became background music to the happiness I was feeling surrounded by green for the first time in nearly a month, I was shocked at how this little park had the power to make me feel very comfortable. I suppose my nana was right when she would tell me son if you’re starving you’ll eat anything. Suppose it fits. Not sure if I was hungry for nature or just sick of being fed grey buildings and neon lights.
The park was probably only the size of St Andrews Square, bookmarked at each end by Taoist temples that were connected with a winding footpath that snaked through the pristine grass. The path was framed by large willow trees, their roots hanging just above the heads of those who passed by.
At the north end of the park, old Taiwanese men gathered around homemade wooden tables sitting on empty paint pots and chain smoked while playing Chinese Chess. Their wives sat on couches and just chain smoking.
As I got closer to the temple I was hit by a heavy wind on incense that instantly took my mind back to India and the best times of my life. Taoist temples look exactly like expensive Chinese restaurants back home, the first few days I was in Taiwan I thought that’s what they were until Kate angrily corrected me. At the front of each temple you will always find two Chinese lions; on the left the male with his large penis and on the right the female (penis free).
When Kate got home that night I described the park to her and became
excited about revisiting that night after dinner. However, as the Arctic Monkeys said it changes when the sun goes down around here.
After a cheap dinner, rice noodles etc we headed over to the park, it was
a windy night which is wonderful when it’s still 33 degrees long after the sun
has gone down, the breeze keeps the sweaty forehead in check.
It seems that everywhere I go I manage to stumble across the dirty underbelly of otherwise normal places and Taiwan has been no different. I had expected the park to be brightly lit with lanterns, I expected the same men to be playing the same games while their wives smoked the same cigarettes. What I found was a dark cauldron of night walkers, tramps, alcoholics, nutcases and outcasts, oh and a group of young children playing football.
I suppose the local park is supposed to be a place for all of the community and
this park certainly was.