Sun Moon Lake sure is a divisive place! Some Taiwanese swear by it, others say it’s not worth visiting anymore – not owing to any deficiency in natural beauty, but rather to a growing abundance of tour groups and hawkers. Continue reading
Last night I set out for Tainan’s Flower Night Market but ended up attending a student protest at National Cheng Kung University instead. This protest was organized in solidarity with the group of students occupying the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s parliament) in Taipei. Continue reading
I was always struck by the beauty of friends’ pictures of Qingjing Farm, so it’s somewhere I’ve kind of wanted to go for a while. On the other hand, it’s also one of those places that’s challenging to do on the cheap, and it’s quite in-demand for the tourist groups as well, which I’ve come to know means buses, bad food, and lots of shouting. Continue reading
I arrived tired and took an extra day in Jiji. It was supposed to be relaxing, but after walking along the tracks to the ‘green scenic area,’ I walked to Wucheng Temple, and then walked to Zhenguo Temple, which, with the gift of hindsight, I can tell you was a big mistake. It was way too far. By the time I arrived, I was a sweaty mess such that the nuns looked alarmed and started feeding me fruit and water. In the end they invited me to represent Canada in some kind of international Buddhist faith expo happening in April, and I may just accept. They also offered to give me a ride back to town.
A Jiji tip: Don’t make my mistake; rent a bike. There are lots of bike lanes and trails everywhere, and I should have taken the hint. Continue reading
I would like to know why the ruins of Wucheng Temple have been left as they are, in one askew heap of broken glass, twisted metal, and shattered ornamentation. Continue reading
Tianwei was recommended to me by the owner of the Tai17 hostel in Lukang, who said it was: A) idyllic, B) home to a great hostel, and C) on the way to Nantou. Turns out she was right on all counts!
This story is second in a series of ‘travel mythologies’ that seek to blend travel writing with local mythology. Art by Jono Hunt.
Birdwatching in Budapest / Zachary Fillingham / 2013
It wasn’t easy convincing my wife to visit Budapest.
At fault were a few lingering misconceptions, most of which could trace their lineage all the way back to the Cold War. It didn’t matter that I spent the first 13 years of my life there. Budapest was simply on the wrong side of Europe. She wanted Paris or Geneva – with their plazas, cafes, book stalls, and the street corners where this or that artist famously succumbed to exposure – not the Soviet brutalism and soggy cabbage rolls of an imagined Eastern Europe.
Things I did in Lukang:
* I met the two young and talented co-owners of Tai17 backpacker hostel. They had just saved a street puppy outside a local 7/11 (and thus the dog was named ‘seven’). Continue reading
I used 3 nights in Taizhong to grapple with my tripod in preparation for the alley-wandering denouement next month in Taipei.
Taichung has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Located roughly halfway up the island, it’s Taiwan’s third-largest metropolitan area and a place I’ve passed through a several times before. These visits tended to be weekend debauches with foreign friends, and apart from the all-you-can-drink night clubs and a wonderful deli (“Fingaz!” was the old clarion call for any southward trip), Taichung always struck me as a bland urban sprawl.