Off for a walk at the base of the hills outside Taichung...greeted, as always, by the endless array of bugs that the island provides.
Everywhere you look, early morning hikers can be found. The hills around me are honeycombed with hiking trails and minor roads that make excellent morning walks.
Winding lanes, perfect for an early morning stroll.
Plenty of flowers too. One of the joys of Taiwanese landscapes is the sheer number of flowers cultivated by local land and home owners.
'Course, the wild stuff is nice too.
Bamboo plants line many a country lane. Yet several locals have mentioned that the price of bamboo leaves used for the the tzung tz served during the Dragon Boat Festival this year has risen so much that they are increasingly imported from China, with who knows what chemical residues on them.
Many of the streams in rural and urban areas have had the sides and bottoms lined with concrete. Much cash has been spread around local areas with projects like this.
What road is complete without the old woman picking up recyclables for sale for a few pennies....
The new Tz Chi hospital in Tanzi just north of Taichung rises in the early morning sunlight. Word has it that the long term plans for the area include a kindy, a university, and other buildings for a Tz Chi complex to rival their well-known facilities in Hualien.
Scooters to and from the market on a Sunday morn.
Fishtanks and fishponds are common sights in Taiwanese communities.
Empty roads beckon walkers. What's around that curve?
In the background, a new biotech factory rises.
Dogs hard at work.
One sign of the way religion is unobtrusively but robustly integrated into local life: a temple just there around every corner.
A close up.
Just across from the larger temple is a small shrine, a common sight in fields and cities across Taiwan.
Incense burner and shrine face each other.
Mandatory in every local temple: the place where everyone sits down to have a chat over cups of tea.
On the main road traffic roars past another of the hideous cookie cutter housing developments so common in Taiwan. According to a presentation I attended last year, such developments require that the builder sell only half the houses to break even. Not difficult in a culture that places a heavy emphasis on the ownership of houses as a sign of wealth and stability.
With their surprisingly wide selection of the most popular items, convenience stores are driving many different types of mom and pop stores out of business. For example, as convenience stores incorporate more baked goods in their product line-ups, smaller bakeries, squeezed by the new competition and rising flour prices, have gone under, or eliminated staff and reduced product diversity to stay afloat.
Bicyclists, a common sight on weekend mornings in the hills around Taichung.