Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day here and night there

Last week did a bit of walking.....but didn't use these boots, which my student assured me were really useful when she was bored in class.

Drove over to Hsin Tien ("new field") between Tanzi and Fengyuan for some enjoyable hiking on the trails in that area with Jim of Sponge Bear fame.

The road to the hiking area is on Fenghsing Rd. across from this cute police station....

...and up this road.

A sign points the way.

There's a large parking lot....

...with the inevitable KTV next door. Although it was only 8:30 am, singers were already going strong...or perhaps they were left over from the previous night.

Trails criss-cross the area, all accessible from the trailhead lined with vendors.

The walkways are in good condition and well developed.

Not very steep, in most cases, except for the intial ascent to the ridgeline.

If the day hadn't been so hazy -- a hazard of late fall and winter when the weather in Taichung is sunny and typhoon-free, the views would have been excellent.

As it was, there was plenty of wildlife...

...and small farms in the valleys. And finally, we reached that fabled spot, long rumored to exist somewhere in the mountains of Taiwan, where KTVs cannot be heard.

Taiwan's trails are filled with senior citizens, all of whom are in better shape than I am, judging from the ease with which they blow by me on the stairs.

After we descended from the ridge, we ran across this fellow making off with a load of old tires he'd rescued from a pile near the side of the road.

The road wound through the usual collection of irrigation canals and betel nut groves.

One thing not so common anymore: furniture dumping. Years ago, when I lived in Taipei, people used to routinely dump old furniture on roadsides or off of bluffs and cliffs. That behavior seems to be on the wane.

We came to this lovely bridge which led.... nowhere.

Last week I also had a good time walking around Tainan in the evening.

At dinnertime the bus stations and trains are filled with high school and junior high students making their way home. Taiwan's 14 hour working day begins in junior high school.

No! Don't eat that!

A small shopping center in Tainan lit up at night.

A well presented selection of edibles.

Across from a small vocational high school, students gather at tea stands.

A large store and theater complex.

Tainan's alleys are just as mysterious by night as by day.

Speaking of mysterious, why did someone leave (1) glasses, (2) a hat; and, (3) a die atop this transformer?

A temple by night.

Children at play.

The Indian restaurant in Tainan. Haven't tried it yet.

Monks chanting in a local temple.

A market, silent at night.

Mother and child vanish into the darkness....

A small stir-fry place sets out its food for the evening rush.

Stopping for a bowl on a warm winter evening.

A temple at the end of an alley.

Laying down the concrete.

The Hangout, a local bar.

Get tanned in Kenting instead. It's more fun.

Cosby's in Tainan. Most of the food is forgettable, but the NY Strip Steak is not to be missed.


Ashish said...

I Love these kind of posts Michael. Casual stroll and observing little things about life in taiwan. Also i like these low key hiking trails where there an't many people trying to out race you lol
One of the thing you mentioned has also amazed me that "Taiwan's 14 hour working day begins in junior high school" ... because one of the mundane things i do here in taiwan is to take train from jhubei to jhongli and often if i take train around 6 to 7 pm i can't find many people taking the train .. but in case i happen to work late and take 9 pm more train then have to stand all the way from jhubei to jhongli :( trains after 9 pm are usually packed with students most probably returning from their hsinchu schools to their homes in tao yuan county
Anyways Excellent post. I enjoyed it. Thanks :)

Fili said...

Those Tainan wondering photo blog posts is part of what brought me here.
Gorgeous. :D

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, ashish! You too, fili!

Chris said...

Great photos. The hiking ones reminded me so much of Dakeng. Thanks!

Will said...

hey michael, I enjoy reading your blog. I am not a green supporter but I enjoy your views on the politics in Taiwan.

jerome said...

Great post, Michael. Your pictures are definitely an attraction. Although photos of refuse do not usually agree with me, I’ll make an exception of that wild furniture dump. In the nineties, I lived in a farming community abutting on wooded hills on the western confines of the greater Tokyo. Yes, Tokyo includes farmland and remote mountain areas. The hills above my house offered easy access for family outings, and I enjoyed many week-end strolls in those woods. Our path crossed wild dumps similar to the one pictured here. How societies deal with their refuse is as valid a statement on their development and the concerns of their citizens as those well maintained board walks and hiking paths. All over Africa trees are now decked with black plastic shopping bags goats choke on.

cfimages said...

Those Tainan night shots in the alleys are great. I particularly like the mother/child wandering off and the temple shot.

And the Indian place is a great place to eat.

Thomas said...

Dammit Michael, stop showing these pictures :( Every time I see them I feel so unhappy because I am not in Taiwan. I would love to be back. If only I could find a job in Taipei that would really advance my writing career. I would so be there. Until then, I will have to live vicariously through you.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog. the pictures with made me hungry LOL! But I really had fun reading this you should post more blogs like this!!! ^_^