November 24, 2013

Taichung's Rainbow Village

Trying to pick out which pictures to put on my blog from my trip to Taichung's Rainbow Village was impossible. Look at these photos! So inspiring and cheerful; I want to go buy some paint and transform my living room. 

At first glance they seem simple and I start to imagine being able to do it myself... but when you look closer you can see the tiny detailing, the layers and layers of pain that make each character a little more three dimensional. Amazing. It is completely amazing. 

I especially love how the art moves from the walls to the floor seamlessly.

All of this is done by one man, Rainbow Grandpa. He is 91 years old and transformed his drab, depressing, military-dependent housing into his own, one-of-a-kind museum. The housing was set to be demolished, but the Rainbow Grandpa's memorable paint job and newly created photo site for Taiwanese tourists apparently convinced them otherwise. When I went he was casually seated behind a folding table selling postcards and shaking hands, smiling constantly. He has a limited selection of things for sale with his art on it, and also takes donations to buy more paint to continue the project.

I found posts and blogs about the Rainbow Village when I lived in Korea. I've had it saved and bookmarked, a backburner adventure waiting for the right time. It reminded me of the Heidelberg Project, which I realized I have never posted about on here. What a shame! It is absolutely amazing, and probably three times the size of the Rainbow Village. It will be one of my next 5 for Friday posts, without a doubt. 

There was a man posing with tourists for photos, all dressed in rainbow. I went alone and initially turned him down when he gestured me over to take a picture. I didn't want to have to ask someone to take a picture of me and all of that.. maybe an hour later when I was about to leave he stopped me. He had found a man who spoke English and insisted that I pose. They grabbed my camera, handed me a ukulele, and took a few shots of us together. As much as I hate being that tourist, they really end up getting the best photos. I'm grateful to be coerced into inclusion, even when I resist it. 

Side realization: I have so, so many photos of amazing, beautiful places with just the tips of feet snuck in. I should probably collaborate all of them into a video or something. And yes, Mom, these are still the chucks that Diesel the destructive doberman tried to eat. So, I've decided to forgive him, since they're alright. 

Getting there is easy enough: take the train to Taichung. Leave the train station and cross the street to the large bus stop - not the one that is directly in front of the station! There you will find lots of buses, take the 30 or 40 until everyone gets off. It will be the last stop and it will take a while. They will drop you off down the street, so just keep walking on the road and you will run right into the start of the village. None of the tourist maps from Taichung's Tourist Info had it listed or featured there. But, they are well aware of it and were more than happy to help me find the village. 

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