A Stroll Through Fushui Village 富水里

Old homes in an abandoned section next to Jiahe New Village.

Fùshuǐ Village 富水里 is located on a small parcel of land at the southern edge of , , just to the west of Gōnggǔan Station 公館站. Technically the village contains the now-abandoned Jiahe New Village 嘉禾新村, a military dependents’ village previously profiled on this blog, but most common uses of the name refer to the illegal settlement running along Yǒngchūn Street 永春街, just inside the riverside wall. This settlement of around a hundred homes, like nearby Treasure Hill 寶藏巖, was supposed to be destroyed around the turn of the millennium, but plans have gone awry, and its fate remains unclear.

South Taiwan Ride 2015: Pingtung City

Moody skies over a market in downtown Pingtung City.

One of the pleasures of bicycle touring in Taiwan is the freedom to change plans on impulse. On my second day of a trip down south in June 2015, having previously cycled across Kaohsiung from Tainan, I opted to hang out and see more of . A dire weather forecast calling for bouts of torrential rain had already introduced some uncertainty but I was also curious about this city of 200,000, about which almost nothing is written in English. Finding an interesting place to stay sealed the deal—and so I checked out of a grimy hotel near the train station after breakfast, moved my stuff to the new place, and spent the day exploring the administrative center of , the southernmost division of .

South Taiwan Ride 2015: Tainan to Pingtung City

Riding through the countryside in southern . This looks remarkably like the area near where I grew up.

Bicycle touring is one of the best ways to experience . I don’t have an opportunity to go touring as much as I’d like but managed to find some time last year, in June of 2015, to embark upon a multi-day bicycle trip around southern . My intention was to cover some of the same territory that I had rushed through on my first bicycle trip down south in 2013. I ended up racing a typhoon from to that year—so the chance to explore the backroads of at a more relaxed pace really appealed to me. I started my journey in , my favourite city in , and cycled through to , putting about 70 kilometers behind me. Gathered here are some photos from the first day of this trip, continued here.

Jiahe New Village 嘉禾新村

Immediately outside the main gate to Jiahe New Village.

Jiahe New Village 嘉禾新村 is one of more than 800 military dependents’ villages (Chinese: juàncūn 眷村) built in in the late 1940s and 1950s to provide provisional housing for KMT soldiers and their families fleeing from the Chinese Civil War. Around two million people crossed the Taiwan Strait from from 1945 to 1949, bolstering an existing population of approximately seven million. More than 600,000 of these Chinese immigrants ended up in military villages like this one in , , which was forcibly abandoned only a couple of years ago as part of a wave of urban renewal projects sweeping the nation.

Jiangling New Village 江陵新村

Into the rewilding lands beyond the busy city streets.

Jiānglíng New Village 江陵新村 was one of more than 800 military dependents’ village in before its ultimate destruction in mid-2015. It was formerly located not far from the confluence of Jingmei River 景美溪 and Xindian River 新店溪 just outside city limits in the northern part of . Immediately to the south is an active military base of some kind—and the historic Jingmei Prison can be found on the opposite side of the nearest major intersection.

A Window Inside Shenji New Village 審計新村

Starry glass windows in an old military community in West Taichung.

Now that I know how to find and identify military dependents’ villages in I tend to stop off and check out any new ones I see in my travels. Last week while roaming around I made a quick visit to Shěnjì New Village 審計新村, an unusual military community not far from where I found that lilac mailbox I recently shared. Rather than the usual bungalows this village consists of almost American-style homes, most of them still in surprisingly good condition. This set of vintage windows on the upper levels caught my eye—and for this reason I’ll leave a small note here along with links to Chinese language blogs with more information here, here, and here.

Treasure Hill by day

The view from the riverside bikeway on a gorgeous September day.

I was riding along the riverside bikeway in the other day when I stopped to take this photograph of Treasure Hill 寶藏巖 (pinyin: Bǎozàngyán), an illegal hillside community recently transformed into an artist village. I wrote a little more about Treasure Hill in this piece about giant fortune cookies so I won’t repeat myself too much. Suffice to say, it’s a tremendously photogenic place and an interesting feature of the riverside park south of Gōngguǎn Station 公館站. It also has a dark side, but that’s a subject for another post.

The Old Walled City of Zuoying

Outside the north gate to the old walled city. This gate is formally known as Gongchen Gate 拱辰門.

A month ago I embarked upon a day trip to to check out the famous temples and pagodas of Lotus Pond 蓮池潭, one of the main tourist attractions of greater . Afterwards I wandered over to have a look at the old city of Zuoying 左營舊城, originally built in 1722 by the ruling Qing Dynasty in response to the many uprisings that regularly plagued Taiwan Prefecture.

A Glimpse Inside The Rainbow Village

Grandpa Rainbow’s home at Christmas time.

Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村 is a small roadside attraction in . It has enjoyed a fair amount of international exposure through blogs like Atlas Obscura, Oddity Central, and Street Art Utopia, which is understandable given how tremendously photogenic the place is. It’s almost too photogenic, actually—when I dropped by there were swarms of tourists taking photos and I hardly managed more than a single clean shot of my own (hence only having one decent picture to share).