Happy Keelung ~ Happy Yellow Duck!

How to make a city smile?  How to make a city famed for its miserable weather smile? Install some ART!  The famous Rubber Duck is here, and despite plenty of mishaps en route, hey here it is smiling away, and surrounded by plenty of happy people also smiling away, helped by a sunny day of course.  Unbelievable the affect that a very large (well, 18m) yellow duck can have on the mood of a city.  I love it!  And there’s even some real yellow ducks on hand nearby to say hello….

OK, so not everyone is smiling in Keelung City and every day we have an update on the News about the duck’s condition, the state of the water, the sales of yellow duck merchandise, the crowd numbers ~ and the fact is that the yellow duck is now competing with the baby panda (real, not rubber) who makes its first public appearance at Taipei Zoo next week…..

But when the yellow duck has gone and Keelung returns to its normal wet and windy self, then the happiest places in the city will continue to be the churches.  Hoping that all the churches in Keelung are as full of joy as our 2 churches – Trinity Church and St. Stephen’s – whatever the weather outside, the people there are always smiling!

Well we do have a great God after all – that fact alone’s just gotta make us smile!

TAIPEI 101 Global Circle ~ and TABORA is right there!

In Taipei 101 is a large black granite circle in the floor, and in white marble are carved the names of a whole host of places, some well-known, others nobody has ever heard of.  This of course is ART.

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Public Art in fact, known as the ‘Global Circle’ and described on the Taipei 101 website rather eloquently as:

In the most luxurious and hottest shopping center, this Global Circle exists in silence. The black granite ring is embedded in the Social Plaza of the shopping square, and white inscriptions of names of cities from celebrated metropolises to unknown towns mingle in disorder along its border—in the tide of globalization, we are in the center of the world as well as the margin of others. Under sunlight, the Global Circle creates another dimension of space, echoing constellations in the cosmos.

So there I was on New Year’s Eve with many hours to spare before midnight, and there I was staring at all these randomly arranged places – and there, in the middle of them all is no lesser a name than the mighty TABORA!  Yes Tabora!  Is it one of ‘unknown towns’ mentioned above, or in fact a ‘celebrated metropolis’?  After all, there it is placed between Hiroshima and Miami….

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Ah Tabora, what memories!  Famous because – well, David Livingstone hung out in the area long ago, but more famous cos it’s a major junction on the railway line between north and south Tanzania, the station where the trains going upcountry divide to go west or north, and where they meet up on their journey south – either way, travelers spend many long (sometimes never-ending!) happy hours waiting there on the train…..

So now Tabora can know it’s on the map – not just any old map – but on the Global Circle right in the heart of Taipei 101!

Taipei Welcomes 2014!

And for the first time ever, I was there ~ and not just watching from a distance, but right in there among the zillions of people who had come to watch the show at Taipei City Hall and Taipei 101 ~ YES!

And it was WONDERFUL!  AMAZING! SPECTACULAR! INCREDIBLE!  All worth every minute – and yep there were plenty of minutes to wait until midnight, in fact the show went from before 7:00pm until 1:00am ~  but I had a grand viewing platform, clinging to a large bush growing on a raised flowerbed ha ha!

The Taipei City Government and the police and all the organizers did a great job with generally everything….

The event was sponsored by hTC (‘happy Taiwan Celebrates’ and ‘happy Taipei City’) and NUSKIN (‘Happy NU Year’) and we had Spiderman as the star to laser the start of the fireworks…

Performance after performance of every major music star, oh yes and a link with Japan and performance of theirs too ~ then we even had some swahili (Hakuna matata) and scenes of the African bush ~ and an appearance of famous (and conveniently handsome) baseball heroes, plus the mayor of Taipei in his baseball kit.  Ah yes, and the president came in time for the fireworks – after which we had an hour of S. H. E., one of Taiwan’s most famous girl bands…

And not to be forgotten, a broadcast wedding proposal from a couple in the crowd in the middle of it all…

And hope you catch ‘Believe in Jesus and receive eternal life’, among other things on banners being waved in front of Taipei 101!

Taipei Times article on the event here….

Happy New Year everyone, wishing you a wonderful start to 2014!

Yes to God, Yes to Mission, Yes to Taiwan!