Sunday, October 09, 2005

Random pics from a weekend of driving

On Friday I ran down to Taliao outside of Kaohsiung, which is my least favorite place on The Beautiful Island. The streets are a madhouse, the air is hideously polluted, and there is nothing to do. The former township magistrate, Hsu Chih-ming (徐志明), recently got sent up for 12 long ones for bribery and kickbacks stemming from a swimming pool contract in 1994. The city of Kaohsiung located its garbage dump on the borders of the town. When I lived there in the late 1990s, they'd burn in it off sometimes, a giant, open-air incinerator that stank like a battlefield in the evening when they disturbed it as the trash trucks arrived....

I thought I'd post some stray pictures I took driving down to Taliao and up to Hsinchu this weekend. Enjoy.


The new highway, often empty.
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This store, located on Hwy 25 between Kaohsiung and Pingtung, in a totally Taiwanese working class place with no foreigners, sells pasta. Go figure.
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Stuck in traffic, I took a picture of this busy tea stand.
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Taliao is the usual mix of factories and farms. Here's the farm side.
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On Saturday morning we left for Hsinchu. I grabbed some pics of the betel nut girls hard at work along the route to the highway.
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Traffic was murder, and the cameras looked on in benign indifference as everyone was driving every which way.
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Many people cannot be bothered to wait in line, and thus start a second line to the exit ramp, slowing everyone up, and threatening the safety and convenience of others. Naturally the police show no interest in this behavior.
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A few minutes after we got on the main highway, we shifted to the second southern highway, highway 3, by taking highway 4, a short-east west connecting expressway. It runs along the river, showing great views of Taiwan's interesting geology.
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Here what's under the ground is shown in glorious detail. This part of Taiwan is gravel washed down from the mountains yesterday in geological time.
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The lines were unpleasant. Fortunately a cold front made the day a comfortable one for driving. There was actually a strong wind, something rarely seen in Taiwan during the day.
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I have always wanted to get a picture of this factory, which lies next to the highway.
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Traffic on the new highway was fine.
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A bucolic scene, with the high speed rail slashing across the background.
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Hsinchu was all about family stuff. The highlight of the weekend was probably ordering take out at the Vietnamese place around the corner from my sister-in-law's house. Unalleviated domestic dullness it was, and very enjoyable.
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My wife and her two sisters return from a foray into the wilds for a shaved ice treat.
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The rooftops of Hsinchu. A gorgeous day in which the mountains were clearly visible in their darkly purple enclouded glory.
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Just a neighborhood.
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Stray dogs patrol a street. In the background is the high speed rail system, with part of the new station just visible as a half-shell on the left.
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