Talking about life and travels in Taiwan, hoping to help people who want to visit Taiwan, and encourage those who haven't came yet to pay a visit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Towns and villiages: Sansia(三峽)

Last week my friend Tomoko and I visited Sansia. It was the second time to be there, and the experience was as well as the first time.

Sansia is an old town located in Taipei county, centries ago,it was once a prosperous town producing dyed cloth. I'm not going to go on with the whole history, people could check out the Sansia township website, it has some brief introdution about the town, in English too.

I remember my last time here, it was "zhong yuan jie"(中元節), the festival in the middle of the ghost month. There were ceremonies arround the temples, we could see some really fun stuff going on, like people worshiping the gods, and preparing food for the ghosts' visit. But the main streets were still under construction, we didn't have the chance to have a glance of the old ages. This time, the construction was done, the houses showed their faces, what I call "Japanese-Baroque" style.

But this time we didn't spend a lot of time in the most renowned place in Sansia: The Sansia Qingshui Zushi Temple. I heard about artworks and music compositions about this great temple, all the carvings and paintings inside the temple has a story behind, I remember reading a book about the temple, and it was just writing out what stories the crafts are talking about. It is a beautiful temple, definitely worthwhile for someone that is interested in it, but probably not easy for others to understand. But that's ok, there's no reason not to visit a beautiful temple.

Walking down the Sansia old street, it's hard to not notice the people playing the whirling top. Obviously this kind of traditional sport is quite popular here, people play in magnificent skills, they could make the top to spin on Coke bottles, strings, very small surfaces, and all sorts of stuff. I can't even make it spin. People seem to play for fun, they don't have a jar to throw coins in or something to earn money, maybe they think it's just cool to show-off in front of tourists.

Of course there was plenty of eating (Come on, we're in Taiwan...), also some traditional shops to see, I even saw some old fashion grocery stores, which I haven't seen for a long time. As I grew up, 7-11 gradually took place, and most grocery stores disappeared before I noticed. It was an interesting day to see everything so old fashioned, and Tomoko told me Sansia was her favorite place we went together.

Thanks for the pictures from Tomoko.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Clubs and pubs in Taipei

Taipei has a selection of clubs and pubs, some are not bad at all.

Personally I enjoy pubs with live music, Zee(主婦之店) is where you go out and enjoy the typical old cheesy Mandarin love songs, mostly it's full of older people, but that doesn't mean the music doesn't appeal to youngsters. They have 3 shows everynight starting from 9.45 pm, and goes on to 0.30 am. The singers have a good interaction with the audience, and most of them take song requests.

Riverside(河岸留言) is my favorite, all the best independance bands you can count of have once played here. Monday night is the "Open Jam" Night, whoever wants to preform on stage can go up and give it a try. Perhaps because of it's location, which is just next to the National Taiwan University, the place is often filled up with students and shares a young atmosphere.

When I feel like having a Jazzy night, there's always Brown Sugar, though it's often jam packed on friday night, and I would have to either make a reservation or stand through the night.

With Riverside being packed, I've been to Oldie Goodie twice on Saturday night, it's like an old friend, they might not specialize in a certain type, sometimes old English folk songs, sometimes Latin music, mixed with some Taiwanese pop songs, sometimes songs writen by themselves.

Then it's a personal secret, friday night 9 pm, Outdoor Cafe at YungHe, the young singer 蕭煌奇 sings there. He's a talented young man, being physically blind does not block the vision of his heart, nor does it stop his passion on music. I would go there, find a seat and have a coffee (which is really cheap), listen and take requests, and go over have a chat with him after the show ends. He could only sing songs that he have memorized before, but he sings the funniest happy birthday song if you ask him to. He also sings his own work.

I don't know a lot about dance clubs, the only one I've been to in Taipei is 9% and besides the all-you-can-drink, it doesn't really impress me. If party animals would like to join me, I'd like to explore Luxy, Room 18, MOS....these are the famous places where everyone knows.

Carnegies is popular among the foriegn society among Taipei, I don't really get what's so special about it, maybe it's because I was never there on weekends.

I watched my world cups at Brass Monkey, it's a cool sports bar and also the place to see football (so called soccer) which is usually not that popular in Taiwan. Otherwise Tavern is the place to go when I want to watch certain sports, they have more than 40 satelite TVs and lots of channels, I love their onion rings.

Picture from Tomoko, at Riverside, with the band 四分衛.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Blog refine

Wanted to modify the blog to make it easier to use, and was working a lot on htmls and tags. After some study, I found that after some hard work, it is possible to refine my blog into the way I want. I would like to work on that, since I'll soon have a week of holiday to do that. But then I found the maintainence would also be hard work. So I decide to leave the blog how the way it is for now, stop changing the codes, and do some more investigation before I use my own code.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Taiwan in other languages

Besides of English, you could find paragraphs and websites about Taiwan. I'll try to collect the ones I know and put it in this post, some are just from friends' blogs. If you have any website that is not in Engish nor in Chinese and you'd like to recommend it, please leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.

Deutsch (German):
Reisecast (podcast)
Deutsches Institut Taipei
Deutsche Kulturzentrum Taipei
Leben im roten Bereich

Nederlands (Dutch):
Liefde en eenzaamheid in Taiwan

Français (French):