OSB in maintenance mode

Long time no post. Late last year my camera broke and I’ve been meaning to make the trip to get it fixed. Simultaneously, without a camera to record my blogging mojo has gone out the window.

Plan is to go and drop it off for repair later this week, but before I get back to publishing I’m going to overhaul the theme OSB uses. So that’ll come first and then getting back to content.

I think like much of the English-speaking Taiwan blog authors I’ve just been bogged down with life here. Not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just there aren’t enough hours in the day.

On the recent student protests, I didn’t go down (no point with my camera broken) but did stay up and watch it on tv (CTV) till I fell asleep around 6-7am.

What I can say is anyone who didn’t see it all unfold live didn’t get the full story. The subsequent media coverage doesn’t do the 10-12 hours of absolute mayhem that unfolded justice.

I do regret not getting the camera fixed earlier but that can’t be helped now. Give me another month or so and I should be back in action.

In the meantime Turton’s doing a good job covering what’s going on, so I’d encourage people to keep up to date there in addition to the usual English news outlets.

Huge-ass old Kraz truck in Toufen

Here in Taiwan we don’t need no stinkin’ time machines, just head off out into the townships and step back in time.


Initially I thought the “V” on the grill was a Volvo or Volkswagen design (I’m not all that knowledgeable on old trucks and who made them), but after researching bit found that the distinct V grill-design belonged to that of Kraz.


Kraz is a Russian truck company founded in 1945 during the Soviet Union era. Initially a construction company, they began manufacturing trucks in 1959. [Read the rest of this entry...]

DaPu Dam (大埔水庫) @ Emei Lake, Hsinchu


Emei Lake is a relatively quiet tourist spot down in southern Hsinchu. We went out on the bicycles looking for somewhere leisurely to ride around, but instead found a large mess of disjointed paths that didn’t really lead to anywhere in particular. As we tried to navigate our way through the mess, one of things we stumbled on was a neat little reservoir dam.

At one end of Emei Lake (also referred to as Tai or DaPu reservoir), the path sort of curves around and opens up to DaPu Dam:


Something about giant concrete structures clashing with the natural setting they intrude upon always catches my eye. I guess it’s a reminder of the direct impact we can have on our environments, for better or worse. [Read the rest of this entry...]

Qiding bathing beach engrish fail

Some engrish signs in Taiwan I get. Not in the sense of I get why the sign exists, but I can at least figure out what they were going for. Then there’s the ones that leave me completely confused.

We were heading down to explore the coast of Miaoli near Qiding, when we ran across one such example: [Read the rest of this entry...]

Is this the most lavish house in Miaoli?

When I think Miaoli I think dingy little streets, run-down grey ghettos and all manner of “anything goes”. Not of all the county embodies this but, although perhaps a tad harsh, I do think it’s a reasonably accurate summation of Miaoli’s architectural standards (not withstanding the general commonality throughout Taiwan).

With that in mind, it was hardly the place I expected to find one of the most lavish looking abodes I’ve seen in Taiwan yet. [Read the rest of this entry...]

Tongjing Village tourism fail

Any time I see English on a tourism sign in Taiwan I wholly appreciate it. When you’re out exploring, there’s nothing worse than coming across a bunch of signs you know lead off to places of interest in an area and not understanding any of it.

What usually follows is a crapshoot and exhausting search of Chinese language signs till you finally get to whichever of the mystery options you picked. Not fun.

On the other hand, sometimes when English features on a tourist sign, even then it’s not all that helpful. Situated at the entrance to Tongjing Village in Miaoli is one cluster of signs.

From a distance they look innocent enough:

tourism sign fail tongjing village miaoli

But edge closer and you’re in for a bit of head scratching. [Read the rest of this entry...]

Mag Freak in Ximen: How is this not child porn?

So it’s Chinese New Year here in Taiwan and in savouring the last few days of my January blogging break (apologies), I’ve been out and about.

In search of dinner, the other night I found myself walking the streets of the Japanese wannabe district Ximending. That’s when my eyes were assaulted by this:

child porn posters mag freak ximending taipei taiwan

Conservative Taiwan, eat your heart out. [Read the rest of this entry...]

Emei Bridge and lookout, Sanwan Township


If you’re heading out of Toufen via Route 3 (Zhongzheng Rd), after heading east and just before you hit Sanwan Township proper to the south, you’ll come across Emei Bridge and a neat little lookout.

Nothing more than an unceremonious crossing into one of the outer borough neighbourhoods of Sanwan, Emei Bridge is still easily enough to spot from the main highway.


We crossed the bridge over to the neighbourhood on the otherside as there was some local event going on. Lots of music and eating on big banquet tables etc. [Read the rest of this entry...]

Da Hua Temple (大化宮), Toufen Township

The first thing you’ll notice about Da Hua Temple is it’s not all that welcoming entrance:


By all appearances, the closed roller-shutter gives the impression that the temple is closed. Nothing to see here, move along now.

A bit of nosiness on our part though revealed that in order to access the temple, you need to climb one of the staircases on either side of the roller door (mind the googley-eyed guardian lions!).


Apparently there’s an eating hall area behind the door which the temple only opens when there’s a community banquet going on.

A bit of a strange design sure, but definitely not the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a Taiwanese temple.

Climbing the stairs (I forget whether we took the left or right (probably the right as that’s traditionally how you enter a temple), we passed this neatly detailed concrete carving: [Read the rest of this entry...]

Green tea in dog food?

When I first got Leela I wasn’t overly choosy about what food we fed her. My general rule of thumb was to avoid the supermarket brands and aim somewhere in the middle of what the pet stores were pushing.

One day a friend of ours brought over a bag of dog food their dog wasn’t eating and without so much as giving it a second glance, I put it over with Leela’s other bag of food.

Then when it came time to feed… I noticed that this particular food had green tea in it.


“Lamb and rice with green tea“?

Hmm. [Read the rest of this entry...]

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