Alien Underworld

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What wonders will be found in this strange place?

I haven’t spent much time in over the years so I somewhat arbitrarily decided to stop there one night in February 2017 while making my way north from . Hotels are cheap and regular train service is about half the cost of high-speed rail so I figured it wasn’t costing me much to take it slow. After enjoying some famous turkey rice in one of the main tourist night markets I wandered around to reacquaint myself with the layout of the place. Not far from the traffic circle east of Chiayi Station I noticed the entrance to an electronic gaming den with an amusing name: ET歡樂世界, literally “Extraterrestrial Happy World”.

A Derelict Entertainment Complex in Zhongli

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Deciphering the names of twin theaters in an abandoned entertainment complex in Zhongli.

Among the many disused and movie of is a massive entertainment complex home to twin cinemas: Qīnqīn Grand Theater 親親大戲院 and Láilái Grand Theater 來來大戲院. Located immediately across from the former Sogo department store in the heart of downtown, it remains unexplored insofar as I know. Several businesses still operate out of the ground floor of this hulking ruin and they don’t take kindly to strangers mucking about in search of an entrance to the upper levels.

Outside the Zhongying Recreational Building 中英育樂大樓

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Outside the distinctive Zhongying Recreational Building in Taichung.

Zhōngyīng Recreational Building 中英育樂大樓 is one of many distinctive and iconic ruins in the urban blight surrounding Taichung Station 臺中車站 in central . It was once a bustling commercial center but it fell into disrepair in the 1990s around the time that a series of fires left a total of seven people dead. With its fortunes in steep decline the building became a haven for the homeless—which is why the upper levels and basement have been sealed off.

Space Roller, Chiang Mai

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An oblique view of the abandoned Space Roller arcade.

Space Roller is an abandoned rollerskating rink not far from the Arcade Bus Station on the northeastern outskirts of , . I dropped in to check it out in January 2016 after reading about it online, possibly here, and was impressed with the scale of the place. It is big, taking up the better part of a city block, with several unfinished add-ons extending into the urban wilderness on either side. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of credible information about Space Roller in English so this post will consist primarily of photos of what I found in about half an hour of skulking around in the shadows.

Rooftop Reflections at the Qianyue Building 千越大樓

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Reflections on the rooftop of the Qianyue Building 千越大樓.

Today I climbed to the top of the Qiānyuè Building 千越大樓, an infamous ruin within sight of the central train station in . I was up there to get a view of the mountains to the east—and perhaps a glimpse of the oncoming storm—but the horizon was a blur. Instead I turned my lens to a pool of rainwater, capturing a reflection of the “UFO” on top of the building. This was actually a rotating karaoke bar before it almost burned down years ago. I wonder how it’ll fare in when Typhoon Nepartak arrives later tonight?

Qing Dynasty Arcade

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A discarded video game machine in back alley Hsinchu.

I found an old video game machine discarded in the back alleys of the other day. I was walking by a street-side fruit stand when I noticed the stark outlines of an older building in a small laneway to one side. Stopping to explore, I found a storeroom for the fruit stand—and behind that, another abandonment, this time dating back to Qing dynasty times by the look of the distinctive bricks on the wall. I wonder what possessed anyone to dump this lone machine in such a place? Now just imagine plugging it in and seeing all the lights switch on again—it’s almost like the plot of some strange, fantastical film where the protagonist is then sucked into a secret world of the imagination.

Qianyue Building 千越大樓

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Outside the Qianyue Building, one of Taiwan’s most infamous ruins.

The Qiānyuè Building 千越大樓 is one of in central . Located only a short distance from Taichung Station 台中車站, it is impossible to miss if you bother to look up at some point while walking deeper into the city. This mixed-use commercial and residential high-rise was originally built in the 1970s and, thanks to its location at the very heart of the famous Taichung Electronics Street 台中電子街商圈, reached its apex during the consumer electronics boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Douliumen Building 斗六門大樓

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An abandoned entertainment complex not far from Douliu Station.

While living down in last winter I made occasional forays up and down the TRA Western Line 西部幹線 to check out several places that aren’t often written about in English. One such place is , the administrative seat of , which hardly earns more than a passing mention in the English language blogosphere. It was a worthwhile trip too—apart from the famous Tàipíng Old Street 太平老街 (to be blogged about at a future date) and the surprisingly large and lively Douliu Night Market 斗六夜市 I also chanced upon another hulking ruin to add to : the Dòuliùmén Building 斗六門大樓, an archaic name for the area that dates back to the 17th century.

United Bowling Alley 統一保齡球館

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A gaping hole in the rooftop at one end of the old bowling alley.

, like many cities in , is a dark and sickly wonderland for urban exploration. You can hardly turn around without sighting yet another hulking ruin calling out to be entered. Most of these buildings are so decrepit that little remains to indicate what its purpose once was—a direct consequence of Keelung’s incessant rain and gloom. The process of decay works at a feverish pace in this grim port city, rapidly eroding evidence of human occupation in any abandonment exposed to the elements.

Qiaoyou supplemental

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The rickety ladder leading up to the very top of the Qiaoyou Building.

Recently I posted my full exploration of the Qiaoyou Building 喬友大廈, a towering ruin in the heart of . It was a big building and I ended up capturing many more photographs than I ended up sharing there. Here, in this post, I’d like to share a few more photos I captured in black and white. I have also included a couple of images demonstrating how I digitally restore photographic negatives I find in the ruins (a technique discussed in more detail here). If you’re curious about this building be sure to see the original post.