Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村) June 29, 2014

Four years ago a co-worker introduced me to Pinterest. While I appreciated its usefulness, I procrastinated jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon for fear it would become another social media fad. Fast forward several years and I found myself in a position at work that required a considerable amount of planning and it appeared I just could not procrastinate jumping on the bandwagon any longer. I have to say that the decision to join Pinterest has been one of the best decisions of my life. Whether I need ideas for planning parties, new hairstyles, resources for work, or travel destinations, Pinterest always has my back. I cannot count the number of times I have consulted Pinterest since being in Taiwan. I know it sounds a little bit dramatic - and maybe it is, but I seriously don't know how I managed to do anything before Pinterest! 
One of the things that Pinterest has done for me is drastically change my travel style. Previously I took more of a backseat when it came to planning trips and had more of an "I'm along for the ride attitude." However several months prior to moving to Taiwan I created a Taiwan sightseeing Pinterest board which has altered the way I plan vacations. Here are a few examples of some sightseeing I want to do or have already done in Taiwan:

Pinterest has not only allowed me to research the significance of the locations I am visiting but has also allowed me to find touristy spots that are off the beaten path. Anybody who knows me knows that I often get bored seeing similar sights over a long period of time, so while I love visiting Chinese temples (I find the religious aspect fascinating and the craftsmanship is so intricate) I have been drawn to less traditional sightseeing locations - like the Rainbow Village. 

The Rainbow Village is a little bit of a commute outside of the city and the village itself is rather small, but the backstory totally made the trip worth it and I even got to meet the 92 year old grandpa who painted it!

Here is the story (sorry half of it's in red I can't figure out how to change it).

In the outskirts of Taichung 臺中(pronounced tie-jung) there is a small  village of 3 or 4 houses. Built in the 1940's as housing for Nationalist soldiers, these houses were eventually given to war veterans in gratitude for their service. Several years ago they were slated to be demolished and replaced with trendier high rises. However there was something about this village which made it special - this village had a resident named Mr. Wong, a KMT veteran of the Chinese Civil War (1945-1949). 
During his free time Mr. Wong (or affectionately known to the public as Rainbow Grandpa - Grandpa Huang - 彩虹爺爺 - or Huang Yung-Fu) would graffiti the walls of the village with paint he purchased with his government pension. Eventually every door, wall, and inch of ground was covered with vibrant colors and cartoonesque aboriginal paintings. Because of Grandpa Huang's efforts the government has shifted their urban renewal plan to preserve this "whimsical world" that was brought to life by the passion of a 92 year old man.
Ironman insisted on taking this picture. #gottalovetaiwan
I thought this was interesting: tucked in the back corner was evidence that the village was still used as housing for retired military. 

And finally here is the group at the entrance to the Rainbow Village.

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