Puli township, Nantou county is located in the approximate centre of Taiwan. It boasts a population of around 86 000, so a fairly small-ish place as far as Taiwan is concerned. Small town Taiwan rarely has too much western stuff, and idols of western pop culture are virtually non-existent. So, imagine my surprise when I was driving through Puli and saw this:
Going by in a car, my brain didn’t register it at first, but a split second later, I screeched to a halt (the other traffic, used to these sudden changes, just calmly poured around me and continued on their way) and backed up to confirm what I saw. It’s Bumblebee – the transformer! Fittingly, he seemed to be the mascot of the car dealership/mechanic shop (which you can see in the background). This would not be a big deal back home, but here, in the boonies of Taiwan, a lifesized transformer statue is pretty awesome!
Bumblebee was made of spare car and other vehicle parts. All solid metal, this hand crafted piece of art came in at around 12 feet – towering over the cars around him. Here is a look at the back:
You can’t see it here, but the indivudual pieces are soldererd together and well hidden under the outer yellow coverings. He looked ready to spring into action. Here’s a comparison of Puli’s transformer Vs. the one from the movie:
For a handmade replica, in the middle of rural Taiwan, they did a pretty good job of putting him together. I’m not sure how much he weighed, but considering that he’s all metal, must be pretty heavy.
As I drove away, delighted to see something so foreign to the Taiwan landscape in Puli, I was struck by a thought. I really hope that this statue is heavy enough to withstand the gale force typhoon winds that hit the island from time to time. If he tumbles over, Bumblebee will claim a few auto casualties!