Friday, June 16, 2006

Taking advantage of the good weather


The recent spate of good weather has impelled us get out and do stuff like hiking and visiting night markets in between bouts of Axis and Allies, consuming 10 jin of lychees a day, and furiously grading this semester's classes.


Wednesday we headed over to the Sogo Night Market in Fengyuan, on the wrong side of the tracks not far from the Fengyuan Sogo. Saw several foreigners who didn't greet me even though they stood next to me (Why? I hate that! There's a guy on my campus who has been studiously avoiding eye contact with me, as if I have the plague or something), and one out walking a pair of gorgeous golden retriever pups, who did say hello.








I just have to say it: the sheer amount of stuff produced in the industrial world never ceases to amaze me.




Steamed buns done up as hedgehogs. Tres cute.


I just have to say it: the sheer amount of stuff produced in the industrial world never ceases to amaze me.


Mother and daughter strategize purchases.




Cool atmospheric effects: the train roars past the night market.

Yesterday Zeb and I headed into the mountains for some hiking and father-son bonding. This produced many touching moments, such as:

"Dad, why are we wasting time here looking at these stupid butterflies?"
"Do we have to go all the way to the top?"

Nevertheless, I did secure some good photos with my son's help. He proved to be an avid spotter of spiders and bugs, and an enjoyable companion. My favorite Golden Orb Spiders were out in force....



Taichung was clearer than I have ever seen it. From the hill you could almost see the ocean on the other side of Tatu Mountain. I'll have some more panoramic shots up tomorrow, hopefully.




We stopped by the Butterfly Bush, which was packed.




The previous shot, much magnified.








Of course, butterflies are not the only things wandering around the hillsides.


Had to use the flash to catch this toad cowering in its hole.


At the killer stairs.


Unfortunately these tiny photos can't do justice to the startling clarity of the air that day.




Catching some water along the trail.


Zeb found this one right next to the trail.


But there was something interesting about it...


This tiny orange spider decided to crawl over the monster.


Atlas shrugged, but couldn't throw the little spider off.


I love these tiny, tiny spiders, smaller than an NT$1 coin.






These furry guys were everywhere. Here one is vigorously assaulted by an ant, probably hoping for the outcome we saw elsewhere:








Zeb takes the measure of a snail.






The good weather also brought the roadside vendors out in droves...


....and plenty of hikers too...

8 comments:

andres said...

it was a beautiful day. it's great to see the sun again. the rain was becoming a bit overwhelming.

Thoth Harris said...

Fongyuan! I'm moving there in 2 weeks! I can't wait. Miaoli City is small-townish (in the way a Candian small town like Belleville is).
But the pollution is worse. I find the air pollution (from cars and scooters, mostly, and sometimes from burning fields) is far worse than in Fongyuan. Fonyuan, on the same day, will smell better and look cleaner for some reason, even though Fonyuan is at least twice as large.

I'm sorry. I've done the same thing as a foreigner, here. Much less, now, since I guess I feel very isolated and don't want to be isolated. Why? I don't know. A lot of factors. One of them being why should I great another foreigner just because he's a foreigner? In Montreal, someone from Lebanon won't greet someone from Morroco, just because they look similar? The expectation that they would do that would be considered ridiculous, maybe even one of the worst forms of racism... I miss that multiculturalism here. So many Taiwanese expect me to greet other foreigners just because they are white.

I usually smile. But if I'm not in a good mood, well, it's just like anything, right?

Only in very small towns, or in the country, in the U.S. or other Western places, do people consistently say hello to one another, unless they are fellow dog-owners. Also, when I first came here, I wanted to get away from my fellow (red-haired) barbarians. I wanted to disappear, to a certain extent. Is that wrong?

Mickey said...

Beautiful pictures, Michael!

225712012 said...

great pictures michael. as for the foreigner thing, it's something i have never quite figured out myself. like harris said, if i am in a good mood i will most often smile. there is always that slightly uncomfortable atmosphere that comes from both people thinking 'oh a foreigner...should i acknowledge him?'. I've been to places in india, for example, where if you stumble upon a white face (a very rare occurance) it is expected and required that you stop for a chat, at the very least.
I guess i prefer to err on the side of friendliness, even if it is, like harris said, unwarranted.
incidentally, did you make an attempt to acknowledge them?

Jonathan Benda said...

About the foreigner thing: we're territorial, you know. Like dogs. (Hmmm... that's not right. Then we'd be sniffing each other's butts... Let me think about this...)

Chris said...

I tooke the train from Taichung to Fengyauan today. The view was fantastic and nearly comparable to the view from the train on the East Coast. Nearly but but not quite. You live in a beautiful area, Michael.

Michael Turton said...

I guess i prefer to err on the side of friendliness, even if it is, like harris said, unwarranted.
incidentally, did you make an attempt to acknowledge them?


Yes, in one case. No dice.

The view was fantastic and nearly comparable to the view from the train on the East Coast. Nearly but but not quite. You live in a beautiful area, Michael.

Only because the weather was so good. Can't see a damn thing when the pollution is there....

michael

Mark said...

great photos