Recently I added yet another theater to my growing catalogue of old school cinemas in Taiwan 台灣: the derelict Dōng’ān Grand Theater 東安大戲院 in East Tainan 台南市東區. This theater opened in 1969 and closed its doors not long after the turn of the millennium, another victim of changing consumer habits. I wasn’t able to find a way inside this theater so this post only features a handful of exterior shots and some links I chanced upon after conducting preliminary research.
Not much remains of the original Qing dynasty era defensive fortifications of Tainan 台南. The Japanese tore almost everything down in a bid to modernize the city in the early 20th century. Four of the original gates survive in some capacity, among them Xiǎoxīmén 小西門, the small western gate. More formally known as Jìngbōmén 靖波門 (and commonly romanized as Jingpo Gate), it was dedicated in 1788, the 53rd year of the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, and bears the inscription: 乾隆五十三年, literally “Qianlong 53 year”). It is the youngest of the three surviving inner gates of the old city.
Xunfang Fortress 巽方砲台 is another obscure historic site in Tainan 台南 that I found while digging into the archives of the excellent Tainan City Guide. This Qing dynasty era ruin can be found on the grounds of a monastery in East Tainan 台南市東區 not far from the location of Dadong Night Market 大東夜市.
This is an abandoned school at the eastern terminus of Qingnian Road 青年路 in Tainan 台南. I can tell many people have been inside this ruin as graffiti—a rarity in Taiwanese abandonments—is visible from the street. I don’t have much more to say about this photo for a change—I’m posting it simply because I appreciate the brutal concrete inelegance of it all. No more teachers, no more books!
My ninth day on the road was short and sweet. Tainan City 台南市 is less than 50 kilometers from my destination, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan’s great southern metropolis. I knew it would be an easy ride so I woke up late, checked out of my hostel at the very last minute, and went wandering through the nearby laneways in search of breakfast and a decent place to get some work done.
What follows is a short list of serviceable working cafes in and around downtown Tainan 台南. What do I mean by a “working cafe”? I mean a cafe where students, freelancers, and remote workers will find the things they need to dig in for an extended period of time and get some work done. My criteria for a good working cafe: decent coffee, the availability of snacks or light meals, comfortable seating, wireless connectivity, unobtrusive music, reasonable prices, long opening hours, welcoming staff, and an ambiance conducive to creative work, especially programming. Of course, it helps if a cafe looks nice too!