The Dream Parade is a reminder of why I always travel with a camera … especially in Taipei.
Back in October, I was on one of my multi-week jaunts across Asia. Eighteen days. Two countries. Three cities. Five hotels. Ten flights. But most importantly, two weekends in Taipei. I had no agenda for the first weekend in my favorite expat city. Typically I don’t need to make plans here, it’s a comfortable city that constantly surprises me.
October 17. Friday. I’m in a MRT station, waiting on a subway train to ferry me back to the hotel after dinner. An ad for a parade catches my eye. I don’t understand the Chinese voiceover, but after years of DragonCon I know a funky parade when I see one. I make a mental note to wander past CKS Memorial Hall on Saturday to catch this … well, I have no idea what.
I had no idea I was walking into the middle of Taipei’s burner community. At three in the afternoon. On a Saturday.
The Dream Parade is a product of Taipei’s Dream Community, directly inspired by art communities and events like Burning Man. Apparently they’ve been doing carnivals and parades like this for over seven years. But I know none of this as I emerge from the MRT station at CKS Memorial on a warm Saturday afternoon. I have no idea I’m walking into a mashup of my beloved DragonCon parade and local Georgia burn.
The parade staging area was open, so I took dozens of pictures as everyone prepared to march in costume, play along with a drum corps or ride a motorized fish that may have escaped from a Tim Burton film. Carnival costumes, cosplay, themed outfits … the city’s memorial for a past leader became ground zero for a completely different kind of community.
Once again, Taipei surprised me. Hopefully I’ll be better prepared for my next encounter the Dream Parade.
Fun Photography Fact – all of these pictures were taken with a Panasonic Lumix I bought last year at Costco. For whatever reason I didn’t feel like dragging my Canon EOS 60D along for my walk through Taipei, so my pocket camera saved the day. It’s pretty easy to get good pictures when wonderful things walk in front of the lens.