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Our Trip to Kaohsiung and Taipei

 

CLICK HERE TO GO DIRECTLY TO 2CD INSTALLMENT OF TRAVEL DIARY AND PICTURES FOR DEC 16, 17, 18

KAOHSIUNG TRIP  Dec 12, 2004 to Jan 6, 2005  As I can, I'll post accounts of the International Steel Sculpture Festival in southern Taiwan, as well as pictures Joy takes on the trip. Any comments or questions, write us at     haasjoel@gmail.com  

It's a trip of over 30 hours and 9800 miles.  Taiwan is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

We leave Raleigh on a 5:20 PM flight to NY City on American.  Then take China Air Flight 11 to Anchorage. Alaska.  In Anchorage, they gas the plane and change the crew (which is better than the reverse) and we then fly to Chiang Kei Shek Airport in Taipei.  There, we change planes for a 1 hour flight to the southern city of Kaohsiung, arriving at 9AM--and I have to be ready for a three hour press conference at noon!   There are to be ten sculptors at the festival, five from abroad, and five from Taiwan.  There seem to be a number of festivals and events going on along the renovated harbor front.  The organizers have put together a website

at http://www.khcc.gov.tw/metal/index.htm   

Checking on the weather in Taiwan, it is to be 23 C (about 76F) to 27C (84F) and 80-85% humidty (yikes!)

Anybody interested more in Taiwan, event, links, maps, the weather, the monkey festival, etc.

http://202.39.225.132/jsp/Eng/html/search/index.jsp

We are to stay at

Wen Pin Hotel (http://www.wenpin.com.tw)   (we are told, a five min walk from the sculpture festival site)

E-mail:wenpin.hotel@msa.hinet.net

Tel: +886 (0)7 5612346

Fax: +886 (0)7 5338007

Address:  No.22 Dah Yeong Road, Yan Cherng Chiu, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Taiwan Trip

 Dec 14, 2004

 

All has gone well.  All planes were on time, all of our bags arrived, we are in a nice hotel less than five minutes walk from the sculpture festival.

 

(So much has been going on, I can safely say I have left out huge hunks of important and interesting things that happened the first two days, so I will be adding those later as I go along and have time—though our hosts are being so kind with tours and meals, I will have a hard time finding time. I can only post a fraction of the many pictures Joy has taken.)

 

On the flight south from Taipei, we had a chance to see the island along its western coast.  The central mountain range, higher and more jagged than the Great Smokey Mountains,  were dark blue shadows swaddled in low white mist all the way down the island.  The coastal areas were a glistening mosaic of flooded fields, neatly divided and irrigated, resembling a huge, continuous stained glass church window beneath us.

 

But Kaohsiung means business, and that is readily apparent flying in over the harbor.  Dozens of ships ride at anchor in the roadstead awaiting their turn at the docks; a lace work of train tracks amid cranes and fuel tank farms covers the harbor shore.  As far as the eye can see, even from the airplane, there were new skyscrapers. 

Kaohsiung, like Raleigh-Durham, is an area of about 1.5 million people, but it reminds me more of Charlotte, a new and commercial city, that, like a successful self made business man, is now ready to learn about, and enjoy the finer things in life.

 

A few hours after arriving, there was a press conference and reception for the artists at the pier 2 site of the sculpture festival.  I was glad I had written up my remarks in advance since I was too jet lagged to think on my own entirely.  An outdoor buffet was set, there were folk dancers, and Melody Yeh, Ph. D.,  Director General of the Kaohsiung Bureau of Cultural Affairs gave a welcome speech.  She is a choreographer and dancer, so the arts have an artist as an advocate.

 

I was introduced at the press conference to Mr. Huang Chun Hsiung, President of the Kaohsiung Lions Club, and sponsor of my sculpture.  He has been tremendously gracious to me and Joy, sending around refreshments to the work tent and inviting us to a banquet he is having Dec 22.   He must stay very busy, for as best as I can determine from his business card, he manages aluminum manufacturing companies here and in Shanghai.

 

Here are some of the pictures taken from my work area on Pier 2.

 

(the view of Pier 2 from my work tents—the Love River is to the right)

 

(sculpture by local artists along Pier 2)

 

(right beside my tent—a customs inspection cutter—paddle wheeler tour boat in distance)

 

 

After our hosts had seen to it all were well fed, welcomed, and entertained, it was time for a trip to a local scrap yard.  One of the local sculptors, Professor Liang, had arranged a special trip for me and another sculptor, David Lee Thompson.  As soon as I could change into work boots and welding clothes, we set off with interpreters and a film crew from one of Taiwan’s leading independent film makers, Huang MingChuan, in tow.    

 

As a large port, there is a lot of work in marine salvage here, and there are hundreds of small shops in our neighborhood, most no larger than an American garage, each crammed with its own specialty of scrap or used equipment.  Passing them, it was hard to imagine there was anything left of the ships go to a scrap yard. 

 

The scrap yard itself, was much smaller than an American scrap yard, covering only about an acre, but otherwise, much the same.  One other difference, though.  This scrap yard was entirely paved with one inch thick steel plate to keep trucks from sinking into the mud, an unimaginable expense for an American scrap yard of dozens of acres or more.  We spent about an hour collecting useful (we hope) pieces of scrap and it was all loaded in a truck to be delivered to our work sites at Pier 2 the next day.

 

(note the women working with scarves, aprons and straw hats)

 

(this old gentleman sat all day with a small hammer and broke up cast iron bits into smaller bits)

 

(film maker Huang Mingchuan on left with his crew—note the steel plates on the ground)

 

(Joy loved this picture she took just outside the dock entry)

 

Back to the hotel and a change of clothes before we were whisked away by our charming and lovely guides/interpreters, Liya and Jodie, to HanShin Department store/hotel (about 44 floors high!) to one of the restaurants there.  There, a very large and fancy buffet was set up where Joy and I tried as many different Chinese dishes as we could.  David Thompson and the Japanese sculptor, Satoru Takada, and his interpreter were with us as well.  

 

By this time, it was ten PM and we had a 31 hour trip plus a full day behind us, so, once back at the Wen Pin Hotel, Joy and I had no trouble going to sleep!

 

Dec 15, 2004

 

After a buffet breakfast at the Wen Pin—except for fried eggs, a Chinese breakfast bears NO resemblance to a Western one—we set off for a group visit to the Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum.  You have never heard of the Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum.  I guarantee you, one day you will.  Only ten years old, it is a HUGE and beautiful museum, surrounded by acres of sculpture garden, a concert area and lake.  Both the building and grounds are larger than the North Carolina Museum of Art.  We were visiting on the personal invitation of Mr. Lee, the newly appointed director of the museum.  (Again, the arts have an artist as an advocate—Mr. Lee is a prominent painter here.)

 

(one view of part of the museum building—it was too big for us to get a complete view photo!)

 

(partial view of the entrance to the Fine Arts Museum)

 

 

(view of one of the ponds as we came out of the museum)

(view of the city from one of the museum rooms)

 

(Joy loved the bridal dresses curtains used in one of the modern art

installations in the museum)

 

After a fine lunch at the museum restaurant, it really was finally, time to get to work down at Pier 2. 

          

 

(people working to set up equipment, etc in my tent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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