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A Lantern Trio in Hsinchu County

Deep into Hsinchu County
Three oblong lanterns in a temple in Xinpu.

Apart from ghost buildings and abandoned theaters I also visited a number of temples while wandering around Xinpu 新埔 last week. I found these three lanterns hanging inside Guǎnghé Temple 廣和宮 and was struck by the stylish and confident brushstrokes for Hsinchu County 新竹縣 (pinyin: Xīnzhú Xiàn). Whether these lanterns were painted by hand or produced in a factory is unclear to my inexpert eyes; only in some small aspects do the characters appear to differ. Whatever the case, I was charmed by this display of hometown pride in small town Hsinchu 新竹.

Xinxing Theater 新興戲院

Xinxing Theater 新興戲院
Outside an abandoned movie theater in the small town of Xinpu.

Recently I visited Xinpu 新埔, a small Hakka town in the hills of Hsinchu 新竹, Taiwan 台灣, alongside fellow photographer and blogger Josh Ellis. I was curious to confirm reports of a historic theater along the former Entertainment Street 娛樂街 but the location in my notes was occupied by a construction site. Forging on, we continued down the road and were soon rewarded by the sight of something that I wasn’t expecting: Xīnxīng Theater 新興戲院. In hindsight it wouldn’t be an “entertainment street” without more than one cinema, would it?

Spaces In Between

Ghostly imprint in the in between
The ghostly imprint of a vanished building in Xinpu, Taiwan.

All angles aligned to create this sublime scene in the gaps of Xinpu 新埔, a small historic town in Hsinchu 新竹, Taiwan 台灣. This ghost building straddled the midpoint of the property line dividing the town in two. To the left are buildings facing north and front onto Chenggong Road 成功路, the traditional old street; to the right are those buildings that face south toward Zhongzheng Road 中正路, the main commercial thoroughfare running through modern Xinpu. From the position of the lower set of postholes—only slightly more than a meter from ground level—I would infer that a small storage shed once stood here, far back from the main road, but that’s only a guess. A quick scan of Google Street View’s history feature reveals that the now-demolished buildings fronting onto the street housed a pharmacy and general store so this hypothesis is at least plausible.

Taiwan Bicycle Tour 2013: Taipei to Zhubei

Leaving Taipei behind
Looking back along the riverside park in Wanhua on the way across the bridge to Banqiao.

This is an account of the first day of my bicycle tour around Taiwan. I began at the paifang outside Liberty Square 自由廣場 in Taipei 台北 and ended up in Zhúběi 竹北, a newly-built city just outside of Hsinchu 新竹, covering a distance of approximately 80 km, most of that after nightfall.