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From 101 to a freak show


NEWS
November 23, 2007/10.21


[Cross-posted] These are some photos from Taiwan, some taken for a friend to whom I promised I would send oddball pics. Let’s begin:

Jiji freak show

   Jiji is the end of the line if you’re heading south from Taipei, and this is the local freak show. There is a Gremlin (not AMC, but Spielberg) and a caged pig outside. I didn’t go in: the signage was too off-putting. But it stands true that small country towns have some weird things.

Taichung at night

   Taichung is the second largest city in Taiwan. This isn’t the best pic, but since I was staying in the tallest building in town, the Hotel One, I had to attempt to shoot something from a high floor. Embarrassing admission: I forgot my room number and had to go to reception to ask. The floors all looked the same, but boy was this a good hotel. The ergonomic seats are the best I encountered on my trip.

Kiss my ass furniture store

   I didn’t spend much time in Nantou and only had lunch there. Across from the restaurant was this strange furniture store logo. Look closely: it’s a guy with his pants pulled down. No, there is no particular significance to this in Chinese.

Giant wiener guarding display

   I expected to meet some aboriginal Taiwanese in Alishan but didn’t. However, I did see some of their art. This giant wiener is supposedly a guardian against evil female spirits, or so the tale went. Now we all knew what 48 inches looked like.

Love jade uncle

   The chap in the middle was a wonderful man who served us love jade fruit. His aim wasn’t to get tourists: he wanted to make friends, and just hosts strange foreigners like me (and some of the journos who were with me here) now that he’s retired. This was in the Alishan mountains, where the local tourism department really went all out for us and had a photographer follow us around.

Top of 101 from outside deck 1

   While atop the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101, I snapped this. Obviously, I wasn’t totally atop if there were a few floors to go. This was from the observation deck—the outside one where clouds literally came at you (no exaggeration at all) and the winds were like, well, Wellington. The winds felt like 50 mph up there and I was worried that it would blow the things out of my pockets.
   What is it with November? Last year I was up the Tour Eiffel, this year it’s 101.

KMT soldier

   If you’re an overseas Chinese, you would probably feel a bit patriotic seeing this sculpture by Ju Ming of a KMT soldier in World War II garb. The Juming Museum is an outdoor museum that hosts works primarily by Ju Ming, but features other artists as well. Ju Ming seems to have a bit of a fixation on the military and some of his soldiers held sculpted Chinese flags.

Computer markets in Taipei 2

   Finally, what is a trip to Taiwan if you don’t get to check out the high-tech stuff? The computer-geek district has plenty on offer, including DVDs, but I found the prices of the gear on a par with New Zealand. You can even find old American films with Jimmy Stewart, but if you are after some classic Hong Kong flicks, then think again. I picked up one DVD here (Rob-B-Hood, with Jackie Chan) for a very low price and no, it wasn’t pirated.
   More in a future Lucire and with pics from my film camera.

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Filed by Jack Yan

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