Visiting Taichung was like traveling in time or entering a whole new dimension. They had so many interesting spaces that it left my heart dumbfounded. It may have been somewhat a obstacle to get here, but I am glad I added it to my Taiwan go-to list. It was sight to see. In millenial terms – it was instragram-worthy! haha.
If I were to summarize our trip to three key points, I would narrow it down to three things I admired about Taichung, that I wish to see more of in my own country:
I am a very visual person and I am drawn to pretty things; just as I fancy scrolling lovely images on the internet, I furthermore enjoy taking stunning photos and having a collection of my own. When I planned our visit to Taichung, I knew I needed access to beautiful architecture, one that was best displayed in Miyahara Formosa (宮原眼科) – an ice cream shop constructed inside a historical building.
It was once the largest opthalmology clinic in Taichung during the Japanese colonial period. Miyahara Takeo was an eye doctor back in 1927 and this red-brick dream of an assembly was his piece of work. The interiors were inspired by Hogwarts and indeed, stepping inside seemed like I was hurled inside a Harry Potter novel.
The old library charm was an excitement waiting to unravel as we explored the different treats it had to offer. There were three sections catering to different kinds of Taiwanese specialties ; there was an ice cream parlor, a souvenir shop and a tea salon. Although my family and I just indulged ourselves with their ice cream and Pineapple cakes, locally known as Dawncake (which were to die for, by the way). It was so good, I finished a box in two days hahaha. Oops.
The ice cream was also exquisite! I have not tasted anything like it back home. They had 16 flavors catering to chocolate alone! We savored a scoop of Venezuela 72% Floral & Fruity and I was carried away by its delectable goodness – it was creamy, smooth and moderately sweet. PERFECT. We did not opt for the larger than life ice cream serving for it was just too much for us to finish! We settled with just a scoop to taste.
The Zhongshe Flower Market magnified my desire to have wide open spaces in Manila. These days, we need to travel far and wide just for a glimpse of groves and parks. Though this expanse did not have trees, they showcased something better – various blooms in different shapes, sizes and colors. It was a beauty to behold. Why can’t we have flower parks in Manila? More so, why can’t we have less buildings and more public gardens? Just a thought.
Zhongshe Flower Market is also known as Houli Flower Farm or Chungshe Flower Garden; people flock here to see the flowers and have their photos taken with them. We saw a lot of Filipinos in this area! I think most of them were? The funniest thing was, they even had signs which read pasalubong in their souvenir shops HAHA and the shop owners were trying to reel us in for it. “Pasalubongs! come get your pasalubongs!”
Knack for creativity
Rainbow Village was desperation turned into a tourist destination. When I first heard the story of the place from our tour driver, I was in awe. The attraction area was the brainchild of Huang Yong-fu, the “Rainbow Grandpa”.
The year was 1949, after Chiang Kai-Shek’s Koumintang nationalist army was defeated during the Chinese Civil War, Chinese soldiers including Huang Yong Fu fled to Taiwan. They resided in military dependent’s villages that were eventually abandoned and left to decay over the course of time. In 1990, the government decided to abolish them, and in attempt to save the village, Rainbow Grandpa began painting the walls of his home and the surrounding buildings. He was the only inhabitant left in the human settlement; the only one trying to preserve what was left of the community.
Later, students from universities nearby discovered his artwork and began petitioning for the preservation of these 11 remaining houses. Fast-forward to today as the village caught local notability, it became one of Taiwan’s renowned local attractions!
We actually saw Rainbow Grandpa signing autographs and having his photo taken with the crowd. It was heartwarming (admirable even) to see how creativity saved a vicinity that was to be demolished. How far can art go? For this man, it was his life that depended on it and it saved him. Amazing.
Being surrounded with natural beauty and hearing all these inspiring stories was a fitting conclusions to an ending year. It was December 31 when we visited these places and we could not be more fulfilled. We left that place, happy and refreshed to begin again.
Happy New Year. (almost Chinese New Year!)