In tune with lively places

  • Chi Hsu

Keelung Candy|基隆甜心


Keelung, the north harbour city of Taiwan, the sister city of Salt Lake City (Utah, USA), is where Candy lives.

Youthful Conversazione

Candy is a 14-year-old teenager who is keen to learn English, and looks forward to going overseas to study as well as exploring the world. Her father works with my Taipei team implementing people counting system.

On 30th July, I invited Candy to my iChic saloon and we had a youthful conversazione about Keelung. Amazingly, she explained her hometown very well and inspired me to go Keelung waterfront and take a peek at Taiwan's coastal view. Meanwhile, she accepted my advice as to write a brief introduction of Keelung in English. (Good girl!!)

(Conversazione in office, 30th July) Richard met Candy via FaceTime chat.

A warm Keelung day

Keelung is located northeastern coastal of Taiwan as shown (red circle) below, where only takes 30-minute by local train from Taipei railway station.

(Source: Google map)

Water, my Taipei office's head and I visited Keelung, as promised, at a warm Sunday after a typhoon. As well as a warm hospitality from Candy and Candy's dad. (See Candy below: Candy's pet is rabbit so we selfied ourselves as 'rabbits'.) So, we had a warm Keelung day!

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu) Love these donuts as sitting chairs as a part of waterfront landscape!!

Candy's Keelung

On 25th August, after 3 weeks since our conversazione in office, she has written about her beautiful Keelung. I appreciated her diligent work and become interested to promote Keelung. She mentioned 2 attractions (101 Highland, Bisha Fisherman Wharf) and 1 festival (Mid-summer Ghost Festival) so here I snapshotted her work for a glance of Candy's Keelung.

(Photo credit | Chi Hsu)

Furthermore, Candy's dad took us, all along the waterfront route, so I could explore and describe Candy's Keelung. During the drive, we discovered that Keelung's one of sister cities is Salk Lake City [1], Utah, USA. That's very interesting and exciting coincidence as Richard knows SLC quite well and we have a good friend, Darin, whose family is rooted in SLC. We had no idea that Keelung and SLC became sister cities (since 1981!!).

101 Highland

We walked onto an observation point at 101-metre height, so-called 101 Highland, with a panoramic view to lookout northern coastal of Taiwan. Candy's dad pointed the far remote bridge and roads where we passed. Wasn't it good to have a local friend to guide a tour into a hidden place?! While we enjoyed Candy's favorite scenery then Candy's dad talked about how Keelung was alike a gem but now through a long period of decline until recent years.

His voice was depressed. (Candy listened quietly when her dad was heavy-talking.)

Yet, I thought positively as I appreciated the value of priceless scenery. (Water photographed quietly while his boss looked, peeked and thought.)

Looking the view in front of me, imaging the north coastal line of Taiwan island boundary, I wish Richard could see this next Taiwan visiting. Meanwhile, I would need his global experience to tell me how would he review a city/place with a long period of decline?

(Photo Credit | Water Lin) Candy's dad, his family rooted in Keelung, talked about Keelung has been suffered 'recession' for almost 40 years. (The far remote isle is called Keelung Islet.)

National Museum of Marine Science and Technology

We took a well-maintained walking trail, Candy talked her granny's morning exercise walk from her house to here every day. I tried to figure out this good quality of walking trail using nearby signage. It shows 101 Highland and other leisure areas which are a part of National Museum of Marine Science and Technology. Suddenly I picked up. It really makes sense to build a marine educational and tourism base here as the rich ocean resource and Taiwan Ocean University nearby. And, 101 Highland is a part of national museum's park.

What a treasure place where looks like Candy family's backyard and playground!

(Few minutes driving, main building of NMMST passed by.)

(I check NMMST's website, a map provided so I highlight 101 Highland by small red circle, main building by big red circle and Bisha Fisherman Wharf by yellow circle.)

(Source: NMMST website)

Bisha Fisherman Wharf

Beside the waterfront route in Keelung, we saw fishing boats, yachts, ferryboats, cruise ships and naval ships. Keelung could be called Richard's heaven! I couldn't wait to see his face after I updated to him these all.

Bisha Fisherman Wharf has a fish market and some seafood restaurants inside. We browsed and bought clams and shrimps in market, then brought those to one of restaurants to stir fried becoming two dishes. Ordered the other seafood and fried noodles. We had a later big lunch that made us full enough to no needed dinner at that day.

Water and I were so envious Candy could always have seafood. In most of coastal towns of Taiwan, to have seafood is an ordinary meal for daily. Plus, four seasonal fruits offered locally across Taiwan. Candy's dad said to Candy "We are so appreciative of living in Taiwan". I absolutely couldn't agree with that more.

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

Mid-Summer Ghost Festival

According Taiwan Tourism Bureau website, Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival is one of the 12 major festivals. It started in the Qing dynasty when immigrants from Fujian settled Keelung. [2]

This religious festival lasts a month, started when lunar July begins, almost the whole month of August this year. So, when I and Water were in Keelung on 25th Aug., the festival was still on. We took some snaps of mid-summer ghost festive lanterns. I said to Candy's dad, "This is the most serious and sincere ghost festival I have ever seen." Candy's dad humbly responded, "Some oldies say that's why Keelung has been blessed."

(Photo Credit | Upper image: Water Lin, Lower image: Chi Hsu)

Keelung's Earlier Glory

This part is probably beyond Candy's life so I added some of stories to make Keelung feel more complete for readers of this blog.

In 1984, Keelung Port was the 7th largest container harbor in the world. Nowadays, we still see the 'container wall' piled up along the street sides nearby port area. Candy's dad said those were 3 time of the height at its glorious period.

Whoa!!

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

Keelung's coal mining industry peaked in 1968. Between 1968 and 1984, Keelung had its glorious past as being 4th biggest city in Taiwan, after Taipei, Kaohsiung and Tainan. SLC exchanged sister cities with Keelung in 1981 at a perfect timing of trading development and culture experience.

Since 1984 till now, 35 years have flown past. Candy's dad, approx. 45-year-old, feels 'cityscape' looks same for most of his life. But I know something changed, at least since last year's August, I and my family had a cruise holiday, boarded from Keelung Port. I could feel but don't know how to tell so I need to hear more from Richard's perspective. He loves water stuff but is also an economics professor knowing global trend. (to be continued) Click Keelung Talk >>

[1] The Keelung Sister City Relationship with Salt Lake City was initiated in 1979 by Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson. In 1981 the Police Department from both cities became affiliated as a Sister Relationship. The relationship between the Keelung and Salt Lake Sister City helps to develop municipal partnerships and provides opportunities for city officials and citizens to experience and explore other cultures, promote cultural understanding and economic development. (Source: http://saltlakesistercities.com/keelung-taiwan/)

[2] Because of disagreements over ancestral origins, they clashed over business, land, plowing, customs, and beliefs, leading to armed conflict, heavy casualties, and hostility. In 1853, a great battle was fought at Hangding (present-day Nanrong Cemetary), with over a hundred casualties.

On the verge of another conflict, elders and leaders from either side negotiated a truce. Bodies of the dead were referred to as “Lao Da Gong,” and they were buried and worshipped. Based on their surname, people took turns negotiating. These were the 11 families of Keelung, which took turns organizing the Ghost Festival. Family relationships replaced ancestral hometowns as the basis for ties, bringing together the two sides which took turns organizing the festival and offering to lonely spirits. Parade competition replaced armed conflict to preserve the peace. (Source: Taiwan Tourism Bureau)

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