on a northbound train

May 5, 2015 - single portrait

The other day I was sitting on a northbound train out of Munich. It was just past 9am. I got a coffee and a sandwich before getting onto the train. I just settled my stuff and got my kindle out when a group of Chinese walked in looking for their seats. My first thought was 我的天阿 (dear god in heaven). However, they weren’t really noisy after all and my curiosity grew larger than the desire for a quiet journey.

My trial to acquire their origin and destination in my broken Chinese was answered with surprise and the words “Taiwan” and “Nuremberg” (or what sounded like Nuremberg). They didn’t believe me when I said in English that I used to live in Taiwan for a while. But talking about Hsinchu, the city I lived in back in 2002, convinced them. Dong Mii, the girl sitting opposite of me, and her mother also lived in Hsinchu, so we started talking about things to see and do there. It turned out that they didn’t live far from the place I used to stay in Bei Da Rd. and Dong Mii’s mother used to cook in a Thai restaurant I used to visit frequently. And I’m still thinking “wow, the world’s got really small”.

The two were part of a group of twenty traveling through Switzerland and Germany. They tried to tell me the names of some of the places but I didn’t get them. I’m just not good in names of alpine mountains. And they saw about a dozen of them in the past 12 days. The travellers were on their way back to Frankfurt to catch a flight home the next day spending their last hours visiting Nuremberg.

Just before they left the train at their destination, I asked Dong Mii if I could take a picture of her with my analog camera. She agreed under the condition that she could take a picture of me as well. To my surprise she also got out a film camera.

› tags: contax rts II / film photography / hsinchu / kodak tmax 100 / portrait photography / taiwan / train /


  1. the world can be as small as a sandbox, indeed. 20.000km don’t count anymore these days, you know what i am talking about. lovely story. i wish i could see her picture taken of you, too.

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