There is something unique and special about wandering around XinYi District in Taipei, Taiwan. It a prime example of east and west colliding. Famous western brandnames dominate department stores and new, modern architecture has a prominent presence in the district’s skyline.
It is a perfect example of the old meeting and embracing the new.
But Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall represents a more modest, traditional feel with a more historical significance. It may not tower over the district but it has relevance, both architecturally as well as historically.
One day, in early May, I had the opportunity to wander the grounds of Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall on a cool, slightly overcast weekday. The weather was perfect: a cool, gentle breeze blew and the humidity was rather low.
As I made my way from the Taipei 101 area, I passed some sculptures which I immediately recognized to be the work of renound local artist, Ju Ming. The life-size, faceless sculptures had a unique flare of color as most of his earlier work is known for its gray, stone-like color tones.
Continuing a little further, I soon strolled upon the entrance to the grounds surrounding Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall.
The fountain show, located in front of the hall, was in full swing when I arrived. Water shot up and danced in the morning light, creating all sorts of formations through its movement. The sound of the water spraying could be heard and the building served as the perfect backdrop for the show.
As the fountain water subsided to a dribble which indicated the end of the show, most tourists scrambled into the main hall for the upcoming changing of the guards which was scheduled to start at the top of the hour.
I lingered outside for awhile to admire beautiful, newly-planted gardens of flowers neatly positioned in front of the fountain and the building.
As it neared the top of the hour, I joined the others in the main hall who I immediately identified as tour groups from China because of their accent.
Once the previous guards marched away and the on-duty guards took their place on their respective platforms, all the tourists quickly scrambled out the door and were immediately led to their buses.
The place, which was filled with camera-clicking tourists minutes ago, became peaceful and serene once again.
And I took the opportunity to explore the beautiful, now deserted grounds and photograph at my own pace.
I could see Taipei 101 standing proud in the distance and I realized that this was the perfect area to silently document, through pictures, Taiwan’s past, present, and future.
I also realized that you can see examples of traditional and modern not only in the architecture but also the people.
Woman, wearing traditional straw hats, worked at perfecting the flower gardens while office workers scrambled past the area with the designer label clothes and bags. Betel nut chewing bus drivers commanded attention and road space as they honked their horns at the drivers of fancy Mercedes Benz and BMWs. A crowded McDonalds packed with Taiwan’s youth could be seen dining on burgers and fries while older Taiwanese opted to dine at a nearby stand serving rice, veggies, and other traditional Taiwanese dishes.
And my thoughts then lingered to how much I have changed since I moved to Taiwan. But I will leave that for another blog post……
5 months blogging today!! 🙂