Pictured here are two young Mormon missionaries pushing their weird religion on someone stuck at an intersection in Fēngyuán 豐原, Taichung 台中. This is not accidental—missionaries actively target people at long lights, endangering themselves and everyone else on the road in the process. Taiwanese people are generally too polite and conflict-averse to tell these delusional clowns where to go—but I’m not, on the odd occasion they dare to make a play for my immortal soul. Sorry, it’s already taken…
Today I was surprised to see a small group of Muslims at the entrance to Xīméntīng 西門町, a popular entertainment and shopping district in the northern part of Wànhuá District 萬華區 in Taipei 台北. The area around exit 6 of Ximen Station is more commonly used for busking, not political demonstrations, and is always busy with pedestrian traffic during the day. It isn’t common to see anything like this in Taiwan 台灣 so I stopped to see what was going on.
The gloomy weather, mountainous topography, and bustling container port make Keelung the darkest city in Taiwan 台灣. Nowhere else on the island will you see such open displays of vice and iniquity, nor will you find such a dense concentration of allegedly haunted ruins. Moreover, the urban landscape is a contorted mess of concrete and tile buildings, pedestrian overpasses, underground passages, and covered alleyways. It has the mark of a place where the planners set down a grid and let people do whatever they wanted within each square. Much like Kowloon 九龍, it is a city to be explored at multiple levels—to get the most out of it you have to try every stairway leading up or down, walk down every cramped lane, and step through every open doorway.
Despite the preponderance of abandoned buildings in Taiwan 台灣 there are very few examples of ruined temples to be found (with one notable exception). I don’t know for certain but I suspect that most temples, when abandoned, are completely demolished. An abandoned temple would probably bring bad luck to a community.