Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This was the best day I've had for ages, I should head outdoors more often. In fact, let's all move out of the dirty, congested cities into the beautiful countryside. We'll have to bring the factories, cars and 7-Elevens with us, obviously, but I can't see any problems in my flawless plan.

East Taiwan is fantastic by the way.

Taroko Gorge

I took infinity photos of this four million year old geological beauty and will doubtless have many hours of fun vicariously reliving today. Who said cameras were pointless? Oh yeah, it was me.

Against this backdrop, I really felt like I was in Jurassic Park or Lost, risking my life on a semi-perilous winding road where I was more likely to be killed by colourful tour buses than Velociraptors or… whatever that smoke thing turned out to be in the end.

You probably can't tell visually, but the air is incredibly fresh too. It brought back fond memories of Vesuvius - just with a little less sulphur.

Not a volcano

What do people have against walking anyway? Whichever country I'm in (including yours), people automatically give me directions for buses or taxis like they're a human version of Google Maps (often with equally unreliable directions). Are we really in such a hurry that we think any walk more than 20 minutes in length eats too much into our valuable gym time?

Still, I wish my rejections of cheating motorised transport weren't always so knee-jerk, as it meant I turned down the offer of 'a ride' from a disarmingly attractive Taiwanese girl today (is there any other kind?) Even though she presumably didn't mean it in the Scottish sense of the phrase (she was riding a scooter at the time, not winking/pouting suggestively), I still felt disappointed in myself. And that's all I felt.

Well excuse me for finding the mountain + clouds combination endlessly appealing

You want diversity? Here's a boring dam

Ning-an Bridge

Weird how nature can be so accommodating


What a lovely place to build a pagoda! There are some big statues too. Almost as big as this guy. But size isn't everything… right?

Heaven Summit Pagoda (Tian Feng)

Who said my photos lacked artistic merit?
Oh yeah, it was me

Earth Store Bodhisattva

Dave W meets the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

Dave W encounters the wall of words
(Did this really happen, or was it an anxiety dream about my shit Chinese?)


Today was largely an accident, with none of the places I stopped at being precisely what I thought they were. In the case of Tianxiang this was a nice diversion, but Buluowan was less impressive - seemingly a corporate initiative to sell a sentimentalised view of Taiwan's native aboriginal community to tourists, that makes Native American casino reservations look culturally authentic.

Gee, authentic!

Dave W goes native
Don't be too enthusiastic or anything

Meander core

Eternal Spring Shrine

Taroko is far too big and interesting to tackle in one day, and I was lucky to chance across this site on the walk back down to the Visitor Centre, but didn't have time to check it out properly. It's significant etc!

(Update: I went back)

Eternal Spring Shrine

Gorge valley

If I visit this place again (what's stopping me?), I'll try to do the stuff I missed, like walking across unnecessarily perilous rope bridges and encountering plenty of dangerous critters. My only close encounter was with a totally rubbish snake, which got so scared at the sight of me that it fell from where it was slithering and tumbled all the way down the grassy hill. The clumsy green idiot. They've really gone downhill since Genesis.

Don't fear the rubbish snake


  1. Bah! I tried to find a way to send you an e-mail, but couldn't, so I have to ask you this through this comment. Hope it comes through.

    I used the great picture of you by the wall of words/signs as an illustration of the language barrier, something I wrote about on my own blog, The Modern Nomad.

    Is this OK? I included a notice that I got the image from you and included a link back here. If this is not OK, let me know and I'll take down the image.

    Where is it? Here: http://www.themodernnomad.com/2012/the-language-barrier/

    1. Good to hear I'm hard to track down! You're welcome to use anything you like, thanks for the reference. I'll check out your website more when I have free time and airlines stop stealing my days.