The Whiteloft was originally an abandoned villa where only wild dogs go to sleep. Buried deep in silver grass, just alongside the Golden Waterfront of Hongshulin, Taipei, the building hovers the Interzone between metropolis and mangrove jungle. Humdrum pedestrians seem oblivious of this colossal fortress: its skeleton rusted and exposed, leftover building materials strewn astray. Despite its shroud of mangrove leaves, the building appears raw and naked. We tried to find historical records about this building, but found nothing but total blankness, hence the name The Whiteloft.
On my way from breakfast to coffee I noticed this pile of scrap metal at a construction site just off Tingzhou Road Section 3 汀州路三段 in Zhōngzhèng District 中正區. Like many streets in Taipei 台北 this one is named after a place in China, in this case an alternate name for Changting 長汀, a Hakka majority area in Fujian. There’s no more interesting story to tell; mostly I’m posting it to add to my collection of abstract photographs like this one.
Taiwan 台灣 by night is a completely different beast, especially on two wheels. In recent weeks I have spent many a night pedaling around with no specific destination in mind, following the flow of traffic as it courses through the veins and arteries of Taipei 台北 and the sprawling ring of satellite cities administered as Xīnběi (New Taipei) 新北.
Much of Taipei is actually somewhat boring to cycle around late at night so I have been making frequent forays across the Xindian River 新店溪 to Yǒnghé 永和 and Zhōnghé 中和, two places with far more going on after dark. The streets in these places are often way busier than the broad, segregated thoroughfares of Taipei proper.
It amazes me how scooters in liquid phase slip into the smallest gaps between idling cars to fill all available space at major intersections in Taiwan 台灣. Occasionally I find myself absolutely walled in at these crossings—flesh and bone momentarily locked in a grim, mechanical embrace. And then the signal changes and we’re all off to the next light up ahead, jostling for control of tiny scraps of asphalt in a seemingly endless neon metropolis.
I captured this incandescent light bulb at Pica Pica Cafe 喜鵲咖啡 in Taipei 台北 the other night for no other reason than it reminded me of the album artwork for Download’s III. This is really pushing the limits of what my cruddy smartphone camera is capable of. I’d love to get better gear for casual snapshots like this but it’s out of the question at the moment. These are lean times.
I was wandering through the crooked alleyways of Yǒnghé 永和 on my way to brunch earlier this week when I noticed a weathered emblem affixed to an old door. I stopped to take a picture, appreciating how worn both of these things have become in time.
The Chinese character featured in the middle of the sign is chūn 春, or spring, the season. Less obvious are the four characters at the top, fùguì yǒuyú 富貴有餘, an expression that loosely translates to “wealth and abundance” (if Google is to be trusted). While searching for more information I found that the last character is sometimes replaced by “fish”, or yú 魚, a homonym, or left out altogether (as this sound is implied by the design).
On the way back from Hsinchu 新竹 a few weeks ago I stopped to appreciate the view in the small aboriginal hamlet of Xīkǒutái 溪口台 on the south side of the vast Shihmen Reservoir 石門水庫, home of the Rahaw (or Takan) people, members of the Atayal tribe. There wasn’t that much to see apart from a long row of houses and, on the near side of the main road, this clothesline stretched out against a concrete wall. The doll caught my eye, of course, so I snapped a quick shot just as an old lady stepped out of the house to take it down. We looked at each other, shared a smile, and I continued on my way.