Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Strangers from Taipei 101

The Jiu Bar Owner

Here are some more strangers from the Taipei 101 project that took place last year.

The photos remind me of the adventures we had doing the project. The first guy is an owner of a jiu bar (brothel) in Linsen North road. This area is famous for being a redlight district and we met this guy at a roadside restaurant in the area.

He was with mates and they were having a big seafood dinner with beer and whiskey. In the photo he is receiving a gift that Lewis donated. He gave us a lighter from his 'jiu bar'. There was some tense when we did the interview. We also met a Japanese architect who was with the party. He introduce us to the 'oldest' whore of the area, who was also at the restaurant. Unfortunely, she didn't want to be part of the project.

The Betelnut Girl

Betelnut girls are famous in Taiwan for wearing next to nothing. Unfortunately, we were in Taipei and they have laws against this (only for Betelnut girls, normal girls can be as sexy as they like). This one couldn't stop laughing at us. She thought we were mad.

The Coffee Shop Worker

A very helpful and friendly girl.

The Bus Driver receiving a gift

A very happy bus driver who made both Lewis and I laugh a lot.

The Bus Driver and Lewis

Monday, May 23, 2011

My first British Stranger


“As we left Christchurch, the roads were cracked and looking back, we saw fires burning there”

Mary was in Christchurch when the big one struck. Luckily she survived to tell the story and more importantly for us, to open her guesthouse.

Mary is a genuinely warm and charming woman, very chatty and worldly. She’s also a great cook and we loved her English breakfast. She runs the Gladstone Guesthouse, a homely place away from home. My girlfriend loved the room we stayed in, full of comfort and not at all like the sterile rooms you can get in some hotels.

If you ever need a place to stay in Faversham, Kent, than I'll definitely recommend the Gladstone Guesthouse for comfort and for Mary.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Queens Day and the Royals.


Unfortunately, I had to go to England on Queen's Day but because my girlfriend had such a time last year on Queen's Day I wanted to find out more.

Diane who runs a small coffee bar behind the town hall in Venlo, said that she had heard from the news that there’s a group in the UK who are against the Royal Family and have been banned from going out during the wedding. I said I didn’t know anything about them but in general most people don’t care. Though, the wedding might change this. I asked Diane ‘Are there many people who don’t like the Royal Family in the Netherlands, “No, there a small number who don’t like them but there are always people who don’t like something. It’s ok, it’s their life.”

Diane went on to say that she didn’t think Queen’s day had changed that much since she was a child. “There are still markets, parties and lots of fun.” Venlo will also have a party in the Markt, the square in front of the town hall for Queen’s night. This sounded more preferable to Diane than then the huge parties that will be in Amsterdam.

She also said that children play lots of games, including the sack race.

Diane is working on Queen’s day so she won’t be wearing orange.

Pieter, who I've met before, runs the Petite Four cafe in Venlo and he said “What I like about Queen’s day is the tradition that you can setup stores on the street. You don’t need a licence to setup up a store. There are less rules and it’s easy to express yourself.”

Will you setup a store this year? No, it’s not for shops, children can setup stores and sell things, like old toys and cakes they make. Street musicians will play music and put out a hat and some children will do the same, or dance.

As a first timer to the Queen’s Day, is there anything I must know? “It’ll be good if you wear orange and you must try ‘oranje tompouces’, it’s a cake with icing on top and cream in the middle, normally it’s pink but on Queen’s day it’s orange.”

Has it changed over the years? Queen’s night, the night before Queen’s day and the big parties in Amsterdam are the main changes. Traditionally, it was very local and mainly for children and families, though we used to go to Amsterdam when we were kids.