I had the opportunity a few years ago to work at a school in close proximity to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (also known as CKS Memorial Hall). It was a kindergarten job which meant long lunch breaks and ample time to leisurely wander around and explore the area in detail!
I remember frequently grabbing a drink of fresh fruit juice from a nearby drink stand and making my way towards on the large, creatively designed entrance gates. The large arches made for one huge dramatic statement and impact! What a grand entrance!!
As I walked through one of the gates, I would immediately find myself drawn to the welcoming shelter provided by the shaded pathway that ran along the outer walls of the compound. I walked in the shade many days while enjoying a seat from time to time on one of the many benches evenly placed with the confines of the walls. And many days I would reminisce about the times when CKS Memorial Hall once served as a reminder, as a indicator of where I was in the big, huge bustling city of Taipei.
It was also a treat to watch the several groups ‘doing their thing.’ Several groups, wearing the same color shirt to emphasize unity, practiced Tai Chi at different times of the day, high school students used the area practice and perfect their dance routines, and several older Taiwanese challenged one another to a friendly game of Chinese chess to pass away the time. No matter how old or young, each group always greeted me with a welcome smile and sometimes a verbal invitation to join them.
I truly enjoyed strolling around the grounds and observing the architecture of the hall from several vantage points. It was always easy to escape the fast pace of the city and enjoy the peaceful oasis among the tall green trees completing for space within the concrete skyline. The mid-day absence of the tour groups with their snapping cameras and other digital technology made for the perfect lunch time escape from reality to recharge the batteries even if it was just for a little while!
The view from the top of the hall’s staircase overlooking the grounds was also an amazing sight that I truly enjoyed. The traditional shaped structures of the National Concert Hall and National Theater on each side, the neatly arranged and beautifully designed colorful mosaic of flowers between the two structures, the Taiwanese flag blowing in the center, and the large presence of the main gate made for one pretty spectacular sight (and site)!!
During early spring I would enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms blooming. Their pretty shades of pink would make my day a little brighter and happier.
And sometimes I would stroll the grounds after work and enjoy the soft glow of the lighting of the grounds at dusk.
And if I was really lucky, I sometimes witnessed the changing the guards and the flag lowering which signaled the closing the hall and the end of the day! The changing the guards is a magnificent sight and the museum on the ground level of the hall would surely interest history buffs.
Personally, I feel that there is something for everyone! I am not really one to quote about the ins and outs of history on my blog but several blogs and other internet sites discuss the history of Chiang Kai-Shek as a leader and CKS Memorial Hall in detail. Just do a google search. I am familiar with the history of the person and the place but the purpose of my blog is to discuss my life as an expat and my experiences living in Taiwan.
Have you ever been to CKS Memorial Hall? If so, did you have the opportunity to wander around the grounds?
And some GREAT NEWS!!!…
I was totally surprised but super excited to be contacted by a magazine who would like to include some of my pics in one of their upcoming issues!! EXCITING TIMES!! The first step in building my portfolio!!