They do celebrate the western new year here. Of course it's not of big importance to the Taiwanese, much like Christmas, as they're both probably just some excuse for business to go better for a short while. I am still going to cover it, of course, and I am going to cover it in more than one article. This one is the first. Get a link to the next one at the bottom when I'm done editing it.
(Please note, these articles contain huge amounts of photos, and they're usually up over 1 MB in size, so take good care of your internet connection.)
So, went out to have a look at Taipei 101 from the distance one of the other days. On new years eve of course.
My current host sister, Maxine, works at IBM and has an office pretty close to 101, so I went with her to an employee party there. This is just outside the building. The area around Taipei 101 is really gorgeous at night. Everything is lit up.
Just outside the building, people are already setting up their stuff at 21.30 to make sure to get a good spot. If you look closely, you can see that Microsoft also has some offices in the building in the background.
We didn't bother to go wait for 2+ hours to get the back seats for the fireworks show though. Inside the office, there's everything from chicken feet to Haagen Daszch biscuits, and a projector would livestream a concert a few meters away from the office.
Just before I went out the door, Selina, my host mother, put a Lumix GF1 in my hands, saying something like it should be able to take pictures in the dark. My chinese is still just four months old and she never studied english, so it was hard to communicate my surprise. Appareantly, my host father, Uncle Water, had bought it just recently, and since I was going to see Taipei 101, why not take some high quality pictures.
I have to say, this is a completely different level of picture taking than my tiny Sony Cybershot. Lumix still gives me blurry pictures if I don't handle it professionally, which is hard to do with only Japanese language support. I could probably also have used some different lenses to improve the quality, but still once in a while the planets just allign by themselves and I get a lucky shot like this.
Out in the lobby, they set up a Wii for the kids too.
Taiwanese people are so much more interesting when they're allowed to dress up like they want.
People might remember me talking excitedly about IBM and their quest for building a copy of the human brain in computers with some scientist company in... was it Switzerland? I should try and check for any news on that some day soon.
I would usually assume that this is some sort of unintelligible engrish, but it's not. It's advertisement/branding at it's worst. The project does seem intersting, but it's probably only of interest to governments and bankers anyway.
Back outside there's hoardes of people now at 23.45. I wonder what kind of alien device the kid to the right is operating.
As long as I hang around with Maxine and her acqaintances, my main target audience is still going to be in the male population.
10 miunutes more.
Taipei 101 during the last minutes of 2009. It's a beauty with all those light on.
As the whole building is darkened, the whole crowd of about 2 million people lets out various sounds indicating excitement. The performance starts in a few minutes.
The whole building is then lit up section by section of it's palmtree-like structure. People count down untill it reaches the top and:
Much better. You can click the picture with the darkened Taipei 101 above and browse forward, picture by picture to get it all. A bigger version of about 6-7 MB space is also available of every shot at boonbot.com, if you're greedy.
Below are some of my favorites. There's about 90 in total, so the following 15 are not the whole story.
Ooops! That's only 10 so far. The rest are in the next post because now I'm splitting up this post now!