November 06, 2013

A walk in the park - Three parks in one, in Taichung

A Day in the People's Park in Taichung

Pictures from a wonderful afternoon out in and around People's Park in Taichung. Unfortunately I missed the people I was hoping to meet in the park because I came late after a session to the hairdresser – I looked like a troll and HAD to get something done – but I never the less had a great time, just me and my camera. And a lot of people around me...

Practicing one last time before going on stage
When you come down Taichung Port road (台中港路 - Taizhong Gang Lu, where "Lu" means road), one of the central roads of Taichung you will see a big shopping mall; SOGO. It's written with big red letters and you can't really miss it; And also, it is one of the few things that are pronounced the same way in most languages, with a hard "G" in the middle, so it's easy to take the bus there; Just tell the driver SOGO and he will know it.

Anyhow, behind SOGO there is a wonderful little park that eventually leads towards the Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. This is the first park in a row of at least three parks somewhat connected, the last in the row of three being the Public Outdoor Sculpture Park, or 勤美綠園道 - Qín měi lǜ yuán dào (the word yuan by the way indicates that it is a park or a planted area, a very good character to recognise).


The first park always hosted some interesting event when I was there over the weekend; A little market, an exhibition showing the specialities of different areas in Taichung, the Taichung Jazz Festival (see link) in October (a yearly event, and one of the biggest jazz festivals in Asia, apparently! Unfortunately not very well advertised but that is a whole different discussion), the list is long. And this time it was apparently dance that was on the agenda; Wonderful to watch the different styles, from the western dances, to the belly dancing and the tango.

On the way on or off stage
From the first park I moved on to what is called "the People's Park". If that is the official name or not I have not been able to find out, nor why it is called the way it is or what the Chinese name is; It is unfortunately very difficult to find detailed information on anything here in Taichung, or in Taiwan in general; But again, that is a different discussion. The People's Park is regardless if I have the correct name or not a great park just like the park next to it - just with a different atmosphere, it is more relaxed than the first park – it really IS a park for the people. This is where locals gather over the weekend, some bringing picnics, many with their children, their friends, and ball games, kites, soap bubbles or whatever takes your fancy. It is a very relaxed and happy atmosphere, and it is also a great place to go to hear Chinese spoken (as well as other languages) and to interact with locals in the park. I like to come down here and just people watch but some day I will bring my paints and my brushes as well.

I created a little map for you here, click on the link if you want to see where the parks are!

Children playing in People's Park
This time I brought my camera and got some nice pictures, the curious children and their parents coming up and talking to me – well, the little children more observing me and my camera with their big eyes, and posing for the camera. It's all quite magical, when you make that special connection. This is such a wonderful spot to really get a glimpse into Taiwanese life, if you just take in the moment and listen and observe what is going on around you... And the more time you spend down in the park, the more people relax and the more you can see and learn from them.

Because life IS a walk in the park...





About romanisation

By the way: Don't worry about me writing "Taichung" in English and then all of a sudden changing to Taizhong. Taizhong is the "proper" pinyin for it and Taichung is how they chose to write it with the romanisation they most of the time do in Taiwan. It is confusing, I know, but there is really not much we can do about it, just make sure you are aware of it. 

Do not try and use pinyin if you are getting the address in another type of romanisation, stick to the way it was written; Chances are that the local people you need to ask about the way won't know pinyin but only the other romanisation. And try and learn Chinese characters as soon as possible, at least for the places you want to go! Because the Chinese characters is the only road description you can be really sure of - and trust me, that's the case even if you use Google Maps. 

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