Not long after returning to Taiwan 台灣 last year I received an invitation from the ubiquitous Mr. LoveGod to go road tripping down to Hsinchu 新竹 to check out an abandoned theme park. Along the way we stopped off to check out a derelict cablecar station and the restored Héxìng Station 合興車站 before arriving at the gateway to Golden Birds Paradise 金鳥海族樂園. Located in the rolling hills of Hsinchu 新竹 not far from the border Táoyuán 桃園, it was among the most extensive and well-known theme parks of northern Taiwan 台灣 at its peak in the 1990s. Business faltered with the rise of new forms of entertainment in the 2000s and from what I can tell it was completely abandoned nearly a decade ago. Most of the amusement park rides were torn out and probably sold for scrap metal long ago—but many of the original buildings remain, neglected and overgrown.
Kànzǐdǐng Fish Market 崁仔頂漁市場 is allegedly the longest-running operation of its kind in northern Taiwan 台灣. Back in the Japanese colonial era the market was located along the banks of the Xùchuān River 旭川河 in Keelung 基隆, formerly a navigable channel running through the downtown core into the harbour. The Japanese built a pier in the late 1920s, making it easy for fishermen to offload their catch next to the market, and convenient access to the railway network encouraged its growth.
Recently my work on this blog was featured in an article by Nien Ping Yu 于念平 for the Chinese language web magazine BIOS Monthly. The article, loosely translated as Canadian Cultural Blogger: Even Unremarkable Places Have History (加拿大文化部落客: 再平凡的地方都有歷史), was based on a sprawling conversation we had in person rather than an email questionnaire. Mostly we spoke about themes and practices commonly seen on this blog: discovering history through the exploration of lost and neglected places, revealing intriguing connections through observations of synchronicity, and using photography as a documentarian medium rather than focusing solely on aesthetic appeal.
Several of my original photographs are featured in the article, some of which have already appeared on this blog (for example Fugang Old Street 富岡老街 and Changhua Roundhouse 彰化扇形車庫) along with others yet to be published (mostly from the infamous Fuhe Grand Theater 福和大戲院 in Yǒnghé 永和). Other adventures referenced in the text include forthcoming material about Dadong Theater 大東戲院 in Zhōnglì 中壢 and the Liuzhangli Muslim Cemetery 六張犁的回教公墓 here in Taipei 台北.
I was on my way out for lunch yesterday in Taichung 台中 when I stopped to check the radar as I usually do. It’s a good thing I did, for there was a huge spring storm moving up from Changhua 彰化. With rooftop access to a residential high-rise on the north side of the city I had some fun taking these pictures of the oncoming storm.
This is an old picture from 2013 that I never got around to posting for one reason or another. I captured this dusky scene while taking a spin up to Shèzidǎo 社子島 on what was—at that time—my new bike. I am not entirely sure where this was shot but it’s probably somewhere along Yánpíng Riverside Park 延平河濱公園 in Dàtóng District 大同區, pretty much the same place I captured this photograph on my first visit to Taipei 台北. The distinctive bridge on the horizon is the New Taipei Bridge 新北大橋, built in 2010, and that would be Sānchóng 三重 off to the right.
Not far from Taipei 101 and the heart of Taipei’s central business district there lies an ulcerous anomaly on the supine body of the endless city. It would be impossible to miss this abandonment, for a wild riot of plant life traces its angular outlines, and an unusual assortment of graffiti lines the arcade along Keelung Road 基隆路. I regularly ride by here on my way to various working cafes further afield and naturally couldn’t resist taking a look inside one day. I have not puzzled out the exact name and history of this ruin but now have a rather strong suspicion that it was once a hāodàisuǒ 招待所 or guest house—hence the name.
I resided in Zhōnglì 中壢, Táoyuán 桃園, for two months at the very end of 2015 for reasons outlined in my first dispatch. In short: I wanted to try out living in another city in Taiwan 台灣 and had a few good friends in the area, one of whom is fellow Canadian blogger Josh Ellis. In my time in Zhongli I captured numerous scenes from everyday life in this burgeoning conurbation of half a million. This post is meant to convey a sense of what it was like to live there for a while—just as I previously did for my time in Wenshan District, Taipei 台北. It is not meant to be a comprehensive guide or a review; think of this as a loose collection of snapshots and impressions of a middling Taiwanese city not commonly documented in English.
Gathered here are several photographs from a brief walk around 1933 Shanghai (上海1933老场坊), an unusual slaughterhouse in Hóngkǒu 虹口, part of the former Shanghai International Settlement. Designed by a British architect in an arguably Art Deco style and built with imported cement in 1933, it was recently renovated and transformed into a hub for the creative industries. Seeing as how this is Shànghǎi 上海, several high-quality English language articles have already been published about it, so I will hereby refer you to Atlas Obscura, Shanghai Art Deco, Mas Context, Randomwire, and La Casa Park for more information and informed analysis.
Yesterday I was on my way to check out 1933 Shanghai 上海1933老场坊, a restored Art Deco slaughterhouse in Hóngkǒu 虹口, when I stumbled upon a compact neighbourhood in the process of being torn down, part of an ongoing process of urban renewal in Shanghai. Every year more of these old areas are torn down, their residents forcibly evicted, and new high-rises and shopping malls go up in their place. My time in Shànghǎi 上海 is too short to allow for any measure of expertise to grow—so all I have to share here are a few photos and some comments from a quick walk around (and through) the block.