義大利特派員 - Mihaela


Last week I had the opportunity – thanks to my university – to go on a trip organised by Fun Taiwan Creative Life. This particular project is called "Ambassador of Experiencing Creative Life" or “創意體驗特派員". The initiative itself is very fun and interesting, as it allows "outsiders"  – both foreigners as well as Taiwanese – to have a first-hand experience of the local creative industries.



The first stop was the port of Keelung 基隆 and the Yang Ming Oceanic Culture and Art Museum 陽明海洋文化藝術館 – henceforth YMOCAM . 

Keelung is a very interesting, history-rich city: it was first colonised by the Spanish, in the 17th century, and subsequently by the Dutch, the Qing empire, the Japanese, and finally, by the Nationalist government. There are still many historical buildings in Keelung, including a Spanish fort, as well as the YMOCAM building, which was initially built in 1915 by the Japanese. Keelung was a particularly important city during the Japanese colonial period, both for the volume of trade and that of people, since it was the only port from which people could travel to Japan.



The formal history of Keelung and of the YMOCAM is fascinating, and I was even more captivated by the personal stories recounted by our tour guide, as well as the current director of the YMOCAM.



Outside of that, the museum hosted a very interesting exhibition on dragon boats, covering both the origin and significance of the dragon in Chinese culture, as well as that of dragon boats across Asia. We’ve seen some magnificent dragon boats from Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Japan, as well as a stunning reproduction of Christopher Columbu’s fleet.



Next, our itinerary took us back to Taipei, where we visited the Meimen Center for Arts & Ethics, or 梅門德藝天地. This center – which is, coincidentally, right next to my university – is a true pearl. I was pleasingly surprised by the serene beauty of the tea house, by the architecture and decorations – which rely mostly on recycled materials, and by the soothing atmosphere inside the arts center.



The centre has have a lovely restaurant and teahouse. The food is prepared according to their philosophy, making for light though highly nutritious meals, while the tea is mostly organic, grown in the high mountains of Taiwan. I will certainly go back and try their delicious food and tea.



Our kind guides accompanied us inside the arts centre, where we were introduced to a particular Chi gong exercise called Pingshuai 平甩, or even swinging. We were first briefed, after which we tried it ourselves, two times in a row, and I was surprised at how balanced I felt after only twenty minutes of swinging. This was my first real experience with Chi gong, and I am eager to learn more. The centre provides many classes, and the volunteering personnel is genuinely dedicated to their mission of making this world a better place through Chi gong and other traditional Chinese arts. I warmly recommend visiting the centre.



After our enjoyable experience at the arts centre, we briefly visited their sister restaurant, located just a minute or so from the main centre. It is called 梅門甩茶滷, and as in the other restaurant, they serve delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals prepared with much care, and easy to digest – all of this at an affordable price.



Last, but not least, our tour guide took us to the famous Wand De Chuan 王德傳 Chinese tea shop in Dunhua S. Road 敦化南路. Up until then, I knew very little about the tradition of tea in Taiwan, so I was absolutely delighted to find out more about it, to be able to taste the finest oolong 烏龍 brew I’ve ever had, and to learn how to brew it myself. Taiwan is, apparently, very famous for it’s oolong tea, which is a medium-fermentation tea – somewhere in between green tea and black tea (or red tea 紅茶, as is traditionally classified in Chinese). I had already tried Formosan oolong tea in the past, but the one masterfully brewed at Wang De Chuan’s was beyond any expectations: it was, simply put, a perfect cup of tea. To quote the Classic of Tea 茶經 by Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗, it was “fragrant, sweet, substantial, and smooth” at the same time.




Here we were patiently guided by Wang De Chuan’s tea expert in the exquisite art of tea brewing, and after a few more-or-less successful attempts, we were rewarded with some delicious green-bean cake, or 綠豆糕. The day couldn’t have ended better.


<   back  >