Lantern Festival

Went to Taipei, Taiwan on February 8, 2012

Me and Michael went to Latern festival. It is a traditional Chinese show during which lots of lanterns are launched in the sky. Besides enjoying the beautifulness of this show we have been trying to imagine how all these lanterns are recycled after they land, if at all. This question remains open.

Anyway, due to the large number of lanterns the show was held far outside of Taipei. So we took the 5PM bus from ITRI to Taipei. We got off at the 1st stop on the outskirts of Taipei and tried to take taxi to that lantern place called Pingxi. The driver responded in Chinese from which it was obvious that he could not get us there. We were puzzled by his response. Then we stopped another taxi and showed him the map of that place тАУ and same response. However, after communicating by gestures with that driver we were able to figure out that the road was blocked by police. Since the road to that place goes through mountains and it is pretty narrow, only special transportation was allowed to enter that area on that day. In other words, we had to take a shuttle bus to there. Going there by bus was quite slow (about 20km on a curly mountain road), but I really liked the way the organizers did it тАУ there were so many buses! The people filled them in without interruption, so we only had to spend 5 minutes in the queue. Once again, I was impressed how Taiwanese people can handle large crowds.

Once we arrived there we saw lots of lanterns in the sky. They were launched constantly. Initially I thought that only special people can launch a lantern. It turns out that everybody can do this. The lanterns were sold in the shops nearby. But we did not launch our own lantern, maybe next time. This is definitely an unforgettable experience! Then we walked on top of a hill from which the lanterns were actually launched and spend some time watching other people.

Then we enjoyed the night market тАУ tasted some local delicacy and bought some souvenirs. Then we decided to take the bus back as the time was already near 9PM and we still had to catch the bus back to Hsinchu. When we approached the bus stop we found out that there were 2 lanes: one for people who want to stand in the bus, the other for those who wanted to be seated. Obviously, the standing queue was moving along at a much faster pace, so we got on the bus in maybe half of an hour. The bus came back to Taipei Zoo MRT station from where it was a short ride to the main station. It was a very nice trip. I think Lantern festival is the most colorful event among those traditional Chinese celebrations.