let the guy pass.. The guy keeps on walking past us and turns right at the end of the alley.
This was a good thing, he turned right and we live to the left. We finally shook him. So we went to the end of the street and turned left and walked to the entrance to the building and called the elevator. As we were waiting for it to come down, guess who walks by?
At this point I am a little pissed off and I go down to confront the guy. I ask him “Why are you following me?” and he replies “Sorry, no English!” and begins to walk off. This just won’t do, so I say “NO” loudly and motion Steve to come down and interrogate him.
Anyway Steve has a long chat with him and the guy tells Steve that he is from Singapore and he came to Taiwan for 3 months and he works. He also said that he wasn’t following us.
Now Steve turns to me and says in English “If he is from SG then he should speak some English.” I concur and ask him to question the guy some more.
So they talk a little longer and Steve is asked who I am and if I am a friend of Steve’s. The guy then says that he saw my photo online and Steve tells me this. I say where and he begins to ask him that. He says he doesn’t remember. Now the thing is I don’t have my photo out on the net other than on Friendster and you need to be both a friend and a person with a registered account to view them so he couldn’t have seen me online. Also if he says he saw me before, then doesn’t that mean he was following me?
Anyway Steve asked him if he wanted to go home now and he told him yes. Steven said “you go first” and we waited for him to go.We got in the elevator and made it stop at all 12 floors and got out on top floor and walked down the stairs to the flat.
I told a few friends about this and their reaction is that it is weird and uncommon in Taiwan. I was told I should be more careful, but I don’t know how! Billy told me “Wow, you are popular now!” but we both agreed that it is the wrong kind of popularity.