Fùshuǐ Village 富水里 is located on a small parcel of land at the southern edge of Zhongzheng District 中正區, Taipei 台北, 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.
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 Pingtung City 屏東市. 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 Pingtung 屏東, the southernmost division of Taiwan 台灣.
Bicycle touring is one of the best ways to experience Taiwan 台灣. 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 Taiwan 台灣. 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 Kenting 墾丁 to Taitung City 台東市 that year—so the chance to explore the backroads of Pingtung 屏東 at a more relaxed pace really appealed to me. I started my journey in Tainan 台南, my favourite city in Taiwan 台灣, and cycled through Kaohsiung 高雄 to Pingtung City 屏東市, 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 is one of more than 800 military dependents’ villages (Chinese: juàncūn 眷村) built in Taiwan 台灣 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 China 中国 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 Zhongzheng District 中正區, Taipei 台北, which was forcibly abandoned only a couple of years ago as part of a wave of urban renewal projects sweeping the nation.
Jiānglíng New Village 江陵新村 was one of more than 800 military dependents’ village in Taiwan 台灣 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 Taipei 台北 city limits in the northern part of Xindian 新店. 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.
Now that I know how to find and identify military dependents’ villages in Taiwan 台灣 I tend to stop off and check out any new ones I see in my travels. Last week while roaming around West Taichung 台中市西區 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.
Fú 福 is the Chinese character for luck and good fortune that commonly appears on the entrances to homes all across the Sinosphere. This particular example comes from the door to a home in the recently abandoned military dependents’ village of Jiahe New Village 嘉禾新村 in Zhongzheng District 中正區, Taipei 台北.
I was riding along the riverside bikeway in Taipei 台北 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.
A month ago I embarked upon a day trip to Zuoying 左營 to check out the famous temples and pagodas of Lotus Pond 蓮池潭, one of the main tourist attractions of greater Kaohsiung 高雄. 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.
Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村 is a small roadside attraction in Taichung 台中. 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).