Taiwan Day 11- Sunday- 01/02/04

Chaing Kai Shek Memorial
I woke up extremely late. 15:30. Actually Bob woke me up and we went to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. It was actually a rather pretty day, warm, and not raining, so I was feeling kinda bad for sleeping most of it. Because their New year’s festivities are going on for until the lantern or light festival two weeks later, the entire complex was full with people celebrating lights, and light exhibits. There were a lot of kids playing with a flying UFO toy with bright LEDS. They actually looked like UFOs!
I tried photographing them but I couldn’t capture the actual thrill in seeing so many of them flying around at the same time.
There was also a vendor selling them there, He had them in Blue, Green and Red.
I had to buy one. Of each color. Just because I couldn’t decide which is better. Bob bargained with the guy, because he bought one too, so he gave us a good price. I actually cut my finger when playing with it the next day.
The entire complex is very large. It’s in the middle of the city, and has a huge open space there to play with those UFO lights. And practice danding. Think of Kikar Malchey Israel (Aka Kikar Rabin) and then multiply by 30. The memorial hall is it least as big as the Tel-Aviv city hall and the doors are HUGE. Just Like many Asian temples. It’s a wonder how they got to open such things before the invention of the electrical motor…
I manage to do a lot of experimental night photography that evening. There were a lot of nice subjects like the UFO’s and Pagodas, and light exhibits, and since digital photography is so great in the sense that you can experiment with it so much and just see the results instantly without it costing you money, I got a little wild with it.

Phoebe suggested the day before, that we drive to Chiufen (pronounced: Jiu f`en). I couldn’t find it in my tour guide book, because I looked for it in “j” and not in “c”. But they said that it was very close to Keelung, so after a while I just tried to read about the place that comes in the book right after Keelung. Suprisingly it was Chiufen.
Chiufen is a nice little old town, built on a hillside which overlooks the Taiwan coast. It used to be a mining town, for there was a very big gold mine nearby, when it ran out, the place became a ghost town. In the 90’s a movie director made about it, and people got nostalgic, and they rebuilt the place into a very nice tourist attraction. Coffee shop, or actually Tea shop, nice expensive restaurant with a great view, and a lot, but A LOT of gift shops.
I, of course, was a very good costumer and bought gifts at a few of them. Very nice and cheap Chinese toys. The whole town somewhat resembles “Rosh-pina”. Small vacation area, with narrow streets going uphill, and the other stuffs too. All that was missing from Rosh-pina were the local 60’s people you find in rosh pina, and the fact that there aren’t so many Chinese restaurants there.

We sat down at a nice place, outside on the balcony, with a view of the entire area. It’s too bad we only went there at night time, since the views are supposed to be more spectacular during daytime. Bob said we’ll go there again, when Lee is here. And Nelson also said he’d never been there (or so I understood) so it’s a good chance for him to come next time.
While sitting on the balcony a few local fired some firecrackers which I managed to successfully photograph, and also a red hot air balloon which they traditionally fly for good luck. You’ll write something on the balloon, and if flies high enough it will come true. Bob said that he used to fly those when he was a kid and they got up really high some time.
We drove back to Taipei and went to eat some “Congi” or “Konjee”, not sure how to write it correctly. It’s basically the same thing to Chinese as Humos is for us. It’s what they eat after going out, in those places that are open 24 hours. It actually was considered breakfast once, but now you eat it at 1 am. That’s when we ate it. It’s basically a rice porridge, very tasteless, but you get many side dishes with a strong taste that counters that. And you eat them together and it’s very nice.

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