Friday, July 27, 2012

Keelung Musings

Spent this week hanging out in Keelung. Had two good days of sun, one of which I wasn't carrying a camera with me. Missed a lot of good photos that day, but did walk around in the evening and at night on wednesday. Here is a shot of one of the ships in the harbor....

Keelung is a very photogenic city. It also has another singular quality: it lives in a time warp, feeling more like Taiwan 30 years ago than any other city on the island, even Chiayi, which appears to have more foreign restaurants. Sorry Tainan lovers, but as Tainan has become a major tourist destination, the city has upscaled and changed, its tourist sites becoming more kitsch and its "traditional" foods converging on each other and on mass market styles and flavors. In Keelung, the tourist sites are undiscovered -- everyone just goes to the Miaokou Night Market, a snoozefest, to eat. But Keelung is packed with history...... its restaurants have not been taken over by the penchant for "innovation" which, as my friend Jeff Miller pointed out the other day, is slowly destroying Taiwan's traditional food flavors.

On the wooden platform facing the harbor you can take lovely pictures and watch H. sapiens at play. Near here I visited a couple of local clinics where the doctor, in his 60s, had taken over the practice from his father, who had been educated at NTU when it was an imperial Japanese university. It's Keelung.

Waiting for the man that never showed?

We had some lovely puffy blue skies this week. The harbor is always a site for great pics.

Incredibly, these junior high and high school kids were all waiting in a long line for... coffee at Starbucks.

Unfortunately some of the streets are already being done up in the faux "Old Street" style that is crushing the individuality out of Taiwan's old towns.

Lots of good food, especially seafood.

Come to Keelung, and play.
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Domenic said...

superb photos. I surely will come to Keelung!

paul said...

michael, sorry but keelung is not a very "photogenic" city. it's quite ugly and run-down. architecture is horrendous, tho much of architecture in taiwan is horrendous. i look at photos of keelung and all i see are ugly grey concrete or red/brown post-modern structures with no character at all. at least tainan has some quaint historical buildings. keelung will be getting a multi-billion dollar makeover with a complete harbor renovation which is quite needed. the city needs to modernize as it's expected to be a big cruise ship destination. as of now, most international tourists arriving on cruise ships will probably not be impressed with keelung's appearance compared to other asian countries like hong kong, singapore and japan. hopefully the govt. can pull off a successful and speedy renovation.

???A said...


Intriguing aside about contemporary culinary trends in Taiwan. Will it possible if either you or another person knowledgeable on such food matters to write a more detailed post about it sometime in the future? It's the first time I've heard anyone making this connection.

Anonymous said...

Keelung mistake #1: Idiotic design of the new wood pier. No shading, hardly any good seating plus it started failing apart soon after it was built. It may last another year or two if they put shellac on it, but that is not the Taiwan way.

Keelung mistake #2: Idiotic, stupid, moronic design of the new snackbar at Hoping Island. Total fvck-up. What were they thinking?

Keelung mistake #3: Hardly any good bars to enjoy hanging out at.

Besides that, yeah, its got some good qualities.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous