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Now the weather is finally showing signs of permanently improving, I am making a more concerted effort to visit more places outside of Taipei. I found that my rate of discovering new and interesting things in Taiwan dropped off markedly after the first year here, as a result I suppose of developing a routine, and frankly finding things more ‘normal’, if that is possible here.

Never the less, I took some time out to go down to Taichung – Taiwan’s third city – and see Sun Moon Lake. Taichung is an interesting place. I have the feeling that because it is not the original seat of power (Tainan) or the second city (Kaosiung) it somehow has a more defiant spirit about it and clamours to define its own identity in the face of the ‘international’ city Taipei. You can see this in the way people talk about it and indeed in some of the street fashion that I found.

Kaosiung’s largest tower, and site of a rather big fire earlier in the year … why do all cities have to have one tower with a UFO on the top. Was it a conspiracy in the 1970s? I am positive there is a revolving restaurant up there.

Rather a cool little coffee shop hidden away in a restored old building (hopefully this will happen more). Stones on the floor. 1000 artistic ideas on the walls – seems like a real struggle to define its identity, but I am happy that places like this are popping up.

The first thing to know that amongst foreigners, the name is ‘Sin City’. Multiple large complexes of lap dancing / spicy lady clubs emerge out of the mist of Taiwanese concrete. The style certainly borrows from Las Vegas or Atlantic City – a ‘Pastiche of a Pastiche’. The result is like architectural Chinese Whispers, and like looking at Europe or the Middle East through a lens … through a lens. Somewhat distorted!

Sadly, with my jaw on the floor the whole time, I neglected to take any photos. I shall have to sort some out.

On to Sun Moon Lake – one of the prettier destinations in Taiwan. Somehow we avoided the tourist hordes, but I imagine this is hell in the summer time.

Betel nut seller. Shaken not stirred.

GQ: Man of the day award

Reminiscent of Lago Maggiore in Italy?

… the kids agree

Flotilla of stuff

A nice wall

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