Renegade Writings

The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Lion Head Mountain 8:03 am

Guanyin statues, hundreds of Guanyin statues arranged in neat rows down a series of terraces, right in the middle of the jungle. Their once white skin has turned grey and yellow with dust and mold. Some have started to crumble, fingers or whole hands falling off, halos collapsing down onto their heads, one has even been bisected, only her legs remain. The jungle has slowly started closing in, vines creeping up from below to ensnare a few of the statues; thick taro roots snaking along the terraces, their giant leaves sprouting up at irregular intervals; moss crawling across the concrete. A Buddhist chant comes rising up from a temple somewhere below, cranking up the ambiance to eleven. Two questions keep running through my mind as I explore: "what is this place? Why are they here?"

Alishan, Road 18, 3:41 pm

We come around the bend and the view opens up in front of us; distant peaks obscured by the haze, the mountain side dressed in pale greens and yellows – bamboo waving in the breeze like reeds – the mist comes rolling down the slope like water, spilling out as it hits the boxy structure of a man made tunnel – concrete and dark green moss –  billowing into the air like smoke then swirling into the blue void. No time to take a photo, just a few moments until the road leads us into the gaping maw of the … Read the rest

Snowboarding in Zoa Onsen

My passport will expire in a few months, a fact which I overlooked when I was in Sweden last year where it would have been convenient to apply for a new one. Due to Taiwan’s diplomatic status, it’s not possible for me to renew my passport here, I must leave the country. It so happens that the Swedish embassy in Tokyo is the most convenient of all nearby ones, so I decided on going there. Traveling all the way to Japan just for a passport run seemed like a waste of time and money so we figured we could combine … Read the rest

Jizo Sancho Station, 9:34am

The zoom mechanism on my camera has become sticky due to the cold, my viewfinder keeps fogging up, and my fingers grow numb with the biting wind, but I don't care. There's a whole bunch of other tourists milling about, posing for selfies and blocking  my shots, but it doesn't matter. The landscape in front of me is one that triggers my inspiration and drives me to keep taking pictures despite the circumstances. I really hope my photos can do this place justice, but in case they can't, I have these words: They call them Snow Monsters;  trees covered on all sides by snow and ice, turning them into twisted irregular shapes. Hundreds upon hundreds of frozen pieces of modern art spread out all over the mountain side like a great big field of strange sculptures. The landscape feels almost alien, like I've somehow ended up on a distant planet. The only thing that detracts from that impression is the fact that there's a bunch of other people here. However, that doesn't stop me from continuing to explore as if they weren't there.

Neglected Statue Park

I’ve been living in Taiwan for more than ten years now but funnily enough it’s only recently that I’ve started to discover just how many odd places there are in this country. If you check the Taiwanese map for landmarks and tourist spots you’re not likely to find them, which is part of the reason it took me so long. However, if you take the time to explore the back streets, country roads and other less touristic parts of the country, and you pay a little bit of extra attention to your surroundings, you might stumble on some such place … Read the rest

Weather Station 74

Data Log 4:57:00 Am: Hello?

Data Log 4:58:00 Am: Can anyone hear me?

Data Log 4:59:00 Am: Where am I?

Find out what happens

Going Home, Part2: Sweden

I intended to make a single post about our trip back to Sweden but it became so long I decided to split it into two parts. You can find the first part here.

After the train debacle that you can read about in my last post, we were really happy to see my parents standing on the platform as the train rolled into Helsingborg station. All the stress from the last two days just melted away as we stepped off the train into their arms. Pretty much as soon as we got to the house, things slowed down and we … Read the rest

Going Home, Part 1: Europe

When me and my wife went to Sweden in April 2017 we had no idea we wouldn’t be coming back for more than six years. However, due to various circumstances, Covid being one of them, we haven’t been able to go back until now. Last time we had no plan whatsoever on having children and now we have a small boy, and this would be his first trip to his fatherland. We’ve gone on plenty of short trips since Tantan was born but this would be his first long flight as well as his first time in a different country; … Read the rest

The Patio at Haggen, 5:50 pm

The rain is drumming on the parasol and the wind blowing through the trees is unusually cold for the season. The lake, just down the slope in front of me, lies flat and gray like a piece of slate, reflecting the dismal sky. The embers in the barbecue glow red, heating me up just enough to keep standing here. The summer shouldn't be cold and wet like this but the sun is conspicuous by its absence. Two steps to the side I would be miserable yet here, in this little pocket of dry warmth, it's strangely cozy; like sitting inside watching the rain through the window but somehow more acute. All I lack now is the typical barbecue beer...perhaps exchanged for a cup of hot chocolate. 

Skäret Harbour, 10:48 pm

The moon rises full and bright above the headland on the far side of the small bay, the jagged silhouette barely perceptible against nearly black sea and deep blue night sky. The moon is big and orange like it can only be in August, casting its light in a streak across water. Only four colours yet this simple beauty is nearly impossible to capture with my camera so instead I try to memorize the moment while the cool breeze swirls gently around me.  

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