Saturday, September 26, 2015

2015 Shimen International Kite Festival (石門風箏節) [Taiwan Day 756: Gone with the wind - Sept. 26, 2015]


Kites were flying again in Baishawan in Northern Taiwan. A bicycle man, cute bear and even plants were seen dancing in the wind in the annual New Taipei City North Coast International Kite Festival. It's only a two-day event that one should never miss when it happens. Everybody were excited to witness the fun activity but there was only one problem. A typhoon was fast approaching and it will directly hit Taiwan!



The Central Weather Bureau predicted a fine weather for the 1st day of the event but not for the 2nd day. There was no other choice so I went there on a Saturday with my usual travel paraphernalia. Rakesh, who had been my Travel Buddy in my past travel adventures invited First Year PhD students in Academia Sinica to join the trip. Bus 862 and 863 ran along the north coast of Taiwan and it took us to Baishawan where the kites were flying high.









The bicycle man caught our attention! It kept on pedaling in the sky without even moving forward. A giant squid kite displayed its tentacles to the spectators. The caterpillar from last year's kite festival was still there and I remembered the shark and the whale from last year’s event. It was replaced by a floating orange bear and created an illusion of a giant balloon. Creepy plants danced gracefully in the white sand beach of Baishawan. When the wind blows to the right, the plants swayed to the right and vice versa.



There were also new features this year. Wind surfers courageously battle the strong winds and big waves of the East China Sea. Professional and amateur photographers took the opportunity to have great panoramic shots. The bamboo fence that prevented spectators in meddling with the kite flyers were expanded and there were more space for the festival participants to maneuver their kites during the kite flying exhibition period.
 
















My new friends and I also got attracted at the numerous kites hanging on the right side of Baishawan. We went there and found some men flying a circular kite. The kind men gave my friends the opportunity to try flying a circular kite. I also didn't missed the opportunity to try one! The winds were blowing strong but I just kept on holding the spool of thread. The kite flying experience prompted me to buy my own kite. My eyes got hooked with two fishes flying in the air and I bought them as my souvenir for this Taiwan Day 756. My fish kite cost NTD 100 and it is now part of my 'Taiwan collections'.










The group decided to go to the beach but I somehow lost them. The wind blew them away or maybe I was the one pushed by the wind to the beachfront where the kite flying exhibition was just waiting to happen. But before the kite exhibition happened, candies were seen flying in the air coming from a toy bear attached to a kite. The sweets flew with the help of parachutes and the visitors went wild catching them. I was even lucky to document Spongebob releasing hundreds of candies. A father caught one and gave it to his child. How sweet!














The sky became darker but the kite festival continued. All the visitors set their eyes on the sky as groups of kites flew in the air forming various patterns. The kites danced with the music being played loudly in Baishawan. My favorite kite exhibition was the 'lambada' performance. There were two diamond-shaped kites with very long tails. They swung in the air like two dancers moving gracefully in a stage.



Raindrops started to fall and the visitors decided to go back home. All beach activities in Baishawan were cancelled the following day. Many got disappointed for the suspension. Next year, the kites will fly again and bring smiles to our hearts but now they are gone with the wind.
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