Saturday, December 13, 2008

Taichung and Taipei in a Day

The weekend started amidst the crowded shops of I Chung Street, the hopping place in Taichung where young people go to see and be seen. All my students regularly bought their clothes there.

A clothing vendor tries to entice the crowd.

Food vendors make a sale.

Can there be true nightlife without vendors?

A hair salon overlooks the street.

Resting between snacks.

I went from the crowded street to the empty stadium to watch two of Taiwan's finest high school baseball teams go head to head. A defensive duel resulted in a 2-0 victory for the team from Taipei county.

In the crowd were scouts from several major league teams watching the hot prospects put on a show.

The next day I rose bright and early to go to Taipei to listen to Mike Fonte, Enoch Chang, and a couple of the Wild Strawberries speak. Mike Fonte has been working in Washington on behalf of Taiwan for many years, and is a Fonte of information on things inside the Beltway. He set my head straight on a number of things (more on that in my report on the meeting tomorrow). Here Mike (right) consults with Jerome Keating.

Enoch Chang, of the Formosa Foundation, which helps train public advocates. Handsome and well-spoken, Chang is an excellent example of Taiwanese-Americans who constitute an important voice for the island in the US. He spoke briefly on the younger generation in the US and Taiwan, and Taiwan politics.

After the talk David Reid of David on Formosa fame and I headed over to the TwiceNamed Memorial to visit the Strawberries and soak up the Saturday afternoon atmosphere of families and protests. Today the square was a little microcosm of Taiwanese life that offered everything from wedding photography to undercover security personnel to protesters to a festival. All it was lacking were small factories and betel nut girls.

In the middle of a protest the Chairman of the DPP, Tsai Ing-wen appeared. We caught the tail end of her appearance.


Apparently some of the unions were out protesting.

Tsai stopped to talk with some of the onlookers, shake hands, and exchange warm fuzzies with supporters.

She walked right past me.

The protesters marched off.

The Wild Strawberries have returned to the square. The police have permitted them to remain but will not permit them to erect tents or other structures.

The young woman on the right spoke at the meeting in the morning.

Also there were the Tibetans.

And of course, beyond the drama, everyday life went on in all its gaudy, noisy rhythm.

Public space is well-used in Taiwan.

In case the clamor was not diverse enough, these musicians showed up.

A festival was being held, and a number of charities and businesses set up booths.

A common scene in Taiwan: a vendor working a crowd.

Everything imaginable was being sold...

.....Including Revlon.

This being a large beautiful open space, everyone was busying taking pictures.

Wedding photos, a tradition.

Stopping for a look at the photos.

In the metro a busker played.... the HSR station a cosplayer posed....

...while in the bowels of the TRA the train waited to take me home.


Fili said...

Perfect ^_^

How do you ever catch all those great photo moments (Cosplay at the HSR?! :O)

David said...

Some wonderful photos here. Freedom Square that afternoon really was a microcosm of Taiwanese life.

Dalbanese said...

This was a fun piece and captured quite well the feel of a Taipei afternoon! On my short list of occasional complaints about Taiwan, the general acceptance of noise pollution is one of them; however, it always makes my heart feel good to see public space so well used and everyone else so lively :)