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31

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.


Third typhoon this month!

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:41

This weekend Taiwan is being hit by the third typhoon this month. While this is probably bad news for certain people (reportedly they snuck through just when the bridges were about to be closed), it's good news for many Taiwanese (and a handful of foreigners) with Monday syndrome: Tomorrow is a day off.

For me typhoons are tremendously more interesting than the Swiss autumn storms I'm used to. I enjoy going out to see which tea stores and restaurants remain open (quite a few) and take some pictures here and there. I'm still waiting for a flying cow but the following is an impressive start:

(I apologize for the lousy image quality. One of these days I'm going to get a new, waterproof camera that takes good pictures at night.)

More pictures in my gallery ...


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. ;-)


Five steep fingers

posted by Martin Rubli at 13:08

Now that the rainy season is coming to an end and we've just narrowly escaped the Wind God (the name of the last Typhoon in the area), it's a good time to go biking. Slightly hot with 30 °C and more but the temperature is not the biggest problem. It's the legs.

We were planning to climb 五指山 (Five finger mountain) after a little warm-up trip to 關西 (Guanxi) and back but it turns out the 50 km I had already done were a little too much to attack one of the steepest mountains in the area.

Anyway, we'll try again soon, and with a little luck one of these days there will be pictures of a nice view on my website. In the meantime, you can check out two photos I took while waiting for my friend and the map to go with it. :-)

Five Finger Mountain album


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