I’m armoured against the weather, warm jacket, rain jacket, rain pants with little built in shoe covers, helmet, and mountaineering gloves. Despite all that I know this is going to be hell, it is cold like it can only be in tropical weather, when normally comfortable temperatures chill you to the bone; and the rain is coming down hard. There is a kind of duality to this; the reports about low water levels in the nation’s reservoirs that I saw in the paper a few days ago had me worried so this is a good thing, but did the government … Read the rest
It’s just pouring down, heavy drops patter incessantly on the visor of my helmet and although I’m dressed for battle with elements, rain jacket, rain pants, and big floppy shoe covers that are impossible to walk in, there is till considerable discomfort. The drops sting my lips every time I accelerate, my gloves are already wet through and through, and there is a coldness in my crotch which I sincerely hope isn’t water soaking through my pants. Sometimes, on a good road in good weather, riding a motorcycle can be thoroughly enjoyable; swooping smoothly from turn to turn as you carve your way through a … Read the rest
Yini and I decided to make this weekend and long one and travel to the small island of Penghu. We both left work early on Thursday then headed to the airport and we arrived here in the evening. Our original plan was that we would go to the even smaller island Qimei today, spend the night there then come back to Penghu the morning after. However, when we learned that the weather forecast was promising high winds and rough seas for Saturday, which might cause the ferry service to stop, we had to change our plans. Instead we joined a … Read the rest
The light turns green and a bunch of scooters, me included, launch forward. Just as we’re picking up speed I see a lone scooter cutting across the path of the swarm at an angle. “that can’t be good” I think, just before a rider in front and to the right of me smacks into the side of it. It’s not a big crash, more like a bump, but the rider that was hit gets knocked down while the other remains upright. My heart leaps at the sight, like I’ve been kicked in the chest from the inside, and I instinctively … Read the rest
I have covered up as well as I can, rain jacket, rain pants and even shoe covers, but the rain is pretty heavy and it gets amplified by my speed; though I’ve only been on the way for a few minutes, I can already sense chinks in my armor, little spots of cold where the water is starting to work it’s way through. It’s like nature wills me to hunker down and shy away, but I keep my back straight and my speed high, defying the elements, defying my own instinct. This will be hell to pay.… Read the rest
I’m speeding along towards the high speed rail station, the meter showing 80 kilometers an hour and a cool wind washing over me. Suddenly the buildings on my right give way to a large open space, and I wonder for a moment how that can be, before realizing that it is most likely one of the fish farming ponds. I take a longer look, and sure enough, beyond a low concrete barrier, the perfectly smooth surface of the water spreading out towards the horizon. It reflects the infinity of space above, so dark blue that it’s almost back. At the far … Read the rest
Just as it was getting more and more like spring it seems winter made a comeback because this week has been cold and rainy. Tired of coming home wet and and miserable, I suggested we go south for the weekend. Said and done, as soon as I got off work Friday, we got our bags, hopped on a high speed train south and went to the southern city Kaohsiung.
Yesterday we woke up fairly early, had a tasty breakfast, rented a scooter then headed out to explore the city. When we went to Taidong a few months ago, we spotted … Read the rest
Yini had to go back home and work but us five boys continued our exploration of Taiwan’s east coast. Our train arrived in Hualien on Sunday evening, we found a hotel a stone’s throw from the train station, then went out for dinner and bought a few strange snacks to share in the hotel room.
On Monday morning we rented a couple of scooters, then rode out of town to famous tourist destination Taroko Gorge. Axel and I have been there before, but the spectacular lime stone cliffs, rivers and waterfalls make it well worth another visit.
Collecting a map … Read the rest
A couple of friends have come to visit me during the new year. After a very nice new year celebration, we decided to go explore the rest of the country for a bit. The eastern part being generally nicer, we decided to go there.
On Friday morning, me and my friends Anton, Axel, Marcus and Robert took the high speed rail south to Kaohsiung, then crossed to Taidong in the east by normal train. After we found a hotel, we borrowed a couple of bikes and rode around by the seaside.
It has been what I like to call November weather, that is around ten degrees and rain, for the last week or so here in north Taiwan. So this weekend, Yini and I did like the migrating birds and moved south for the winter. On Friday evening, we said screw you to the cold weather and took the high speed rail to kaohsiung. As we left rather late, we stayed the night in Kaohsiung then left for Taiwan’s premier beach town, Kenting in the morning.
I’ve been to Kenting several times before, and I’ve spent most of those times either … Read the rest