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“The Linkou Shuttle” sung to the tune of MTA by the Kingston Trio

I have a growing collection of LP records.  I just acquired “The Best of The Kingston Trio”.  Although the cuts on this album weren’t heard during my time in Taiwan, there is one song that did bring back the memory of one particular ride on the shuttle bus from Shu Linkou AS to Taipei.

Aside from “Tom Dooley”, one of the Kingston Trio’s most recognized tunes is the M.T.A.  It’s a folk ballad about a man named Charlie that didn’t have enough money to get off a Boston Subway (M.T.A. – Metropolitan Transit Authority).  The chorus goes:

“But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man who never returned”

That song always reminds me of the night Chuck Fredrick (Dahootsa), Dave Wannemacher (Dahoowa), Earl Axe, and I went downtown together; well three of the four of us got that far.

So, without further intro, and to the tune of The Kingston Trio’s M.T.A. – here is:

“The Linkou Shuttle”

Well, let me tell you the story of a man named Axe.
After a hectic day watch, He put 100 NT in his pocket,
and headed for the liberty bus with some fellow hacks.

(Chorus)
But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ‘cross the Tamshui River
He’s the man who never returned.

With him there was Dahootsa, Dahoowa, and Jim
They grabbed some 10 cent Linkou Club Happy Hour beers
’cause pay day was near and their cash was getting slim.

(Chorus)
But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ’round the streets of Taipei,
He’s the man who never returned.

On the ride to town, the beers went down,
That, and a long string of watches took their toll.
Poor Axe was fast asleep before they got downtown.

(Chorus)
But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever past the OK Bar,
He’s the man who never returned.

Now Dahoowa didn’t have the heart to disturb Axe’s sleep.
So they left the poor man in his seat.
And back to Linkou he went, without making a peep.

(Chorus)
But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever down Chungshan Bei Lu,
He’s the man who never returned.

Two hours later, the remaining three, went back to the bus stop.
To their amazement, Axe was the lone rider.
He was still out cold, so the driver had no one to drop.

(Chorus)
But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever up and down the hill,
He’s the man who never returned.

Did the Zoomies think we were crazy?

One mid watch while seating around with little to do, but cause havoc, someone came up with an idea to lock our seats together and become a rowing team that rowed around the spaces as if we were going down a river.  I remember Harry Hobbs was the guy with his hat on backgrounds and a drinking cup with the bottom out of it so that he could yell STROKE, STROKE over and over again.  We started in the NSA area rowing around and you just knew we had to share this with our Zoomie friends. Well a couple of minutes later we took off to their area and proceeded to row up and down all of their stations a couple of times. Then it was off to the army and do the same thing to them. Then back to our area.  I would think all total we were rowing for well over 30 minutes around the whole building.  But it doesn’t end there.  Because of the success of this activity several months later the “Rowing Team” was altered to include Chuck Fredricks as Santa and the rest of us as elves and we starting throwing Christmas packages (bags of shredding) to all of zoomies on the way by. The thing I remember the most about both of these incidents are the fact that we never even got talked to from someone.  It just goes to show you the great group we had on the Rock including most of the officers, etc.

44 Clubs

On a mid-watch one night, some of us with “time on the ROC” were lamenting the tendency of every NUG to, on their first trip down the hill, get off the bus, walk into the first club they saw,—usually the China Night—fall instantly in love and be rooted to the spot for the first month or so. We decided that they needed to be introduced to the pleasures of the island and that the best way to do this was an initiation that required them to visit every club that we could name at least once during their first month on the island.  We spent the rest of the watch coming up with a list of every club any of us knew, all 44 of them.  We had all of the Linkou Navy hangouts, all of the back-alley places, all of businessman’s row, the row of four clubs around the corner from the compound (across the side street from where so many of had jackets made by the tailor shop on the corner), and at least one Japanese businessman club.  The initiation was this: the NUG was given a list with a blank beside the club’s name that had to be signed by a club girl in each of the 44 clubs.  When we were sure that the list was complete (as complete as we could make it), some idiot—I believe it was Don Price—decided that we, having so much time on the ROC, should be to able to do it in one night. 

The night began where all good nights began, at the King’s Club, with everyone agreeing to have one drink (remember how small those glasses were) in each club.  Before I had gotten my first Scotch (Long John was the standard bar Scotch), a couple of guys were ready to go.  They were ordering ice and splashing some Ooh Mei Jiou over it and heading for the next club.  I don’t remember how I kept up but we lost a number of guys along the way to the GiGi Club, number 40 on the list.  Why would I remember the GiGi Club, a club I only went into once?  They had a great time with my list and one of the girls kept it. The home stretch was the four clubs in a row on the crossing street just around the corner from the compound.  In the first club, one the survivors started giving me shit about losing my list and how no one was going believe that I’d made it to all 44 if I didn’t have the list.  I even went back to the GiGi Club (ok, technically I went there twice) and tried to get my list back.  They laughed and told me they didn’t know what I was talking about. Fompi! I continued running clubs and got more shit in the next bar only to reach the point where I was convinced that no one was going to believe that I had hit all 44–even if I did finish.  I walked out of club number 42, went straight the curb, got in a cab, and said “Jienton.”  I was told that one person actually had a drink in all 44 clubs.  That didn’t help my hangover very much.

Taiwan6Taiwan5map2 Just a few of the 44.

TAD to NSGD San Miguel, Republic of the Philippines

As I sit here this evening listening to Santana’s Greatest hits on my vintage stereo system I’m inspired to write about the detour several of us took to the Island of Luzon in the Republic of the Philippines.  About the second week of April 1971 a rumor started floating around that several CT’s were getting TAD orders for NSGD San Miguel, RPI for 6 months that would include a 3 month sojourn to Phu-Bai, Republic of South Viet Nam. The rumor turned into a reality when a list of about 30 Linkou CT’s came out with departure dates for Naval Communications Station San Miguel. Fortunately for me at the time, my name wasn’t on the list which was surprising as the majority of those on the list had arrived in Taiwan about the same time I had.  This obvious ommission did not go unnoticed within Delta section.  One member, Skinny Dan was on the list, not only did he out rank me, but he had considerably more time on the ROC than I.  To make his situation worse, he was married and had just finalized arrangements to bring his wife over from the ‘world’.  She would be arriving just in time to see Dan off on his TAD to the PI and beyond.  She would have to adjust to Taiwan on her own.  With some ‘gentle’ coaxing by the likes of Fat Gary I volunteered to take his place.  Fat Gary was going also and he assured me that it would be ‘Ace’ as he would say about anything that would involve drinking and partying. 

nav03-tad-orders-for-san-miguel-v2

Before departing for the PI several of us had the opportunity to accompany Dan to Shung-Shan airport to greet his arriving wife one evening in late April 1971.  The flight arrived on time, streams of American servicemen and dependent family members got off the plane and filed by us, but not Dan’s wife.  After enduring my NUG pranks I was somewhat suspicious of my duty section mates and wondered if the Mrs. was a figment of their imagination.  It turns out there was a spouse, but she decided she wasn’t coming to Taiwan, and left Dan off that memo.  A few years ago I exchanged e-mails with Dan and he told me he got divorced and made a career of the Navy.  Some time after his tour in Taiwan he got regular orders for San Miguel. He met a lovely Filipina and got married – now that’s irony. 

So off we went to the PI.  The best part of it for me, an E3 that was always broke, was the extra per diem pay, $180 up front.  Some how I wound up partying all night in Taipei the night before my flight departed for Clark AFB and missed the last Liberty Bus back to Linkou.  I Almost didn’t get back to Linkou in time to pack and catch my flight to Clark Air Base in the Philippines.  As I jumped into a cab cursing the thought of having to pay the fare all way back to Linkou I heard a voice yelling to “wait”.  Running out of the same establishment I had been in was Uncle Mike, also scheduled to be on the same flight as I.  Amazing how geniuses think alike.

The PI was ‘Ace’ as Fat Man said.  Much more forgiving to my wallet, but less sophisticated than Taipei.  Yes, I would say we behaved with a certain level of sophistication while on the town in Taipei, as compared to the way we behaved at the Cross Roads outside the gates of NAVCOMSTA Phil.  I recall walking into the UAC (Ugly American Club) one afternoon and did a double take of a table where two Linkou sailors were sitting with two Filipinas in various stages of disrobement; one of the girls had nothing but her underwear on.  I noticed there were cards on the table; ah ha – strip poker game.  In Taipei we would play Black Jack at the Kings Club bar and loose our money to one of the girls – much more sophisticated. 

One of the “When in Rome, Do as the Romans” adventures that had to be taken while in the PI was a trip to the Subic Bay Naval Base and the city of Olongapo, which had the reputation of being the best Liberty Port in the Westpac.  If you were there, you’d know what we’re talking about, if not……… well, you just had to be there.

continential_three_subic_city 

Above: Some of the Linkou Navy contingent at Subic Bay.

One of the more humorous things I witnessed in the PI was at a little club called the “Blue Heavan” (I think).  Lynn Hintergart, Linkou Alpha section, and I were having a cold San Miguel beer at a table, Lynn sitting across from me.  A little Filipina girl about 12 years old was sneaking up behind Lynn.  She had a huge hairy spider in her hand and she motioned for me to be quiet.  She came up behind Lynn, pulled his shirt collar back, and dropped the spider in.  Lynn started screaming like a little girl and ripped all the buttons off his shirt to get it off.  So, Axe, getting a little cold water on you while taking a dump isn’t so bad.

My tour in the PI ended as abruptly as it started.  A little less than 2 months into the 6 month assignment I received orders with about half our group to return to Shu Linkou. 

nav04-termination-orders-for-tad-to-san-miguel-v2

The first group that went over were already in Phu-Bai waiting for the rest of us to relieve them after 3 months.  That relief would never come and they got stuck for the full 6 months.  Getting back to Taiwan was the good news.  The bad news was that since I had received half my per diem pay in advance I had been overpaid by $64.  I never gave it any thought since I had spent it all until I was told to pay it back in cash a few days after arriving back in Taiwan.   That was an awkward moment – “you want how much cash?”

Music

 Music; American Rock, Pop, Soul, Country; was important to us during our overseas tour. Living in an Asian culture, ‘our’ music provided one of the few links back to the “world”. Although it wasn’t the electronically connected age we live in today, there were a number of sources for our listening pleasure.

There was really only one radio station that played American music; AFNT – Armed Forces Network Taiwan. The Armed Forces Network was operated by the US Department of Defense and employed US servicemen for it’s operations. I don’t recall the frequency that AFNT transmitted on, but it’s remnant station ICRT (International Community Radio Taiwan) operates at FM 100, quite possibly the same frequency that AFNT broadcast on. The recent passing of Casey Kasem jostled my memory of listening to his American Top 40 show every week. I remember hearing Don McClean singing ‘American Pie’ for the first time on that radio show. It stayed on top of the Billboard Top 40 for 4 Weeks in January 1972. My time on Taiwan was winding down, and for some reason every time I hear that song it puts me back at Linkou listening to AFNT.

All the clubs in Taipei had a jukebox, usually a Wurlitzer. Five plays for the equivalent of about 5 cents (US). To my ear, the King’s Club had the best sound system and when I reminisce about it I hear Carole King singing ‘I Feel the Earth Move’. I was never much for the Country/Western genre, but one song that was heard too often at the King’s Club was ‘Take Me Home, Country Road’ (John Denver). I think it was Earl Axe that put that one on repeatedly. I couldn’t decide if he really liked it or was just trying to annoy the rockers amongst us. I heard Eric Clapton’s version of ‘After Midnight’ for the first time in the China Night Club; I can even remember what time it was – just a little after midnight.

carmen Above:  Carmen at the King’s Club jukebox.

Timpgirl4 Imperial Club – jukebox visible at lower left corner.

Photo0003a ABC Club, Annie and Cindy in front of the jukebox.

The King’s Club had a turntable connected to their sound system. We would buy those cheap red vinyl LP’s down at Cave’s Book store at the corner of ChungShan North Road and Minzu West Road and bring them to the King’s for a listen. There were stacks of those cheap LP’s in the Barracks Day Rooms back at Linkou. You couldn’t bring those LP’s back to the states, as they were legally bootlegged in Taiwan, but not worth more than a couple plays before sounding like they had been cleaned with sand paper. At 25 cents (US), though, you couldn’t go wrong.

DonavonB Above: Taiwan version of a Donovan LP.  Most of these were pressed on red vinyl.

DonavonA The covers were made of paper.

The best Japanese HiFi systems could be purchased at the Navy exchange. Receivers and speakers by Kenwood, Pioneer and Sansui, Dual turntables, and Akai or Teac reel-to-reel tape decks could be had for a fraction of what they went for back in the ‘world’. Just about every room in the barracks had a stereo set up that was way too powerful for the room size.

Taipei10 Earl Axe’s System

ek_10 Pioneer Speakers – CS-77a’s in the late Tim Rowe’s room – Photo from Skip Dunbar.

4501000-R4-E078 Photo from Radar:  Looks like a Kenwood Receiver and Speakers with the old Kenwood Trio logo on the speakers.

3473067-R3-E086 More Pioneer Speakers.  Paul Harbour, second from left.  Photo from Radar.

3473066-R2-E071 Photo courtesy of Radar.  Looks like a Sansui receiver and speakers.

Pict-18 Some just made their own music.  Tinker doing a serenade for Carpenter and Johnson on the roof of their Jientan apartment.

More vintage stereo equipment of those times:

pioneersx1000twa
Pioneer SX-1000TW (above) and below is a top of the line Pioneer SX-9000 with built in re-verb amp.

PioneerSX9000a

pioneer-csa5002a

Above: Pioneer speakers, reminiscent of of the CS-77a and CS-88a that were common up at Linkou. This is a model CS-A500, built about the same time. 

20130729TeacA4300006  Teac reel-to-reel deck.

One of the fondest musical recollections from Taipei didn’t involve American Music. At the King’s Club late one evening and for no apparent reason the girls all started singing a Chinese song. No background music playing, they just started singing this song. It sounded very traditional Chinese, it was beautiful, and at the time I thought to myself “remember this moment, you won’t experience it again.”

The Fish

One of my roommates, Rich Cincotta, had an unusual ability for getting things into places where others thought they didn’t belong. Sometimes Rich, aka, the Red Header, made no effort to hide anything.  A good example was the time when he brought a girl from the short-time house in the alley near the Imperial Club to the Air Force Christmas Party (this was the same guy who insisted upon putting up a Christmas tree in our Jientan apartment despite my complete apathy).

At other times, however, Rich resorted to smuggling—he was natural. I can remember when he told me that he was taking a tour of Hong Kong and Singapore that was organized by the Navy Hospital.  I thought he was crazy—a single guy, Linkou Navy no less—going on a tour with a bunch of service wives.  Sure we knew service wives existed but if they didn’t hang out at the King’s Club or the China Night or the Imperial, they might as well be back in the States.  The trip sounded pretty tame for the Red Header.  When he came back into the ROC, however, he smuggled in several copies of the ROC’s number one banned book—Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.  I know it wasn’t his main reason for going but if you think it makes a better story you can believe that.

Banned books are one thing but I prefer someone who can smuggle raw odorous flesh into top-secret cryptographic facilities.  The Operations Officer (Lt. Murphy), a day worker with the rank of Lt. Commander, had a desk facing almost directly into the ditty bopping work space and file cabinets behind the desk.  I don’t remember the guy’s name but I do remember what Rich did to him.(Added comment, heard from Lt. Murphy about this incident, so we know it was him)  On a weekend eve watch, Rich smuggled a fish that he had purchased in a street market into our highly secured, top-secret space—he put it in his pocket and walked through the gate.  He then put the fish in the Ops Officer’s filing cabinet and opened the plastic bag containing it just enough to let the smell out (but not enough to make a mess)—in Rich’s words “a clean (but stinky) prank.” I’m told that by Monday morning the only thing that was obvious was the smell—and it took them a long time to find its source.

Skedding in Keelung

Our trips to Keelung always started at the Ships Movement Board in traffic analysis space on base. I think checking the Ships Movement Board was the Red Header’s, i.e., Rich Cincotta’s idea but whoever came up with it, it was a good idea.  On the ships movement board the USS Pueblo was always shown to be in port in North Korea. The important thing from our standpoint, however, whether there were any American ships due into Keelung. You always planned Keelung skeds when there were no ships in.  There was nothing better than running bars in Keelung when you were the only Americans in town. There might be a few merchant seamen in but those crews were so small that they didn’t create much competition.

I don’t remember how many Keeling trips I took—they all run together so this is not a story about one trip.  I know I went several times because I remember making trips back to see the same girl (don’t remember the name but she is featured in a ‘before’ picture on this website).  I do remember that my roomies; the Red Header and Glen, ‘Radar’ Nelson; were usually, maybe always along. From what was written on the back of one of the photos, a guy named George Kingston (I think he was day puke friend of Radar but I don’t really remember) went along at least once.

Don_Price__Keelung_Bar_Girl--George_Kingston_background

A Yu-long (i.e., a Datsun assembled in Taiwan) taxi would deliver you directly to the docks in Keelung. There was a small pier directly across what I remember as a very wide street from what was to become my favorite Keelung bar.  I don’t remember the name but it was the one in which my ‘before’ picture on this website was taken. We usually shopped around and hit most of the bars, promising in every bar that we would come back when our friends found girls they liked and, being the honest type that I was, I always told the truth to one of the girls—whichever one took me to the Pacific Hotel. They always seemed to know her (whoever ‘her’ was) and the service was great.  I never wanted to leave the Pacific.

Radar, on the other hand, says that he once made the mistake of going out late at night by himself in Keelung.  He was stopped by a ROC soldier with an M16 who was asking him questions in broken English. Radar was drunk (that’s how we all remember him) and not the Chinese language scholar that the Red Header and I were.  He studied Chinese at the China Night Club after his orientation at the OK Bar, instead of at Taipei American School (Taipei Mei-gwo Sywei-syau) like Rich and me.  All he really understood was that the M16 was in the hands of a soldier who was becoming increasingly frustrated as he tried to talk to him.  Radar eventually figured out, when the soldier pointed to his wallet, that he was asking for a passport. Radar showed him his military ID and the guy didn’t shoot him—being a pervert was not a crime.

On the return trips—this was also the Red Header’s idea—we took the regular Chinese bus.  I think we coughed up a couple of NT$ (New Taiwan dollars) more and rode the express bus.  The local made numerous stops between Keelung and Taipei.   It was a lot cheaper than the taxi either way.  I never rode it going to Keelung—I was usually in a hurry and I probably wouldn’t have known where to catch it anyway.  In Keelung the bus station was, I think, by the docks. When we got back into Taipei, we still needed a taxi because we didn’t really know where we were.

After I was sent to the fleet, abroad the USS Orleck (DD-886), I was on a WestPac where the ship (built in 1945) was scheduled to go into Kaoshuing for minor repairs, go out on exercises in the Taiwan Straits for a week or so, and then put into Keelung.  I imagined my triumphant return when I put in a chit to go on leave as soon as we hit Kaoshuing, to check in from leave and stand a day of duty in Keelung and then go back out on liberty for a couple of days. Everybody kept trying to talk me out of it by telling me stuff like I needed a passport (I didn’t—your military ID was good enough for the ROC) and that I’d be the last one to go on leave when we got to the States.  I was due to get out shortly after we got back and anyway I never had as much fun in the States.  When we did get back to San Diego, Cincotta was standing on the dock with a “Price is Short” sign—a double entente if there ever was one, some might argue a triple entente but I it wasn’t that short—I loved the navy so much that I started counting days in boot camp.  They broke down and okayed my leave.

Halfway between Hong Kong and Kaoshuing the damn ship broke down and we limped into Subic for a three-week stay.  Damn piece of junk is a floating museum in Orange, Texas (27 miles from where I now live–it was the last ship out of the Orange shipyard in WWII) but after what it did to my plans, I’ll be damned if I’m going to help them restore it.

Great Escapes

I remember two great escapes and what they both have in common is Tom Sherman and Mike Sopchak, two guys who always seemed to be mentioned in the same breath.  The first was an escape from the King’s Club.  I heard that they tore the sink off the wall in the King’s Club bathroom—you really have to do something bad to get cussed out (for real) by King’s Club girls and have them call the Provost Marshall (PMO) on you.

Late at night, in downtown Taipei, all the slow moving traffic, carts and farm animals, would move from one side of the city to another.  When Sherman and Sopchak came out of the King’s Club they spotted an old man who was moving his water buffalo across town.  They somehow talked the old man, who spoke no English, into letting two crazy Americans ride his water buffalo to the next bar, the China Night. There are two things you need to remember about drunks riding a water buffalo:  (1) you ride bareback and hold on with all fours and (2) since water buffalo cool off by wallowing in the mud, it becomes caked to their skin when dry. Our heroes arrived at the China Night with the front of their clothing completely black.  Oh yeah, there is one other thing to remember.  Be careful on the dismount.  One of them, I think it was Sherman, fell on the pavement and broke his arm.

The night of the second great escape began at a ship-over party in the Prince Club.   I’ve forgotten who was shipping over but it was a sufficiently rare event, despite the highest VRB in the navy, to cause someone to buy out the Prince Club for the several hours to celebrate.  The Prince Club wasn’t one of the more popular places so they agreed to close the club for a private party for an agreed upon amount (maybe $150) where everyone was allowed to drink as much as they wanted.  It quickly became clear to the owner that free drinks and Linkou Navy was a lethal combination.  The executive officer was even drinking with us. The C. O. would have been there but he was off the island at the time.  The guy running the club eventually cut us off early and the party moved to the Imperial Club.  The Imperial Club was a popular spot but they weren’t as tolerant as the King’s Club.  With people dancing on the bar, the exec among them, they called the PMO.  Just as the PMO arrived, so did the drunken pair of Sherman and Sopchak, on a motorcycle which they promptly dumped in front of the paddy wagon.  You guys know the routine—they took their IDs and put them in the back.  Then they went inside to run in a good part of Linkou Navy.  After some negotiation, the exec got them to agree to take him in for the whole command. They went outside and found the paddy wagon empty—they did not bother to lock the door.  I guess they thought taking IDs was enough.  It wasn’t.  Later, that night when I was sitting in the China Night, the PMO came in and came straight to me—they knew all Linkou Navy on sight.  “Have you seen Sherman and Sopchak?” “If you do, you tell them that they better turn themselves in. They’re in real trouble this time.”  I don’t remember how much trouble they got into but as I remember punishment priorities on the ROC. Our base was Air Force but the admiral always told them, in matters of jurisdiction, that it was a navy island. The navy liked or tolerated Linkou Navy a lot better than the Air Force or Army.  I wonder if the Air Force and Army guys had any fun at all.

A Few Games of Buzz

These incidents were sent in by Roland “Roy White Cloud” Roy, CT(I) 1964-66

As many of our downtown excursions began at the Linkou club up on base, so did this one. We were playing a game called buzz, a very good  drinking game. Some one would start counting and around the table we  went until the number 7, or a number divided by 7, came up. The person then had to say “buzz” and the count would reverse itself. If you missed, you have to take a shot.  I.E. 7, 14, 17, 21, 27, 28, etc. I’m sure you get the idea now. As the Navy had “open gang-plank liberty”, a few of us went down town for some evening fun.   After hitting a few bars, we decided to hit the downtown Linkou club. We commandeered a couple of Pedi cabs  to take us there. Only we put the drivers in the back seat as we drove. Well as luck would have it, one of us got off the road a bit and landed in a binjo ditch(luckily not a full one) and one of the Pedi cabs lost a wheel. Boy was the owner mad, we gave him some NT’s and scrambled out of there real quick. Never heard from those guys again.

Another game of buzz and again taking off for downtown. This time there were probably 5-6 of us and we wound up on a small side street. Found a store/bar that was selling firecrackers and rockets. Well I’m sure you can guess what we did next. You’re right. We bought a bunch and divided up one group on one side of the street and the other on the other. I worked my way up to the second floor and we started firing these rockets off at each other.  The poor Chinese did not know what to think. This little war went on for about 30 minutes or so before we all ran out of ammo and called a truce. The Chinese were clapping and shouting when we left. I guess it must have been around Chinese New Year or so. I can’t recall exact time of year, but it was sure fun.

Another Joe Prisk Story

When Joe Prisk was getting ready to leave Taiwan (late June) he wanted to go out big.  So one day he and I went into the city (Where it was off limits) and he went about buying a bomb.  Now this “Bomb” came in a large box about the size of 5 pizza boxes stacked on top of each other.  The plan was to go back to the Kings club and set this bomb off.  We got to the Kings club and Joe found a ladder.  We went outside to the Sign that hung on the building.  Joe took the bomb, which was a smaller box inside the big box and tied it to the sign.  Coming out from the bomb were rows and rows of firecrackers.  Each firecracker was about the size of an M-80.  There were 2 streamers of these firecrackers coming out of the bomb.  So Joe took one end and I took the other and we walked away from each other until they were totally spread out. Now you have to picture this.  Here is Joe about 30-40 feet away from me and between us is this streamer of firecrackers going up into this bomb hanging from the sign.  At the same time we each lit our ends and these firecrackers start exploding. There is paper everywhere as they start moving up the streamer on their way to the bomb.  By the time the firecrackers have been exploding for about 5 minutes we have a total crowd around us on the side walk.  Everyone came out of the clubs as well since the noise was unbelievable.  I swear it took almost 10 minutes of exploding before each end went up into the “bomb”.  As they both went into it, it took about 30-45 seconds and then the bomb exploded.  It had to have been about a stick of dynamite. The sign on the Kings club started swaying back and forth, but it ended up staying on the building.  I know that Joe was a little disappointed that it didn’t get blown off the building. Paper was EVERYWHERE.  We had to have had 200 people watching us blow this thing off.  Cars were stopping in the street and if you remember the Kings club it was right at the main intersection of the main drag of Taipei.  The time was about dusk, so it wasn’t dark yet.  It was great.  I will never forget that experience.  Here I was less than a month on the rock and damn near blew a sign off a building.  We didn’t get in any trouble and even the cops were there watching it. I knew then that I was in a place that we could party hardy and not worry to much about it.  Thanks Joe for the memories.  Hopefully he reads this sometime.