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An Abandoned Courtyard House in Shalu

Shalu sanheyuan gateway
Old brick gateway to a traditional courtyard house in Shalu.

Last February I went on a productive day trip around Taichung 台中 without any particular destination in mind. After visiting an abandoned anti-airborne fortification on Dadushan and the eerie Wansheng Zizhu Monastery I breezed through Shālù 沙鹿 on the way to Wuqi Old Street 梧棲老街. While making a pitstop at a 7-Eleven on the side of the highway I noticed what looked like an old Qing dynasty building building obscured by some foliage and went to take a quick peek. Traditional courtyard homes, or sānhéyuàn 三合院, are an ubiquitous feature of rural Taiwan 台灣 and yet another thing I regularly document wherever I go—and this one is unusually striking with its red brick archway.

Wansheng Zizhu Monastery 萬聖紫竹寺

Wansheng Zizhu Monastery 萬聖紫竹寺
A gleaming white anomaly flanked by two half-finished buildings.

Wànshèng Zǐzhú Monastery 萬聖紫竹寺 is an unusually austere temple located on the seaward slope of the Dadu Plateau 大肚台地 in Shālù 沙鹿, Taichung 台中. At first I assumed it was abandoned, for there was absolutely nobody around when I visited. The main hall is in an obvious state of disrepair and the two flanking buildings remain unfinished. After wandering into both altars I left with more questions than answers. Apart from the Pǔtuóshān White Temple 普陀山白衣道場 it isn’t at all like most other temples I’ve seen in Taiwan 台灣.

Taichung Airport 台中航空站

Taichung international airport departures hall on Chinese New Year
The departures hall at Taichung international. No line-ups, no hassles.

Taichung Airport 台中航空站 is the smallest of Taiwan’s three international airports but also one of the most convenient for visa runs to Hong Kong 香港, among other places. Technically it is located in Shālù 沙鹿, somewhat out of the way from Taichung City 台中市 proper, but not terribly inaccessible.