Oranges are a really popular Chinese New Year gift. We got two boxes from our schools, just in time to conquer our winter colds.
Not too much goes on around Chinese New Year. Restaurants and shops close down so people can spend time with their families. Red envelopes filled with money are given as gifts, and fireworks go off like crazy. Seriously, they were going off when we went to bed around 2am, yet managed to wake us up sometime around 7am. I think legend has it that long ago, a monster lived in the forest. Every year, he would come into the town and eat people. One day, when the monster was on one of his pillaging rampages, a little boy wearing red scared him away. That’s when people realized the color red was lucky and powerful. That’s also why today you see red lanterns, red envelopes, etc. The fireworks? Well, they scare the monster away of course, provided that people stay up all night. That may not be completely accurate, but I think it’s pretty close.
The other day I was sitting around ‘pinning’. (If you’re not sure what this is yet, you need to get on Pinterest ASAP—that’s all I’ll say.) Anyway, in between pinning pictures of houses I’ll never be able to afford and DIY projects I’m never going to do, I stumbled upon a picture of the Rainbow Village. It looked a little something like this:
How could anyone not be instantly drawn to such a vibrant and cheerful place? I immediately pinned it to my Travel Board and filed the image away for future trip planning. Some point later, I realized that this Rainbow Village was actually located in Taichung City, Taiwan, just about an hour south of Hsinchu. Talk about convenience! In actually, the Rainbow Village is a military dependents village, founded over 50 years ago. It has been transformed into the unique attraction it is today as a result of the talented Huang Yung-Fu, an 86 year old who picked up his paintbrushes just a few years ago and personally covered the buildings with colorful animals and aboriginal-like people.
Military dependents villages were originally built in Taiwan to house Nationalist soldiers when the KMT retreated to Taiwan. Much more information can be found on good ‘ol Wiki if you’re interested. The majority of these drab, concrete houses have been demolished to make way for modern, high-rise complexes so common in cities across Taiwan. Luckily, thanks to the efforts of Huang Yung-Fu, the Rainbow Village will continue to be preserved. We would definitely recommend stopping by if you are in the Taichung area! The actual village is quite small, and although the pictures might appear otherwise, it is a popular and crowded tourist attraction.
The easiest way to access the Rainbow Village is via scooter. Click here for a map of the area.
Still working on getting our blog back to normal, but as you can see we are in fact making progress!