Renegade Writings

The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Page 2 of 66

Luoping Junction, 11:59am

Im sitting on a big boulder in the middle of the river just enjoying the moment. I feel the warmth of the sun drenched rock against my butt and the palms of my hands; I feel the cool breeze on by back; my ears fill with the thunderous rush of the river. Just beyond my feet, the crystal clear water swirls around the boulder as it flows past, and beyond that, a great conical cliff draped in green rising up towards a perfect blue sky. There's a feeling here that's difficult to describe, a sort of sensory balance that's almost meditative; the sun, the wind, the churning water that draws in the eye. Just a few moments more then I slide into the water and let the current carry me downstream, a rush of adrenaline before swimming back to shore

Abandoned Homes

A couple of weeks ago my friend told me he had found a bunch of abandoned buildings in central Hsinchu, not far from where I live. One Saturday when I had a bit of time for myself I grabbed my camera and my flashlight and went to check them out.

Since becoming interested in urban exploration I’ve been to all kinds of abandoned buildings; factories, hotels, amusement parks, police stations, military tunnels, temples and so on. This list of course includes ordinary houses but as I started to explore the first one, I soon realized this was more than just … Read the rest

The Balcony, 3:10am

The rain is beating down so hard the noise drowns out all other sound. Down below preparations are going on for opening the market just like every morning; trucks of all sizes coming and going, boxes of fruit and vegetables being loaded or offloaded, and men shouting to each other over the droning of engines. Normally the sounds from all this would float up to me where I stand but this night they don't, nothing but the whoosh of the water. On a clear night you could see far from here, the lights of apartments on the other side of the city and the faint outline of distant mountains against the pre dawn sky, but tonight the pouring rain obscures everything, making the world seem small. It's like being in a silent bubble, surrounded by a curtain of water. 

Tiny Adventures

Every couple of weeks I have a Saturday or Sunday afternoon off to relax by myself without having to worry about my son (my wife gets the same deal). Lately I’ve been trying to turn these afternoons off into little adventures by finding hiking trails that are reasonably challenging yet short enough that you can finish them in a couple of hours. As a busy dad, I find that this kind of hike is a perfect way for me to clear my mind and make my body comfortably tired. So far I’ve been on two such mini adventures

The Xianshan Read the rest

The Cloud

One day a cloud appeared above Joseph K’s head. He didn’t pay much attention to it at first, most people don’t care about such things. As the day wore on however, he started to notice it. It was a small, fluffy white cloud, casting an irregular, light-gray shadow, roughly centered on Joseph. What he paid most attention to was that shadow but, he thought to himself, it might just be a big cloud very high up. On the second day it was raining and the cloud was there of course, cause that’s where clouds are supposed to be when it’s … Read the rest

The Choice Bar, 11:34 pm

A cocktail, not beer, not wine, not a splash of liquor mixed with soda, but a real fucking cocktail with some bite to it. They call it Apple Yam something or other, some strong liquor tasing of alcohol with a faint hint of sweet potato, mixed with apple liqueur and lime juice.  Almost nothing to dilute the alcohol, the full force of it hitting your system with every sip. It's expensive and fancy so you take it slow, one sip every few minutes, savoring the taste while pretending to read your book. You're not drunk...yet, but we'll on the way to getting there, and you have to go to work tomorrow. Life...is good

Black Mirror is Annoying and Here’s Why

For those, who like me have been living under a pop-culture rock for the past several years, Black Mirror is an anthology series centered around modern technology.  Except for a few minor references, the episodes are all completely stand-alone and each one focuses on how a certain current or (supposedly) near future technology could go wrong or be misused. I work as an engineer and I think my experience has made me somewhat skeptical of new technologies so this show should be perfect for me. That’s true for a few episodes but on the whole it’s just not…

While watching … Read the rest

Mountain Road Art

The thing about Taiwan’s countryside is, like Forrest Gump said, like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get. Last weekend we went up in the mountains outside Hsinchu without any real plan. As we were driving along a small, rather remote road we rounded a corner and came upon a bunch of large, colorful paintings on the concrete wall next to the road. This was utterly unexpected. This was deep enough into the mountains that you’d expect to see little more than vegetation and waterfalls, yet here was some extremely colorful art. This of course fit … Read the rest

In The Mist, 12:57 pm

After a number of switchbacks the road straightens up and in the distance ahead of us is a wall of mist. Along both sides of the road are cherry trees, their bright  pink flowers clearly visible through the fog, the ground underneath scattered with petals. We take one last look at the cherry trees then plunge into the mist... A few minutes later we enter a tunnel that looks like something from a horror movie, all dark and gloomy with nothing but a milky white unknown at the other end. As we exist the tunnel the fog magically lifts and the world opens up in front of us.  The road dips downwards again and starts winding it's way towards the bottom of the valley. On the other side the green hills rise up toward a sea of clouds, misty waves lapping the hill hilltop shores, and in the far distance a row of jagged blue peaks, faint against the sky. It only lasts for a few moments before the fog comes rolling in and shrouds our world in white once more.

The Church Common Room, 11:12 am

The praying has started. The two old men to my side have clasped their hands in front of their stomachs and are shaking them up and down. One of them is mumbling something unintelligible, the other keeps repeating the words halelulululujah espiritusususu over and over again. On the wall opposite the two men is an old TV and the grainy picture shows the nave upstairs with the congregation. They have their backs to the camera so I cannot see their clasped hands, only their upper arms rising and falling rhythmically in time with the ululations of their prayers. The voices floating down from above sound like a ghostly choir on the howling wind. My young son's reaction to this is clasp his hands and shake them vigorously, a bright smile on his face.
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