Some random shots from back in Taiwan. I do still live here after all!
I’ll be posting more from Indonesia again but here’s Ilha Formosa in the meantime.
With a vacation to Korea, an apartment move, and a visiting family member, I didn’t go out to document this year’s Lunar New Year as much as in the past.
With that said, it was a great time of relaxation for me even if it was a bit busy. This time of year always sorts of reignites the spark and excitement of living in Taiwan for me and this was no exception.
Above: Mazu, goddess of the sea, at Cixian Temple, Taipei.
Above: Cherry blossoms on a (very) foggy day at Lion’s Head Mountain (獅頭山).
Above: Temples on the same foggy day at 獅頭山.
Above left: worshippers walk under a lantern for blessings at Longshan Temple, Taipei. Above right: temple lanterns hang at Cixian Temple, Taipei.
Above: temple worshipers gather at Longshan Temple, Taipei.
Above: lanterns hang at Longshan Temple, Taipei.
Above: an incense burner at a temple on Lion’s Head Mountain.
Above: fried noodles being prepared at Shilin Night Market, Taipei.
Above: the calm before the crowds at Liuhe Night Market, Kaohsiung.
These were taken on January 23, the day which Chinese New Year began on this year’s lunar calendar. It was a bit early for this year, but I didn’t mind having a week off to relax and take a photo or two. Most of these take place in temples and markets as both are full.
Temples are full, as Jhubei Mazu Temple above shows, as people make prayers and concessions on the first day of the new year. Certain things are considered auspicious depending on the year – many couples will get married and have kids for example, in the Year of the Dragon.
…and another at the incense holder in front of the temple. The area was crowded an the 18mm end of my lens came in handy.
A fire burns away ghost money, used as a form of currency for spirits in the afterlife.
Deals, deals, deals are everywhere on the first day of Chinese New Year. Competitions and contests offer free trips around Taiwan and heavily discounted travel deals to those who ask. This guy was getting his audience stirred up for trips around the island.
While I didn’t get much of a chance to delve into street photography as much as I would’ve liked, New York seems to be the de-facto capital in the US for photography. Unfortunately, I was on a pretty tight schedule and didn’t wander around aimlessly with my camera as much as I wanted.
These shots are all at least a little cliched, but were fun to take in the subways. While the Manhattan subway system has “character” (e.g. it smells a lot more than Taipei, Bangkok, Hong Kong, or any other Asian system) I have to forgive it somewhat for being so old and so large.
These are shots taken from Canal Street and Grand Central.
Even though this is a bit too out of focus, I liked it. I think I was trying to focus on the Grand Central sign, but that was a pretty futile/silly attempt.
These are some semi-touristy shots of landmarks around New York, mostly Lower Manhattan, which is full of history. In addition to Ground Zero and Wall Street, visitors regularly see Battery Park, Trinity Wall Street (not pictured), South Street Seaport, Federal Hall National Memorial, “The Bull,” and a host of other sites centered around New York’s oldest and most historic district.
Federal Hall (above) is the former home of the United States Supreme Court, Congress, and Executive Branch. George Washington was sworn in here and his statue is a focal point for many tourists. I think it’s quite symbolic/fascinating that it faces the Stock Exchange just across the street.
The Helen McAllister at South Street Seaport (above) is a turn of the century tugboat. South Street Seaport was undergoing a huge renovation, something that I didn’t expect from my former lunch spot while interning in New York.
Above left: the Peking, a tall ship from the last days of the age of sail and on the right, the famous Charging Bull.
Above left: the Battery Park memorial to soldiers, sailors, and airmen who lost their lives crossing the Atlantic during World War II and on the right, a statue that needs no introduction.
Above right: the beginnings of the Freedom Tower have sprung out of the ground in recent months. I was quite amazed to see how much progress has been made.
Traveling back to the US for my “second” wedding last week was great, if not a bit of a culture shock for me. Whether it was driving in a Chevy Suburban (compare that to my 125-cc or 50-cc scooters), experiencing Wal-Mart again (need I say more?), or eating actual “American” cuisine, it was a bit of a change for Yuling and I. We went on a side-trip to New York City about halfway through the trip, where I took the most photos by far. These are from the super-tourist site of Times Square. Even though I had been familiar with the city having been an intern for the city government a few years ago, the “touristy” things were a bit new to me, and I hate to admit, kind of fun.
This exterior of a Hakka teahouse was taken later in the evening during Chinese New Year as my family visited. I’ve posted this located before when telling about making tea during my first visit.
I love the location of this place, as it’s on a side-street in an old town. You get to it by going down an alley near the large temple nearby.
Taken at 35mm, f/8.0, 1/200 shutter speed at ISO 200. I found myself set on f/8 more often with this lens – I love the versatility that setting provides.
At the end of my CNY break, I visited Kaohsiung and Kenting, two coastal southern Taiwanese cities with my family. In Kaohsiung, I had the camera out, while I spent the time being a beach bum in Kenting. I miss it terribly!
When we left Kaohsiung to get on the high speed train back to Hsinchu, it was 80F (about 27C) and sunny. I had been swimming the previous day. When I came back into the Hsinchu station that afternoon, it was 53F (~12C) and cloudy/rainy. Nasty.
Anyway, here’s a picture of some kites at the beach. Not a bad way to spend an evening at all.
…this time for Chinese New Year’s! Many towns around here are “trading off” when their main NY celebration will be – much of it way after the time that most people (like me) go travel for vacation time. This one was much smaller than the last Jhubei extravaganza, but still had some music and a small night market.
First off is 潘裕文, or Peter Pan. Yes, I typed the English name correctly, he goes by the name of our favorite flying kid.
He does have a music video, which I’ve posted after the photo. More regular Taiwanese-style pop, as to be somewhat expected.
The other singer (there were actually many more) was singing more traditional songs in Hakka. Yuling didn’t know her name, but she was quite talented.
This shot was taken at the Taipei 101 observation deck while my family visited last weekend. We are currently in Kaohsiung still and I’m glad to be able to spend time in the southern parts of Taiwan for a change.
I liked this mix of old and new – this monk and nun were visiting the top of the second-tallest building in the world, and I thought it showed good contrast to the many facets of Taiwan. I feel like I’ve certainly been seeing this this past week, as I’ve been dragging my family members through futuristic city districts which sit next to traditional markets.