May 05, 2014

Spend Your Time Wisely - spend it around good people

Parc de Bastions, Geneva, Switzerland
In Gothenburg, Sweden they are in the basement of the central library.

In Geneva they hang in the park, and the chessboards are big and part of the pavement – and unlike in the library, there is no silence, but a constant chatter of voices, there is continuously a sound of people chit chatting, the bystanders commenting on the games, the sound of children playing in the park nearby, and occasionally you may hear the players themselves comment on the game as well.

Just like in the library you are not allowed to touch your pieces unless you are actually moving it, but unlike the library, you do touch the board. You have to. Your only way to reach the chess pieces is to walk on the board, and the pieces will reach to you the knees or higher. Because in the park you don't sit at a table.

They play in Indonesia too
I don't play chess. I wish I did, but I don't. The wonderful, strategic game with rules that are easy to remember but takes a lifetime to master. Chess, pretty much like life itself, full of hidden challenges and unexpected happenings. I love how chess is strategic, forces you to think in many levels and to think ahead. Thinking ahead I can, but I never seem to be able to take the time to do what I need to do to get better – prepare. Practice practice practice. Learn the theory. Without the theory you lose too much time in the beginning and when it is time for the end game you are already behind. Like life itself.

Chess intrigues me.

Wherever I go in the world I try and catch up with the locals - by the chess board is a good place. 

Taiwanese playing Chinese chess
In Taiwan, the popular game is not chess the way we know it, but another type, Chinese chess. I don't play that either, but I am equally fascinated. Chinese chess is often played in the parks surrounding the temples, and if there is anything I recommend, it is for you to take the time and watch the players and the game, it is hypnotic. Take your time, listen and observe what's going on. Don't just run through Taiwan, whether as a tourist or if you are working, take your time and really see, really feel what the locals are doing – and by all means, do the same in your own home town, something I have to admit I am guilty of missing often enough, I am so busy travelling that I forget to also experience and live what's around me, what's happening around the corner from where I am.

And that's maybe where the real life is.

In Geneva, Parc de Bastions is where I like to hang out (clicking the link will take you to the Tourist Information for Geneva.

In Taiwan you can find the players in just about any park surrounding a temple.

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