The Rainbow Village of Taiwan is a home makeover like no other. This tiny housing complex for retired military defendants in the city of Taichung is a colorific, childish, surreal, humorous and psychedelic outdoor exhibition that has been on my bucket list for years. Sure, we all liked to doodle as a child, but the story goes that when 93-year-old resident Huang Yung-fu (now known as the Rainbow Grandpa) heard the governments plans to tear down the complex and rehouse the veterans, he picked up a paint brush and let his imaginative illustrations run wild.
The small but mighty village of Caihongjuan (meaning rainbow in Chinese) is Taichung’s most popular tourist attraction and titled (by myself) as selfie city. With only 4-5 houses, a couple of walkways and a play park and will only take you about 20 minutes to walk around, but about 1 hour to compete for wall spaces to take endless selfies with. But it’s totally worth it. With no prior artist experience the Rainbow Grandpa decorated the surfaces with primitive style paintings of children, cats, spirits, aliens, monkeys, patterns, stripes and swirls to save the village from demolition. So in reality taking twenty selfies is a small way you can show your appreciation for all his hard work. “What’s that? The village is now saved? Sorry I can’t hear you” Smile, Snap. Pout, Snap. Wink, Snap.
If you are lucky (weekends are best) you can even catch the Rainbow Soldier (my imaginary husband) who busks at the village and takes photos dressed as a kaleidoscopic guitar playing Iron Man with tourists (Swoon.. THUD). I saw photos of the Rainbow Village and the Rainbow Soldier about 4 years ago and imagined how wonderful it must be to live in a real life cartoon. At that point I became captivated by Taiwan and East Asia’s fetish for all things cute, crazy and cool. Watch the video to see for yourself.
The Rainbow Solider of Taiwan
Inconveniently the Rainbow Soldier wasn’t there on my once in a life time visit to the village, but being obsessed by the thought of what motivated a man to dress this way I managed to track him down on holiday in Taipei for a interview. The Rainbow Soldier who’s real name and identity is unknown to me (obviously) spoke no English and I spoke no Chinese. I honestly can’t even remember how we managed to co-ordinate a meeting, but somehow we did. Grabbing a poor unsuspecting tourist off the street outside the landmark LOVE sculpture we spent all afternoon singing, using google translate and taking even more selfies! Watch this interview to meet possibly the coolest guy on the planet!
How to get there
Taxi or number 30 bus from Taichung station to Rainbow Family Village: Lane 56, Chun’an Road, Taichung, Taiwan 台中彩虹眷村: 台中市南屯區春安里
Have you visited the Rainbow Village in Taiwan? Did you meet the Rainbow Soldier or Grandpa? Do you know any other cool places like this? Please share your experiences, memories and suggestions in the comments box below.
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