I grew up in Keelung, but to be honest, I am more tourist-looking than many tourists. I never figure out which street is which, so the best way for me to get my bearings is sketching. The roads in Keelung are narrow, the houses dilapidated. But from the perspective of a sketcher, this city stands out once you put it down in paper.
At 10 a.m., the fish shops on Xiao 2nd Road are already closed. The major color scheme there is dark gray; still, I can't help recalling my trip to Lisbon. Both cities have that weathered look when they are no longer prosperous. I spot a fish shop under the bridge in business, so I sit down in front of the lottery store across from it and start my sketch. Soon a black automobile slides into view. While I am wondering when the driver will move it away, the owner of the fish shop, whom I want to draw very much, leans on the car talking on the mobile. What can be better than the model posing just for me? Meanwhile, an old man stands behind me to take a glimpse. After a few minutes, he finally utters some words, "So, what is the sketch for?" I find the question funny, and to show it, I reply, "Because I am happy doing it!"
Walking a little bit forward, you can't miss Bo'ai Market. Seeing the sign saying that there are all kinds of eateries on the second floor, I am tempted to go. I usually lose a little bit of zest after having done the first sketch. Yet, the market is throbbing with life, and it is so contagious that I don't want to waste the colors and images I see there. Soon Bo'ai Market has become the number one market on my chart.
Aside from yummy food, another feature of Bo'ai Market is that there are numerous beauty salons. If the owner does not have a budget to rent a shop, several chairs are placed along the corners with towels hung on the hangers from the ceiling. Some salons are run by middle-aged Taiwanese women, but some are run by immigrants from Southeast Asia. This market reflects how people live their lives truthfully, and that's why it's extremely charming for me.
Away from downtown Keelung, we head for the seaside, whose beauty is enhanced on sunny winter days. There aren't many people in Chao-jing Park. I am again enticed to take out my sketchbook after taking in the scenery of mountains and sea glistening with light.
In the evening we visit Fang-zai Harbor, where many fishing boats are anchored. While drawing the boats in the distance, the foreign fishermen on the boat by my side speak in a language I don't catch. However, the music of the garbage truck which circulates the small village is so familiar. The trip today is both local and international. Though I do not travel far, I have enriched my five senses in every way.