Cheer Chen – Let’s go together to Paris

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Cheer Chen at Spring Wave 2008

陳綺貞 – 一起去巴黎 (4.4 Mb – Cheer Chen’s “Let’s go together to Paris” – Live in Kenting (墾丁) – 2008-04-05)

Voici une chanson que Cheer Chen (陳綺貞) ne chante qu’en concert, et donc non disponible sur aucun disque officiel. Elle s’appelle « Allons ensemble à Paris » (一起去巴黎). Chen chante souvent à propos de Paris, perpetuant l’image romantique de la capitale française. La photo que j’ai prise montre l’interprète-compositrice folk-rock-pop taiwanaise, accordéon à la main (au lieu de sa guitare habituelle) au Spring Wave, un festival de musique extérieur à Kenting.

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This is a song that Cheer Chen (陳綺貞) only sings in concert, and so not available on any official album. It’s called “Let’s go together to Paris”. Chen often sings about Paris, perpetuating the French capital’s romantic image. The photo that I took shows the folk-rock-pop Taiwanese singer-songwriter, accordion in hand (instead of a guitar) at Spring Wave, an outdoor music festival in Kenting.

How-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream (part three)

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Kenting Road and Peace Lane

This entry is follow-up of this previous article, and covers Saturday and Sunday of Spring Scream 2008 weekend (April 5-6, 2008).

Saturday was the night that I decided to skip Spring Scream, and attend Spring Wave, a (more) commercial version of the outdoor music festival. In terms of notoriety, the bands featured at Spring Wave were usually more pop, and also more popular, and all played on the same single huge stage. On the night before, Sodagreen, Tanya Chua and Cyndi Wang performed at the Maobitou park, just across the bay from Kenting (Da Wan), but some 12km to go around the bay, and the nuclear power plant, seen here below:

Hengchun Nuclear power plant
Hengchun Nuclear power plant

Can you believe that! In a charming location such as Kenting (otherwise a national park), they built a nuclear plant just looming the beautiful beach of Nan Wan… I will come back to all these Nan Wan, Da Wan, and other place names… They are all considered to be in “Kenting” (the name of the whole national park), but are separate constructed areas, Da Wan being what can be considered as the main Kenting agglomeration. Bear in mind that this town is tiny (probably less than a thousand), but fills up like mad during holidays.

Continue reading “How-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream (part three)”

How-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream (part two)

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Spring Scream 2008, Kenting
Spring Scream 2008 Double Rat at Eluanbi

This is a follow-up to the previous article on Kenting during Spring Scream, where I described how I managed to reach the small town.

This entry covers Friday of Spring Scream 2008 weekend (April 4, 2008). 

On Thursday night in Kenting, I spent my time in town, relaxing like I would in any resort town. Kenting is a small small town, where there is little action outside of long weekends and holidays season. The largest town nearby is Hengchun, where many people descend to Kenting. According to my host, you will find cheaper deals and better quality for food in Hengchun. I just saw how it looked like on the way in and out of Kenting, and it looked like an ancient 19th century Chinese town, like I’ve seen in Muar, Malaysia, and then Kaiping, Guangdong, in China.

Continue reading “How-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream (part two)”

How-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream (part one)

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This entry covers Thursday of Spring Scream 2008 weekend (April 3, 2008).

I visited Kenting during the Spring Scream 2008 (Double Rat), an outdoor music and arts festival held at the southernmost point of the island of Taiwan. I wanted to write a how-to for people who couldn’t read Chinese fluently, because it has been a real adventure to find the right information to get to Kenting.

>> See Flickr set

I entered Taiwan through Taipei, on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong. Spring Scream was on the Ching Ming (tomb-dusting) long weekend, and there was a fare war between companies that served HKG-TPE, namely HK-based Cathay (and affiliate Dragonair), and Taiwan-based EVA and China Airlines. So, I paid something like 1500HKD, after taxes and fees.

Continue reading “How-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream (part one)”

Parking ticket in Taipei

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Parking ticket in Taipei

A few days ago, I wondered how parking tickets were handed to offending motorists in a large Asian metropolis. And I had my answer the day after, while walking around in the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial area in central Taipei.

Parking ticket in Taipei

Parking ticket in Taipei

It was a middle-aged lady on a bicycle! Despite the ragged look of our supposed parking agent, she carried an electronic device like our local agents, and issued tickets that were very real.

I don’t know if it’s a standard practice there, but a regular bike is the perfect vehicle for such work in a crowded city like Taipei, which narrow streets would not suit very well cars that make frequent stops. A scooter probably would not have been an economical (or ecological) choice to cover small areas, especially to fine consecutively parked vehicles. If you look more closely into the agent’s basket, there was an EasyCard, Taipei’s transit chip card. The surgical mask: for health or privacy purposes?

Taipei Day 1 and 2

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Taipei 101

Yesterday night, I met with my Montreal Taiwanese friend Frank’s cousin and his friends, university students in Taipei. We hung out at this cool (I’d say hipster) student cafe called the Mo!Relax in the area near the Taipower Building metro station, also located strategically between two or three of Taipei’s universities, I believe.

cafe mo!relax

It’s sort of what our Montreal’s Cagibi would be if it was in a bustling Asian metropolis of several more millions people. Like, not even, this is a bad bad comparison, as there is nothing quite similar to be found in Montreal. It’s just this small cafe with loud hip music, CDs of foreign and local indie bands lining the walls, university students behind their laptops, perhaps procrastinating. (Edit: obviously, there are cool student cafes in Mtl… Just have not been, cannot think of anything right now…)

Then, we hit the night market and had simple extremely cheap, somewhat healthier than what you’d get for equivalent price back home. It was, for two people, a snack of noodles, boiled vegetable with a hoisin/garlic sauce, and some tofu with the same sauce and green onions, for the equivalent of 4CAD (not everything is cheap, say at the cafe…).

Then, today, I ventured off to the biggest Eslite bookstore in town, located in a new area of Xinyi, where Taipei 101 is built. The “bookstore” in fact spans several stories and is probably like the big Barnes and Noble you find in New York (or Chapters in Toronto?). It’s really big. Each floor specializes in something, and one of them is the music store! They hold a lot of interesting products, and I got out of there with 60CAD worth of Taiwanese indie music CDs.

The Wall - Live House in Taipei

Then, I headed back to the university area, one stop further along the green line, at Gongguan. I stopped at The Wall, one of Taipei most famous live houses. It’s a basement, that also has a cafe, a tatoo parlour, a cute stuff store, and one of Taiwan’s most successful independent record label store called White Wabbit Records. I think that they mostly specialize in indie rock stuff. Among other things, WWR distribute stuff for Arts and Crafts in Taiwan (and in Asia?) and hold stuff from Stars, Emily Haines in store. I’ll write something more specific later.

Night market at Shilin

Finally, after getting lost between Gongguan and Taipower, I connected with the metro and jumped all the way to Shilin, beyond the river. After walking outside the station, thinking that I got off at the wrong place, because there was noone on the streets, I finally hit the stretch of alleyway where the Shilin Night Market starts. It is one of Taipei’s most famous, and I passed several people who weren’t locals. This one in particular is not only a food stall market, but also a market for clothing and cheap jewelry stuff. Also more on night markets later…

Now, if I can wake up in time tomorrow morning, you may catch me on 102.3 FM Radio Centre-Ville, at 10:30 PM EDT, when I call the Cantonese-language show to talk about my trip to Taiwan.

I am back in Hong Kong tomorrow evening. I’ve been following hockey, and may try to find a bar on Friday morning to listen to the first Habs playoffs game… Or hack my connection to watch it on the web!

Spring Scream 2008 Double Rat – the outro

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Lighthouse scene

This is it for Spring Scream! I wrote the last part on the Bande à part blog yesterday, and also posted a few pictures.

I am now in the outskirts of the city of Taichung, in Central Taiwan. I stayed at a hostel near Chung Tai University, and was the only guest there that night. Goes without saying that it was a little creepy staying by yourself in such a large place in the middle of nowhere… I am now heading out to the city, and then to Taipei.