Looking back to a previous spring, fragments in memory from arriving to Taipei. And waking to a calm Saturday morning in the area around Songshan Station.
That was a pleasant building, especially to a traveller looking for space to breath. However the architecture in the surrounding blocks varies.
All of it typical Taipei though.
The interior cannot be told from the facade; some of these flats will be renovated new-asian-all-pearly style and some will be basic and maybe with bug issues.
What doesn’t change throughout is the energy in all times of day and places, even empty streets. Or temple backyards getting ready for the day.
And impeccable alleys that become a maze of people, shouts, money and food a few hours later (aka Raohe night market).
Plaza of the national science museum, a gem from the ’90s.
The inner story of Athens.
Complete with official and unofficial meeting rooms…
… Cheesy decals.
Two years ago these days … this traveller was in the middle of her only massive cultural shock ever.
Landed on Tokyo to spend two months and overwhelmed by the amount and totality of design, beauty and purpose everywhere around; within a week I lost weight, got a bunch of white hair and wasn’t sleeping well; it took me days to simply start catching the subway and go sightseeing.
Don’t get this wrong: the feeling was ecstasy. The whole time. Continuously. I was under constant bombardment by high standards.
A few photos of the mind-blowing flat and view. It was warm and fuzzy, it had a bathroom unit and a kitchen unit, and the elevated metropolitan express highway was passing only a few meters from the third-floor balcony. (At nights I was feeling that some mythical golden river kept streaming by.)
Streams and beers at the heart of Leiden.
I remember a spring noon pondering about things big and small at Xiangde temple, perched in Taroko gorge…
Postcards from Leiden, the Netherlands.
I remember roaming through the vibrant, old, slightly mysterious Raohe night market for vietnamese sandwiches and medicinal herbs. And the usual late evening snack among families having dinner on tin stalls, gamblers, couples’ cute food on sticks and the constant shouting of a thousand sellers or so.
The equally vibrant, old and slightly mysterious Ciyou temple sits next to the start of Raohe street.
Going past the captivating facade on one lazy noon and to the back side. Unexpectedly smooth?
And, across the street, the wall separating Songshan neighborhood from Keelung river. Pass the gate and what do you find — an urban blue and green calmness punctuated by joggers, rowers, high bridges and a ferris wheel in the distance. Taipei both sides.
Flashbacks of basking in the weekend streets of Gung-dong. One of the many dense nightlife areas. All them being countless cafes, bbq’s, chicken places, karaoke and video rooms, arcades and cosmetics shops thrown together in the midst of old residential areas.
Outworldly new residential areas. But never too far away from the above-mentioned.
My visions of spring under way in the campus of KAIST polytechnic.
Read on for the many facets of this synthetic diamond…