Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Date with Gauguin

(In which 偉哲 and I have an awesome time at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and 西門町}

{Preamble, feel free to skip}

Happy 元宵節 (Yuanxiao Jie, aka Lantern Festival)! It's the last day of the Chinese New Year holiday, and it is traditional to eat 湯圓 (tangyuan, glutinous rice balls) on this day. My coworkers invited me to eat some with them, and both the sweet ones and the savory ones were delicious!

Some of you may or may not have noticed that I didn't post yesterday, and that this post is late. I actually feel really bad about that, although I don't think anyone is bothered by it other than me. Due to a bout of delusion, I thought I would be able to finish processing all the photos and write up a post in time for publication last night. As you can see, I was wrong. By the time I finished getting through all the photos, it was 3am (despite my sleepiness, I really wanted to chat with people waking up in the States — don't you just love that about time zones?!). But anyway, I decided that the photos have been processed to an acceptable level in the most part (ok, I'm just tired of tweaking the same photos over and over again), so lucky for you there's actually a post today!

I'm hoping this (as in missing and late posts) won't happen again — this weekend I'm planning to write up a lot of posts in advance. I'll schedule some for next week and save some for those times when I don't have anything prepared and am too busy or tired to whip something up. I'm sure those will come in handy for when I'm working on the many photos I will take at Brandon and Phoebe's wedding and from hanging out with Dawson. (So excited! :D)

Before I jump into today's post (I know I know, as if all this preamble weren't long enough already), I'm going to go on a long tangent. (Again, feel free to skip.)

It's about names. Chinese ones, in particular. Usually, I find Chinese names almost impossible to remember — I rely a lot on context to read Chinese, but names mostly seem to me to be random characters strung together. Unless you have a nickname that's easy to remember, or frequently use the romanized version, I most likely won't remember your Chinese name for quite a while. In fact, I still don't know many of my coworkers' Chinese names since we use English names. So yeah, I usually ask for English names and that's how I think of people (though for some of my NTHU friends I'm trying to make the switch to referring to them by their Chinese names).

But there's an exception. The first time I met 偉哲 (Wei Che), we were in the same group at the NTHU FHL welcome night, and he was wearing a name tag with his Chinese name on it. Usually name tags are of little help to me because names are so hard to read, but in his case I could read both characters (I was very proud of myself). At some point everyone went around and introduced themselves with their English names, and I remembered most of them, but for some reason I couldn't remember what his was for the life of me. It didn't bother me much though, since I didn't talk to him much that night. Then a few days later, he passed by me on campus and greeted me by name, and while I recognized him, I had no idea what his name was!

 I felt pretty bad and racked my brain, trying to remember what it was. Somehow I managed to remember his Chinese name but his English name escaped me. Later I found out his English name is Daniel, which explains why I couldn't remember it — there are several Daniels in FHL. But by then it was too late, and he's 偉哲 to me and I always get confused when people refer to him as Daniel. So that's why I'm using his Chinese name in this post even though it doesn't flow as well. It would just be too weird for me to refer to him as Daniel.

{Post officially begins here}

Last Saturday, 偉哲 came to Taipei and we went to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum to see the Gauguin exhibit. I'm lucky to have such a sophisticated friend because I can't remember the last time I thought about visiting a museum. It was a nice change to feel refined and cultured for once. But more than that, I had such a blast!

We strolled through the galleries, paused to take in evocative paintings, discussed our favorites, and talked and laughed to our heart's content. 偉哲 is a charismatic and engaging conversationalist, and the atmosphere of tranquil beauty in the museum only heightened the pleasure. I had a great time — I only wish photography hadn't been prohibited. That's why I don't have pictures of the galleries, but I still managed to have a lot of photos when I came home.

Since the museum is at the same MRT stop as the Flora Expo, we decided to take photos with the sign, just for kicks (I did the same thing with Jack and Patrick). We took the free shuttle bus to the museum and got tickets, but found out that we had to wait an hour before we could see the Gauguin exhibit. So we checked out the rest of museum in the meanwhile — I loved the still life and landscape paintings by 奚淞.

偉哲 said that when he was a child, he told his art teacher that he, too, could paint those childish-looking artwork he saw in the museums. But his teacher said that it is only impressive if you draw like a child when you're old. We saw some childish-looking paintings indeed by 丁雄泉 (Walasse Ting), including colorful ones of parrots and fish. "I can do that too," 偉哲 said, and had the chance to prove it when we discovered the DIY station. He drew a fish and I drew a flower, but I think the palette was a piece of art in itself.

We did make it into the Gauguin exhibit eventually; it was very crowded. We peered at most paintings over the heads of other patrons but managed to stand right in front of the painting that is on all the posters for the exhibit.

By the time we made it through the exhibit, we were both very hungry. We went to 西門町 (Ximending) for dinner and bought 地瓜球 (fried yam balls) as dessert. It's 偉哲's favorite, and very delicious. Even 羅志祥 (Alan "Show" Luo) wishes he could have one!

(Photos of me by 偉哲)

All the photos from dinner are in tomorrow's post. There are a couple that I'm really excited about — can't wait until you get to see them, too! :D

with love,


  1. LOL I didn't get why you mentioned Show Luo until the last photo.

  2. hi mike! :D
    haha yeah... maybe i should put all the descriptions at the end of the post?? it'd be funny if people thought i actually met him though :P

  3. you are so photogenic! I love what you're doing with your eyes. What ARE you doing with your eyes?

  4. awwww thanks phoebe :D but you only think i'm photogenic cus i don't show the millions of pictures where i look weird XD (thus the very few pictures of me :P)
    hmm my eyes? not sure what you mean. makeup-wise? i had eyeliner and mascara on. actually it got smudged and i had to fix it during post-processing LOL
    also, glad you're having fun with the manatees! :D (maybe i should just get a tumblr so i can comment on you and diane's blogs...)

  5. I read a date with Gauguin and freaked out because I had no idea what Gauguin is. I still don't. And awww you look so preeeeettyyyy in the pictureee!! :DDD You've got the puppy eye innocence haha.

  6. ohhh oops. should have explained! Paul Gauguin was a French Post-Impressionist artist - I guess we actually had a date with his paintings, haha.
    and thanks :D

  7. I love your both photos, please keep sending more to us.

  8. thanks dad! :D don't worry, i've been using my camera every day, so i have lots and lots of photos. now i just have to sort through and process all of them...