Taiwan Postcards

A Collection of Taiwan Photos and Their Stories

By Stuart Hill

Mass Transit, ZhongXiao FuXing Station — June 2015

Taipei MRT

In terms of reach and intricacy, the Taipei Mass Rapid Transport system may not compare to the likes of the subway systems of London, New York, Tokyo or Seoul, but it is getting there fast. What started out as a single line in the 1990s has expanded into a growing network linking Taipei’s downtown with the outer regions of DanShui, ZhongHe, Mucha, Neihu, SanChong, NanGang and will soon extend to the TaoYuan International Airport. The opening of an MRT line on a city street is a curse and a blessing. The years of living next to a construction site will kill off any business and cause major disruptions to daily traffic, but for those that survive, their real estate values and the number of walk through customers eventually head sky high.

Lights of KaoHsiung — January 2013

Love River KaoHsiung

As a harbor city a lot happens along the wharves and rivers of Taiwan’s southern capital. You can take a short cruise along the Love River — which is a pity it isn’t longer — and find a place nearby to enjoy a drink or meal as the evening arrives.

Mines of JinGuaShi – April 2015

Gold mines of JinGuaShi

The mines of JiuFen and JinGuaShi reflect a history of mixed fortunes for Mount Keelong. The majority of the wealth was exploited by Japanese companies, though some locals were lured to the area by the potential riches to be made. Before the end of World War II, POWs were sent into the increasingly depleted mines to extract copper, working under dangerous conditions. The photo illustrates a partly preserved section of mine near the Museum of Gold, JinGuaShi.

 

Taipei Mountains, HuangZuiShan – November 2006

YangMingShan National Park

By its very nature the Taipei basin is surrounded by mountains on each side, the most often-mentioned is YangMing Mountain. Within the YangMingsShan National Park is HuangZui Mountain, which looks down to the coast toward Keelung. This shot was taken during a hike in spring with friends and colleagues.

Kaohsiung Metro Station – November 2010

Kaohsiung MRT

While Taipei MRT posters boast about how exciting, beautiful and cultural Taipei is, something has to be said about the utilitarian nature of its MRT architecture. Not so for Kaohsiung’s subway stations, whose architectural planners decided they had something big to say, at least at the spectacular Formosa Boulevard Station, designed in remembrance of the Kaohsiung Incident.

Maestro Wu Knife from Taiwan’s Kinmen – January 2015

Kinmen knives by Maestro Wu

An almost iconic symbol of Kinmen’s determination to convert necessity into opportunity is the range of knives produced by Maestro Wu. The business would not be possible without the intensive shelling of the Kinmen by the People’s Liberation Army during the communists’ war against the KMT. Shell casings have been worked into a wide range of kitchen knives, which you can buy in Kinmen and Taipei.

Election Flags on Keelong Road, Taipei – November 2010

Taipei Election Flags, Keelong Road

Elections in Taiwan are a noisy, flashy, slightly chaotic series of events. Political billboards loom from buildings, party flags are stuck to any bare surface possible, and democracy wins in the end.

Keelong’s MiaoKou (Temple Front) Night Market – August 2012

Keelong MiaoKou Night Market

The first time I visited Keelong’s MiaoKou Night Market it was pouring rain. It was a scene straight out of Blade Runner. Even on a clear day, the night market is usually packed, and it can seem pretty daunting to the first-time visitor.

Bird with a View, WenShan District – May 2013

Bird in WenShan, Taipei

This perch is actually a favorite of the local birds in WenShan District, Taipei. All throughout spring and summer they use it to call out to other birds nearby. It always  looks like they are taking in the city view.

YingGe Ceramics Museum – November 2010

Ceramics museum, YingGe Taiwan

This beautiful sculpture is part of the YingGe ceramics museum. On a windy day, the ripples on the water transforms the colored clouds into fish or some other living being flying or skimming across the surface of a lake.

Orchid Island – August 2004

Orchid Island Postcard

On arrival by ferry, its hard not to be taken aback by the pure blue of the sea and sky, contrasted against the green hills of Orchid Island. Though the island is pretty small and the facilities basic, the chance to witness the local men performing their “boat throwing” ceremony was a very special experience. After raising the boat the men carry it down to the water, then row out to sea and back.

Bao An Template in Taipei – August 2007

Bao An Temple Postcard

The Bao An Temple in DaTong District is a sanctuary from the nearby food street. This Saturday afternoon there was a traditional Taiwanese opera being performed within the temple grounds. This man was in a neighboring pavilion rehearsing.

DaYiGong Temple on PengHu – April 2008

DaYiGong Temple Postcard

To the un-initiated traveler, the DaYiGong temple on PengHu Island looks like every other overly ornate Taiwanese temple. Yet its basement holds a secret underworld of turtles and other marine life, like most people have never seen.

TaiPingShan – September 2006

TaiPing Shan Postcard

At the time, the TaiPingShan Village was a mountain retreat built on the remains of the area’s timber trade. The train is a remodeled version of the carriages that brought logs to a base station from which the timber would be carried by winch to another point on the next lower section of the mountain. The area is cool, even in summer, and features highly valued cypress trees, though these days only a few large specimens remain.

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