Saturday, May 22, 2010

Zonghong, the helpful and informative hike leader

Yesterday, I joined a hiking group led by Zonghong on a hike across Yangmingshan's Fish Road Historic Trail. We started at Huang Creek on the Jinshan side and walked up to Cingtiangang before going onto Jyuansi Waterfall. The weather was great and it was sunny when we got to the highest point of the hike.

The striking Zong Hong has a facebook page for hiking. He leads different hikes and it's free to join (it was yesterday anyway). Zong Hong told me some of the background of the walk we were on. The Fish Road Historic Trail developed during the Qing times to transport 'salty' fish to Taipei. It was the cheapest way of getting fish from Jinshan to the Taipei. The Qing route is very direct, straight up the mountain. Later, the Japanese build another trail following the Qing route but as it for horses, this route zigzags up the hill.

Jeff, a hiker who hiked the whole trail with us yesterday. And he also handed out some nice sushi

Jeff, Longda and Ivy were also on the hike. They walked the whole route. The original route was just up to Cingtiangang, where many of the other people on the hike left.

Longda was on the hike yesterday.

Ivy was on the hike yesterday. Thanks for the chocolate cookies

Sam, is not a stranger but he wanted to get his photo taken.

Sam is not a stranger. He's a hero. This Chinese New Year, when me and my girlfriend couldn't find a hotel in Tainan, Sam came to the rescue. He drove us round for about an hour, until we found a hotel and then he took us out for dinner and paid. That's the Taiwanese for you - great hospitality.

Sheila, the English Tour Guide at Zhongshan Building (presidential palace). She gave us an enjoyable tour of this fascinating and surprising place

Sheila is an English Guide at the Zhongshan Building, a kind of presidential palace in Yangmingshan. Zhongshan is incredible because it is built over a sulphur vent. The 1,100 meeting hall has a sulphur vent between the stage and the seating. Originally pipes were build so that the sulphur could escape but overtime these got blocked up. That means, the floor is now being pushed up by the sulphur and is very uneven. A highlight for me, was sitting on the presidential seat, I felt rather important when I did that. Zhongshan Building is on the back of the $100NT bill. It's definitely worth a visit.

Lukas, we joined him on the Zhongshan building tour. It was great meeting someone from Europe and catching up with the situation there.

Lukas, a software engineer from Poland, was also on the tour of Zhongshan. He has been in Taiwan for about three weeks working on software for headphones. He had been working most of the time and was spending his last day in Taiwan doing some tourist things. He was looking forward to an evening at Shilin Night Market. He was wearing a strange contraption on his finger as he had a snowboarding from last winter.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

18th May Shoot

Raven and Basel looking cool and relax.

It was a hot one yesterday!!

Taipei was roasting but the people were still chilled. Yesterday was significant in that I passed the 50 mark. I'm now up to 54 strangers. I also learned some more Chinese and more about the culture in Taiwan.

Raven and Basel are friends. We talked about how Taiwanese people choose crazy English names. Raven said many people loved to choose names after animals or things they like. Raven's English was good, just as well as he didn't understand my Chinese. Basel works in the shop behind him on the picture.

Jeffery and Sonar out with their bikes. Jeffery was the 50th stranger of the project.

Jeffery is number 50! He's a very lucky guy and I'm sure being number 50 will change his life. Anyway, he and his girlfriend his 'girlfriend' Sonar (Sonja?) were walking their bikes when I met them. They seemed to be enjoying their time and were very relaxed when I took their photo.

Eric outside Family Mart

Then I met Eric, outside a Family Mart. I really confused him with my Chinese but in the end he understood what I was asking for. I'll have to review my Chinese for explaining this project.

Eric and Paint helping out for a day at the blood donor place.

Eric and Paint were the last two people I met yesterday. They were volunteering with 'give blood - Taiwan.' They were holding signs and encouraging people to donate blood. I talked with them for a while. Paint, named by his wife because he likes to draw/paint, was there with his wife and daughter, Susu. His daughter, three, is very cute. Paint, gave me some metal chopsticks to use when I eat in a restaurant. Thanks, protecting my health and the environment. Paint told me there's a movie out on this subject - does anyone know what it is called? Eric normally works at AIG (does Paint work at AIG too?), an insurance company. We talked quite a bit as his English is good and he helped explain about the 'chopstick movie.'

So ends another day in Taipei. Thanks everyone for your help.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 15th Photo and first Video

Taking on the world in a Roman Costume. Wei Xin handing out leaflets.

Good Morning Taiwan

Just a quick one today. I met 'Wei Xin'(Is this right?) outside the new place for the computer market. He was wearing a Roman costume and it reminded me of the time I was a Roman with HBO. So I can't resist asking for a photo.

Also, after a year of having a video camera, I've managed to produce my first video of the group Roxymorons.

"My first Video Roxymorons

For more on the Roxymorons,here's their Facebook page

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12th Shoot

Chelsea was very chatty and curious. She made my day when she said that I was an artist

Hello Everyone

It was windy in Taipei City yesterday. I like it this way. Yesterday, I met five new strangers around Taipei 101 and Warner Village areas.

Chelsea was waiting for a taxi. She makes clothes for TV stars and was going to return some clothes back to the TV company. She lived in Cambridge for a year so we spoke in English. Chelsea was great to talk with and she asked lots of questions. One was 'How do you choose who to take photos, do you choose happy people or sad one etc?'

First, I look whether someone is busy or not. It's surprising how much people use mobile phones when you look! Happy or sad? I think in general I go towards happier people, simply because I feel they are more likely to say yes and also if someone is very sad, I don't think I'd know what to say to them, especially if I'm going to say that in Chinese.

Sometimes it's good to break the rules!! Taking sweets of a stranger is one of them, but only if they're sugar free. This is Julia, working as a Wrigley's promoter

Julia is promoting Wrigley's chewing gum. She was near the graffiti-ed 'Statue of Liberty' if you want some. They've set up a Wrigley's Bar, so you can sit down in comfort and chew, instead of chewing on the go.

Louise is a fellow photographer. She also has a blog, so I'm looking forward to seeing that. I'm curious what type of pictures she takes.

Louise is a fellow photographer and she was out in full force yesterday, including a tripod. I saw her later taking a photo of an 'advert', I think. Louise has a blog too.

Cindy has excellent English. She was very casual and just let me take some pictures.

Cindy had obviously shopped a lot yesterday and was taking a rest. Her English was perfect because she had lived in the States for a few years. She was very relaxed and didn't take much notice of the camera.

Grass was very much a happy chap. He made a joke about this name but I didn't get it, sorry Grass

Grass was fun to talk to. He laughed a lot and when he wasn't laughing he smiled. He made some joke about his name but I really didn't get it.

Yesterday was a short day on the streets of Taipei. I hope to get out there again today or tomorrow to meet some more 'strangers.'

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4th Photos of 'Strangers'

Bob and Fion looking glamorous in a familiar Taipei setting, boy n girl n bike

Hello Taipei!!!

Summer has started and it's hot again, and will be for the next six months. Yesterday, I went around a new area, the area between Fuxing and Dunhua Road, with Zhongxiao to the south.

Bob and Fion were naturals in front of the camera, like models they changed their pose at will but seconds before I talked to them was an even better photo. They looked like something out of 'Rebel without a Cause' - young, glamorous, wild and confident.

George outside his designer clothes shop. George's English is really smooth and it was a pleasure talking to him

George designs clothes and owns a shop as well. He's friendly and enthusiastic, and he took me to his shop Havoc (Daan road, section one, 51 alley, no 39). The clothes have style and look wearable, the type of thing that will get you notice without you being overly conscientious. George told me that his shop doubles as an office and much of the business he does is in exports to Japan, 'China' and Europe.

George was also the first person to say that he'll put me on his blog. So a photo of me and George will be appear here very soon. Thanks George!!

Green was really surprised I asked her for her photo. I don't know why? Anyway, like the hat says - she was. Thank you

Green was to going to a shop when I stopped her. She was very surprised that I wanted her photo.

This is me, Jhang Shu Mei and Pao .... .... They insisted on getting one of me with the Buddha 'Child' in the background

Jhang Shu Mei, Pao ... ... (to be translated), and Shu Hui Lee were manning a truck with a child Buddha on it. Shu Hui Lee told me that by tipping water over the left side of the Buddha, then the right and then the left again, it will help clean my 'soul'. They are all part of a Buddhist organisation (BLIA ?), which is having a series of events until the 9th May, around Sogo on Zhongxiao Dong Road and Fuxing Nan Road (section 1).

They were very cheerful and it was fun learning about how to clean my soul. Though I'm not sure whether I should have 'prayed' at the same time.

Shui Hui Lee, Pao ... ... and Jhang Shu Mei. Shui Hui Lee is pouring water over Buddha

Wang, Ko Wei and Woan, Ze Iunn, Wang, Ko Wei looks very cheeky in this picture. Perhaps it's because he's a photographer too and doesn't like to be in front of the camera. Great Smile Woan, Ze Iunn!!!

I met Wang, Ko Wei and Woan, Ze Iunn on the way home. Wang, Ko Wei was very funny as he didn't look relax at first and then he look away from the camera, like a naughty boy with a private joke. He had a camera, so I think he prefers to take pictures - What's the camera Wang, Ko Wei? Woan, Ze Iunn was a great model with a superstar smile.

Hugo and Flower were relaxing in the back streets. Hugo's very confident and I think this comes across in his picture. I think Flower prefers her Chinese name

Hugo and Flower were the last stangers of the day. They asked whether I wanted English or Chinese names. I feel that Chinese names would be better but I'm finding it difficult to know how to write them. So I asked for English names, which I think Flower felt sad about.

Thanks again to everyone.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Roxymorons - They're no strangers!!

The Roxymorons - Infight

Today's post isn't about strangers that I've met on the street. It's about the Roxymorons, a punk that will be playing all over Taipei very soon. I did some pictures with them recently. They are loud and fun, so go and see them, they really rock!!!


They're band of three, Ben and John are from the UK and Dan is from everywhere. I'll be going to see them this Wednesday. Here's their facebook link.

Ben the bass player, playing drums

To hear them go to their myspace page. Though at the moment, you might have to wait a couple of minutes before the sounds comes through.

The Roxymoron's - Self Defeating

They are playing Wed 5th May at Underworld, details;
◎地址:台北市師大路45號B1 ◎電話:(02) 2369 0103 ◎營業時間:周五六9pm~5am;周日~四9pm-4am;周一公休◎address: shi-da road, no.45, b1, taipei, TAIWAN ◎phone:(02) 2369 0103 ◎hours: weekends 9pm~5am; weekdays 9pm~4am; mondays off◎established since 1996

So maybe I'll see you there.