Renegade Writings

The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Page 2 of 63

God’s Build Log Part 2

This is a continuation of God’s Build Log, a kind of story-esque thought experiment asking the question “if God were an engineer, how would he go about building the first human being?” I want to reiterate the disclaimer I made in my original post that while this has some basis in the bible – and is somewhat satirical in nature – it is not meant as an insult against God, Christianity, or religion in general. With that out of the way, let’s continue where I left off the last time.

Build Log Day 37:
It’s been a little over … Read the rest

Learning to Hike Using The Map Room

My friend runs a website called The Map Room which focuses on hiking, river tracing and other outdoor activities in Taiwan. He has written a series of posts called Learn to Hike in Taiwan which, as can be expected from the name, provide the reader with some basic information about hiking trails suitable for beginners. Since we have to bring our son along for hiking, I figured it could be a good idea to try one or two of the trails from this series, just to see how well it works while carrying a toddler on your back. We started … Read the rest

Going to Kinmen With a Baby

Ever since I moved to Taiwan, my wife and I have slowly been working on visiting all of Taiwan’s outlying islands. So far we’ve been to Green Island, Penghu and Matsu, and last weekend we went to Kinmen. It is a small island just a stone’s throw (well, a rather long stone’s throw) from Mainland China. Given its location there has been a lot of military activity on the island and most of the actual fighting between China and Taiwan took place here in the 1950’s. Before it became militarized, Kinmen was home to a fair amount of merchants who … Read the rest

Urban Exploration in Hsinchu City

Finding and exploring abandoned buildings is generally referred to as Urban Exploration (or Urbex for short). The ironic thing is, most of the urban exploration I’ve been doing has been out in the countryside; abandoned amusement parks or hotels up in the mountains, or old bunkers out by the coastline. Perhaps in my case calling it “exploring modern ruins” would be more accurate, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Urbex. Recently however, I’ve been doing some actual urban exploration.

Whenever I’m out and about, could be the morning commute, could be running some errands after … Read the rest

Mountain Climbing With a Toddler

In my last post I talked about hiking Wuliaojian. I liked it a lot because most of it is proper climbing and not just walking along a smooth trail. However, it’s rather physically demanding which means it’s not suitable for everyone. The same weekend as I went to Wuliajian, me and my wife also decided to bring our son out for a short hike somewhere. My wife found a trail called Xianshan Trail that seemed suitable for us so we went there. It turned out to be an easier, less demanding alternative to Wuliaojian.

The trail head is at … Read the rest

Climbing Wuliaojian

I can’t remember who gave me the tip but ever since I first heard about it I’ve wanted to climb mount Wuliaojian (五寮尖山). Due to circumstances I haven’t been able to until now. I have to say right from the start that I’m really happy I finally went, because it’s a really good climb. The mountain isn’t particularly high, only 639 meters, but there are several near vertical sections that require some proper climbing and you more or less need to use the fixed ropes to get up or down. This makes it a lot more exciting than your … Read the rest

Wuliaojian trail 7:34 am

I don’t think my photos can accurately show how steep this is. It’s more like rock climbing than hiking. The trail is a jumble of rocks and exposed roots, polished smooth by thousands of hands, thick knotted ropes trailing along the sides for you to hold on to. Climbing is strenuous work: two steps forward, take a deep breath, step over a jutting out boulder, take a deep breath, grab on to some roots and haul yourself up, take a deep breath, a few meters of flat ground then at it again. This is exactly the kind of hiking that … Read the rest

The Sunken Road

First I want to thank my wife for finding out about this place and sharing the information with me so we could arrange a trip. Now on to the post

Down in Jiayi (Sometimes also spelled Chiayi) in South Taiwan there’s a region with a lot of fish farms and oyster farms. In fact it’s so many that the GPS makes it look like the expressway is running on a bunch of islands and sandbanks out in the ocean, even though it’s actually on land. Over time the usage of these seafood farms has changed and some of the old … Read the rest

Baishuihu, 11:26 am

tall grass line the road and poke up through the cracks. Low waves, little more than ripples on the pond's surface, lap the edges of the asphalt. The ride is bumpy, every now and then I have to slow down to a crawl to avoid hitting a large pot hole too hard, and the weeds keep rubbing against the sides of the car as I go along. It feels like I'm the first person to drive here for many years. The road is long enough that I can't actually see if it connects to anything at the other end or if it gets swallowed up by the water somewhere up ahead. I really hope that it goes all the way across because it's so narrow it would be really hard to turn around. The thought that I might have to drive the entire distance in reverse flashes through my mind but I brush it off and press on. A sensible person would never go down a road like this, but there's something about the dilapidates state of it, as well as the fact that I can't see where it ends, that imbues the place with a sense of adventure and compels me to steer my car down it, heading towards the unknown.

Neglected Spaces

There’s a certain type of spaces that I feel strangely drawn to. The kind of spaces at the edges of the urban landscape, half forgotten spaces hidden behind and below the infrastructure that keeps our cities running. I don’t really have a good name for them, liminal spaces isn’t quite correct, backstreets indicates something that is more populated, they’re definitely not slums and you can’t call it wasteland; forgotten spaces is wrong, people still remember them, and they’re not abandoned or deserted. Perhaps the best term would be neglected spaces, they’re a bit dirty, they don’t get taken care of … Read the rest

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