Eternal Spring Shrine, Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park, Hualien, east coast of Taiwan

Taroko National Park near Hualien on the east coast of Taiwan is definitely worth a visit. I joined a group organised by Hualien Wow Hostel (press here for their details) and spent a day exploring the marble walled gorge with the Liwu River carving it’s way through.

Inside the gorge Eternal Spring Shrine Park was built to honour the hundreds of workmen who died building Highway 8 across the country from east the west. It also faces the East Gate archway, the entrance to the highway. During typhoon season water would be gushing down the hills and a fast rapid flowing river with dangerous currents shifting boulders along the way. You can make out on the hills how the water has eroded it’s pathways over thousands of years.

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Chiang Kai Shek Hal

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is a symbol of Taiwan

This grand Memorial Hall was built in memory of President Chiang Kai Shek who died in 1975.  He was a former Chinese political and military leader under the Chinese Nationalist Party, but was defeated by Chairman Mao in the civil war, so he fled to Taiwan and helped make Taiwan what it is today .

The Memorial Hall, Taipei, is located at the end of a large square an area of 240,000 square meters. Close to the western entrance is the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall.

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Good place to catch up with the gossip on the MRT

Taking the MRT on a cold drizzly day in March in Taipei, Taiwan

Taking the MRT on a cloudy damp cold grey drizzly day in March in Taipei, Taiwan. ​I’d forgotten as it’s been so long since I’ve experienced this type of weather, how it might have an affect on how you approach the day and I chose to roll over and have another hour of sleep​!​ Then I was prepared for whatever was in​ ​front of me. It got me thinking about the different countries I’ve been to and how the lack of sun affects the physiology of people and ​h​ow ​approachable they are to a stranger​. My conclusion is simple; people smile more in the sun. They’re more content. The pace of life is slower. There’s no rushing around. There’s a lack of urgency yes, but things generally tend to get done. That’s not to say they’re less happy but outwardly they appear so.

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Typical teapot in a Taiwanese teahouse.

Taiwanese Tea to tempt the taste buds in Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwanese Tea to tempt the taste buds in Taipei, Taiwan. Tea is a ritual in the many teahouses in Taiwan. We chose Artyard (press here for their link) on Dihua Street, Datong District, which since the latter part of the 19th century has been an important centre for commerce in Taiwanese products such as Chinese medicines and herbs, fabrics, incense and tea. The street is a mixture of old concrete communist Chinese box type buildings and beautiful sculptured Japanese interesting frontage buildings.

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Night scene

Waking up in Taipei, northern Taiwan on a cold grey morning

I was woken by the shaking of my bed and room and realised it was a tremor after last week’s earthquake north of Taipei. It didn’t really registered and I rolled over to try to get warm inside my duvet but it was so cold. I’d moved from 36°c in Thailand to about 12°c over night in Taipei.  The old gloomy concrete Chinese buildings were not built for cold weather so I have no idea what the residents do in mid winter to keep warm.

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Parades in Chiang Mai

You’re a foreigner in the land of smiles

I’m a foreigner in the land of smiles, Thailand, and white caucasians are given the nickname Farang though you might hear Falang as Thais struggle with the ‘r’s.  It’s not meant to be derogatory, though this can depend on the context as the older white haired men hanging around the bars have discovered. Actually the Thais cannot pronounce foreigner, as some English pronunciations are extremely difficult for them, (likewise for us with some of the Thai sounds) so over many years it come out as Farang. For more information on Farang press here

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