2011年9月22日 星期四

Metropolitan Taipei


It's usual for travelers to record what they have seen. I have touched
on some of the very local snacks I found at Danshuei and Jiufen. I have
also introduced some of the artworks at the Ju Ming Museum in Kamshan. I
just finished a blog on Yehliu, which is much closer to Keelung than to Taipei. What
about the other places I visited? Let the photos speak for themselves. I'll
just interpose a few words of explanations here and there.

First I went to Danshuei. Taiwanese are quite superstitious. Everywhere you go, you find
temples. Danshuei is no exception. But hawkers have no respect for the gods. They have absolutely
no compunction in putting their stands right at the entrance of of the temple.

Taiwanese appear to like art. Wherever you go, you find sculptures.
This one was found at the riverside of Danshuei, close to the pier.

Here's another one there called Barque Lunaire ( Moon Ship). Presumably
the sail is over the moon in the miiddle amidst waves?

This is supposed to be a Financial Centre. Yet in front of it, you'll find two sculptures. But that's
not all. There is a small sculpture garden to its left where staff may relax during their breaks..

This is what I found at the sculpture garden at the side of the building. Looks like something by
Henry Moore?

The fountain is another piece of artwork. A bird or a financial magnate taking off overflowing with
water (the juices of the economy)? But back to my trip.

Once I crossed the river by ferry, I arrived at a beach, yachting centre cum wetland park called
Bali (八里), a really big place for urban folks wishing to spend a relaxing weekend or weekday(?)
with facilities for cycling, min-motor cycling, children's playgrounds, swimming, yatching, "wetland
life  world" bird watching and when tired, snacks unlimited.

This is a common sight in Taiwan. Its roads are full of motorbikes whose helmeted riders would
twist in and out of the busy traffic and where other motorists, like them, would merely look upon
traffic lights as guides instead of regulations.

In rural areas, pedal bikes are used for short distance commuting by young people who cannot
yet afford a motorbike but here only for hire.

Where there are bikes, how can you do without bicycle parking stands?
Here's one I found at the roadside of the Bali Wetland Park.

Another thoughtfully constructed public "building". Or "sculpture"?

One of the sculptures decorating the riverside lawn at Bali. A knot or two people leaning against
each other? Or just a form?

Another sculpture. A man resting on the lawn, lying upon one of his arms?.

A third sculpture at the riverside park at Bali, where many locals sit around enjoying the quiet,
tranquil and relaxing holiday atmosphere and the river breeze. Waves? The bow of a boat? Or just
a form?

The pedestrian walkway stretching for several miles. Ideal for couple and young lovers.

The other side of the river from Bali. A little misty that day. Looks a bit like the Bosphorus
Straits at Instanbul, doesn't it? Except perhaps that we don't find the silhouette of the Blue Mosque
or that of the Palace and a telecommunication tower instead of a minaret with town
cries four times a day for worship?

The shoreline of Bali is littered with mooring places for river boats. Here is one.

Here's another.

Danshuei is an old town full of narrow streets with stairs and shops. It is also the site of a university.

A panoramic view of Keelung and its surrounding hills from Jiufen.

Taiwanese also seem quite fond of keeping pets. Here's a specialty pet shop I found at Jiufen, on
the second day of my visit. There are many shops selling arts and crafts at Danshuei, Bali
and Jiufen. But closer to where my hotel was, I found an artists' corner called Huashan 1914
Creative Park.

The entrance to the Creative Park, which used to be a distillery.

At the other side of the park, you find a pleasant cafe restaurant.

This is the main entrance to the creative park.

The semi-circular lawn outside the Creative Park proper.

The entrance to the young artists' studios called "Young Leaves New Paradise". I shall write about
what I found inside the creative park later.

The view across the street from the Huashan 1914 Creative Park.

The "Interchange" sculpture in the traffic island in front of the Creative Park.
According to the Artist Chang Chi, the sculpture symbolizes the meeting
points of two civilizations, the East and the West, the past and the future
and art and life.

A short distance away, you find this quaint old traditional type tower in wood, complete with
tiled swallow tail eaves. It's surrounded by buildings of much more "contemporary" design.

This is probably the town centre. What do you find there? A Hong Kong (?) style restaurant and
below it an American chain restaurant!

One of the buildings you find in the town centre.

This is the headquarters of the Kuomintang!

This is where the Central Committee of the KMT meet for business!

This is the Metro station exit serving the Taipei Municipal Government Offices.
In the background is Taipei 101, now the second tallest building in the world.

A closer view of Taipei 101 but much closer.

The main entrance to the Municipal Government Offices. As everywhere, you find flickering red
lights emitting from a horizontal LCD screen flashing needed information

At the side of the entrance, you again find parked numerous bicycles. You never find this in HK!

Another building opposite to the Municipal Government Offices. A local insurance company?

The Metro exit to the Taipei Trade Exhibition Centre, the equivalent of our Convention Centre?
A corner of the Exhibition Centre can be seen to the left of the triangular canopy.

Another work of art outside of the Metro station. A double leaf? An apple? Bottoms? But there
seems another piece of art behind that. And alive too!

One of the big boys in the financial world in Taiwan?

Its entrance.

Another view of its entrance. Looks a bit like that of the BOC in Hong Kong?

The equivalent in Taipei of our Causeway Bay?

Some other buildings in the financial and high end consumer spending district of Taipei.

This is the heart of hotel and high end consumer spending area. Here, you find the biggest department
stores, high fashion, European watches and jewellery shops etc.Even the largest bookstore in Taipei!

Night closing in now.

All you can see are the outlines of the buildings against the reddening sky.

The busy street really getting dark. .

The triangular canopy outside the Exhibition Hall where the flower show was held. Note the
shape and color of the supporting pillars. A bit like bamboos? And a tree in front of each
set of pillars to emphasize the its closeness to plants?

The exterior of the Exhibition Hall with elements of traditional Chinese architecture.

The pedestrian way around the Exhibition Hall.

What the entrances to the Exhibition Hall look like. You find the triangular motif and the upward
slanting repeated.

A view of the Exhibition Hall canopy from the Metro Station close by.

A view of the huge park on the way to the Taipei Museum of Art.

The bridge to the Taipei Museum of Art.

The way to the Taipei Museum of Art.

The stage of the museum.

Some art work outside the museum.

A herd of metal sheep in front of the museum.

The entrance to the Floral Tunnel adjacent to the museum.

A view of the tunnel. Hopefully the next time I'm there, the museum of art will be open!

But I had consolation. This is a stone monument outside of the entrance
to the Juming Museum in Kamshan.


Is that a dragon or a lizard at the entrance of the museum?.

Behind the museum is the famous Dharma Drum Mountain Temple (法鼓山). Shall we listen to
what the Buddha said: no need to always make distinctions between people and things
by dividing up the world through the use of words and concepts or to get too attached to anything,
including even the Dharma!

Despite its outward appearance of modernity, is Taiwan still cocooned within the egg shell of a
very oriental "bamboo" culture of traditional China, epitomised by the hut at the entrance to the
"Bamboo Garden", surrounded by some real and some artifical lotus buds, as shown in the
captioned photo at the start of this blog?