Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year!

I took this photo of fruit, rice, tea and joss-paper offerings during a recent celebration at a temple near my wife's place of work.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Big babies

Spotted this in the toilet on the train heading to Taitung the other day. I know childhood obesity is becoming a problem in Taiwan as it is in the West, but designing a diaper-changing unit that can bear 159kgs/350lbs seems like massive over-engineering. Still, it's good to know Taiwan is becoming a better place for travellers with very young children; changing facilities like these can be found in larger train stations, MRT stations and department stores. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A relaxed attitude to relics

One of the many things I like about Taiwan is the relaxed attitude to relics that prevails. In many cases, ancient landmarks such as the Arch of Virtue and Piety for Ciou Liang-Gong’s Mother (pictured here; a grade-one national relic located in Jincheng, the main town in Kinmen County) are respected by the population, yet neither cordoned off and converted into crudely commercial attractions, nor hyped into something they're not. Another good example is just a few km from my home: Xinhua Elementary School Feng An Sanctum.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Taiwan KOM Challenge

Daniel Carruthers, a New Zealand cyclist and competitor at the 2009 Deafalympics in Taipei, took part in last month's Taiwan KOM Challenge, and begins his engrossing account of the experience with this paean for the 103.5km-long route:

"There are many epic hill climb challenges dotted around the world that capture the imagination of riders, but there is, perhaps, one hill climb challenge that surpasses them all – the toughest, the most beautiful, with the highest elevation gain on a paved twisting road that snakes its way through a jaw-dropping Taroko Gorge, through some dense forests and eventually up to one of the highest points in Taiwan, at an elevation of 3,275m!"

His article is here, along with some good photos of the event.