Visiting Taiwan, Part 2: Heat
After typhoon Mangkhut had passed and had taken the rain and wind with it, the thermometer climbed to 35 °C and above in Taipei. That didn’t stop me and our colleagues at local distributor Hammer Trading from exploring Taiwan’s cities, mountains, and kitchens!
Hot Hiking: The Next Trend After Hot Yoga?
These days, I often complain that I don’t find the time—or energy—to exercise at all. That’s why I took our colleague Kyan’s offer to hike up Gold Side Mountain (JinMian Shan in Taiwanese) near Taipei for a city view from above. To my exercise-deprived body, this sounded like a great alternative to taking an elevator up the Taipei 101 skyscraper.
But I got more than I bargained for. While Kyan, Ian, and I were making our way to the starting point of our hike in the north of Taipei, the thermometer climbed to 38 °C. But a plan is a plan, and a tropical hike definitely creates more lasting memories than an elevator ride. The view from JinMian Shan is really spectacular and definitely worth the short (but intense) hike!
While Ian was still going strong, Kyan and I already felt the first signs of fatigue on the way down, but we needed to get back to the city for the weekly badminton night of our local distributor Hammer Trading! Badminton is very popular in Taiwan and some of the people at Hammer have become very good at it by playing each other every week at a sports center not far from the office.
After exhausting our last remaining energy at badminton, Kyan, Ian, and I recharged our batteries at a «spicy hotpot» restaurant. Spicy hotpot is a Japanese-inspired Taiwanese specialty and may be my favorite Taiwanese food—because you can choose whatever food you feel like from the huge menu and just dump it into the boiling hotpot at your table.
Taichung Rainbow Village: Colorful Activism
The second largest city of Taiwan, Taichung, is about 150 kilometers from Taipei and is home to a an amazing place, so colorful it almost seems surreal: the Rainbow Village. The Rainbow Village consists of 11 houses that are painted in bright colors, on streets that are just as colorful. The paintings are the work of a single man who wanted to save his settlement from demolition. This man is Huang Yung-fu, a 96-year-old veteran who is also known as «Rainbow Grandpa».
When the government decided to knock the old houses down, his neighbors left the settlement. But Huang Yung-fu stayed in his house. Being the only one left, he got bored and started painting. At first it was only a bird in his living room, but the painting started spreading further and further until it covered the houses and streets of what is known as the Rainbow Village today.
Local university students discovered Huang’s work and started a campaign to save the Rainbow Village. Today, it’s a popular spot for visitors from Taiwan and from abroad. And the Rainbow Village never stays the same for long: Huang still paints over the houses and streets of the Rainbow Village with new motifs whenever he has time.