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Tainan

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:21

We extended last weekend by a day and took the High Speed Rail to Tainan, about 222 km or 1:09 train hours south from here. Tainan has much to offer: Good weather (it gets pretty cold these days in Hsinchu; around 23 °C at night!), lots of culture, and, most of all, good food and big night markets!

Our means of transportation was a scooter, without a doubt the most convenient way of getting around. We even brought our own helmets cause riding at 50 km/h with a 100 TWD helmet (about the price of two bowls of noodles), the kind that scooter rental places offer, is just half the fun.

The thing that personally impressed me the most was a Buddhist ceremony we saw at the beach. (It goes by the name of 海之祭 or, in full, 安平海祭淨安祈福消災冥陽法會. The translation is left to the reader - and the writer - as an exercise.) The preparations were huge since the whole beach was decorated not only with traditional items such as paper ships, statues, flags, swags, and fruit, but also with modern elements like fireworks, a laser show, and an ear-shattering loudspeaker system. The ceremony itself consisted of dance, praying, music, and an abundance of fire. All of this was to honor the gods, pray for luck, and hope the people who died in the ocean can find the way to heaven. Truly an impressive spectacle.

Apart from that there were different parks, temples, flowers, and nature. (I just noticed I forgot to take pictures of food again. Maybe I'll remember next time ...)

Check out my Tainan album for all the pictures!


Alert! Taipei is being attacked by giant monster spiders!

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:48

This and some other interesting night shots were taken during one of our walks to 象山 (Xiang shan; Elephant mountain). Check out the Xiang shan by night album for some nice photos of Taipei and 101.


Okinawa pictures

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:51

It's a long time ago and the memory of my last vacation has already faded, let alone the feeling of relaxation, but some three weeks after returning from Okinawa the photos are finally ready.

Okinawa is a relatively small island in the south of Japan and inhabited by a little more than 1.3 million people. Actually, the whole prefecture includes hundreds of little islands, the Ryukyu Islands, but we only visited the main one. We spent two days in Naha, the prefecture's capital, and southern area before heading up to the center and eastern part.

Some of the views are breathtaking and so is driving on the left side for the first time in your life. Apart from the occasional struggle with the GPS (strictly Japanese and only workable with the handbrake pulled - learn the hard way!) it went fine, though, and we enjoyed five relaxing days in the sun.

The pictures, complete with GPS coordinates, thanks to my trusted and always present "Easy Showily" GPS logger:

Okinawa (Days 1 and 2)
Okinawa (Days 3 to 5)


Climbing the turtle

posted by Martin Rubli at 03:46

All good things come to an end. This is especially and unfortunately true for vacations.

If you think that vacations are relaxing then you should try coming back from one of my vacations. Hundreds of photos and dozens of GPS traces are waiting to be combined and put online.

Luckily, I finally found a working program that does this job quite well: Geotag. It loads pictures from different directories and multiple GPS tracks and with a little bit of magic you'll have coordinates in your pictures in no time. The result of this can be seen here:

Turtle Island album

Turtle Island (龜山島, Gui shan dao) is a small, uninhabited island on the west coast of Taiwan. Unfortunately it's still under military control and visiting involves going with a rather large tour group or a lot of paperwork (If you have the choice, go with the paperwork! :-), but it's worthwile in spite of that. See for yourself.

Oh, and pictures from Okinawa are coming up soon. At least some of them; turns out my camera is allergic to water. ;-)


A university to die for

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:01

Many Taiwanese universities have small lakes on their campus, which is really nice cause you can go for a relaxing walk during your classes or in your spare time.

And then there's the National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu where a walk around the lake is more like an obstacle course around dead animals:

   

Theories as to the reason of this animal battle ground include "bored to death by professors" and "university graduate designed aeration system". ;-)

All jokes aside, apart from the lake the university is quite nice. Take a look by visiting my Taiwanese Universities album.


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