Week One: Sights and Sounds
Longshan Temple – Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial – A Parade – A Concert
Taipei has numerous temples open to locals and visitors alike. Unlike some historical sights that are strictly museum spaces, these temples are still functioning. On a Sunday afternoon I take the MRT train to the Longshan Temple stop. I hear that between 4 and 5 pm the temples in Taipei are packed with people chanting prayers and burning incense. I snuck a couple of photos but held back after a while so as not to look even more obvious than I already am.
Incense and candle burners. Another interesting part of the temples were the large wooden tables holding offerings from temple-goers. Everything from a small bowl of rice to a bottle of Taiwanese Energy Drink were left.
Longshan Temple entrance
Waterfall right outside of the open-air temple. If the prayer chants weren’t soothing enough, the falling water will surely suffice.
Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall, theater building
Chiang Kai-shek memorial park and pond (notice actual memorial in the background)
The actual memorial
Outside of the Longshan Temple I literally stumbled upon this massive parade for the Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP One moment you are walking down a street lined with food vendors and people selling knock off Reeboks, and all of a sudden, a mob of people wearing green and white. There were people blowing horns, trucks with musicians, and lots of flag waving. Nice Sunday if you ask me.
Video of the parade
After the parade I made my way over to the 2-28 Memorial Park, one of the nicer parks in the city that I’ve discovered. The park has its own museum, pond, temple shrine and outdoor ampitheater. Sunday evening I stumbled upon a “Rock Fever Festival” concert with various local bands. The first I saw was a Taiwanese hip-hop/metal quartet that was actually pretty decent, albeit a bit loud, especially considering the audience was made up of older mahjong players and small children. The bass player was actually very talented.
This group was either billed as Decay Paradise or Attila. Difficult to say really.
Content with the heavier group I decided to stay for the follow-up act, which, judging from the acoustic guitar and saxophone, promised to be some lighter fare. I was not expecting what happened next. Turns out Taipei has its own Dave Matthew, as the poster billed the group. A Taiwanese Dave Matthews Band, cover band. Who knew! It’s been a while since I seriously sat down and listened to good old DMB but these guys reminded me that “Jimi Thing” is a pretty decent tune. I stayed for the start of their next song, “#41” but had to leave early to go meet some friends for dinner. Bizarro world.