Monday, September 29, 2008

Keelung Photofest

Not mixed eggs.

Saturday morning I went out see more sights of Taiwan's most photogenic city, Keelung. The cheerful port, despite its very Taiwanese feel an overwhelmingly pro-KMT city, has perhaps the biggest collection of history of any city on the island, even Tainan. The focus of military efforts by four colonial regimes -- Spanish, Qing, Japanese, and KMT -- old bunkers, trenches, pillboxes, air raid shelters, and ammo storage areas carpet the ridges around the city. In the company of my good friend, licensed Taiwan guide, and Keelung history buff Jeff Miller, we headed for the hills.

The crowded city of Keelung, built in a crater.

Men shaping the world.

Jeff took us around the north side of the city, lined with port facilities. Keelung port is being phased out in favor of the new port at the mouth of the Tanshui River north of Taipei.

The gateway to the world outside.

The road here was lined with bomb shelters, and Jeff and I got out to go up to the lighthouse on the north side of the harbor. Who knows what goodies awaited us at the top of these steps? But we took the other path....

Jeff stands next to an old Japanese-period installation. The rear is overgrown and we were unable to get inside.

As we walked up.....stunning views of the harbor.

A large set of buildings was in the process of being torn down. Much of the infrastructure will have to be changed as the port becomes a cruise ship and tourist area.

At present it remains a working port.

We finally reached the lighthouse, which was well guarded.

Up the narrow stairs...

When we got to the top, the attendant opened the door for us. "I'm afraid you might be too fat to get through there," he told me, shaking his head dolefully, as Jeff laughed silently behind me.

Despite the intense wind, I panned the harbor from the lighthouse....

...and another view, back toward the city.

Out to sea several ships waited to get into the port.

We left the lighthouse and descended a bit, then turned and walked into this area, which, as you can see, contained a large sign that said PLEASE ENTER.

The door to a bunker beckoned....

...but it was locked.

At the top of the ridge overlooking the harbor, the views were excellent. Below you can see the lighthouse we stopped at. With the typhoon coming, the wind was astounding. I was barely able to hold the camera steady.

An important function of the port is accepting deliveries of gravel from overseas to fuel Taiwan's construction-industrial state. This storage installation belongs to a cement company.

A pillbox overlooks the ocean.

A close-up.

The interior. The flimsy construction indicates that this was never meant to withstand a serious attack.

At the harbor mouth Keelung Island watches.

Jeff shoots the harbor.

Giant machines dominate the skyline.

Containers wait to be moved.

Taiwan's gorgeous northeast coast, looking north from Keelung. Jeff and I headed up the coast....

Fishing ports are everywhere -- because they are great absorbers of pork. And I don't mean the hoofed kind either.

The coast here, next to the oil tanks that provide fuel for the nearby power plant, is lined with a concrete fence and fishermen.

What? Taking my picture?

Despite Taiwan's amazing population densities, the steep cliffs and frangible rock have held development at bay.

We ended the afternoon at the Lucky Star bar in Keelung city, where many a sailor has, never mind. This is a family blog.


STOP Ma said...

So THAT's what it looks like inside The Lucky Star! My favourite watering hole was The Truck -- there, my wife could actually be with me.

Good to see some pics from what WAS my backyard on a scooter, Michael!

I kinda miss the place. As stinky as a lot of it was.

Anonymous said...

A claim to photogenicity without at least one picture of a betelnut babe is a hollow claim, at best!

cfimages said...

I've probably mentioned before that Keelung has been on my to-do list for a while and it still is. It's been over 2 years since I was last there - and I'm in Taipei on average 3 weekends a month. You'd think I could make it the rest of the way.

Great photos and report.

Mark said...

I was at the fort a couple of years ago. Those steps get really treacherous when it rains.