Farewell Shan Ding Lu

After two good years at Shanding Lu our time in Taiwan is now over. Our children are now more Taiwanese than Australian, my Perth work office have mostly forgotten what I look like and our house, family and friends in Australia are all ready for our return.
It is always sad to leave a place.  Shanding Lu, Daliao, Kaohsiung and Taiwan have been very good to us indeed and these two years have been enjoyed by us all. They will forever be remembered by our kids with family, friend and national bonds that will last their lifetimes.

Thank you and farewell the mountains, rivers and the great outdoors.  These are Taiwan’s backyard treasures and my pure delight.

Taguan shan
Batongguan trail hikers
Bamboo
Reflective Fishing
Summer water fun
Purple butterflies

Thank you and farewell to all Taiwan’s keen photographers and the Kaohsiung Flickr group. The monthly meetups and all the fantastic photo opportunities that Taiwan has to offer.

Glass Dome Photographers

Thank you and farewell to all those fishermen, fish markets, seafood meals and fishing boats.

Drying fish eggs
Discerning buyers
Fishing boats at Hengchun
Drag net fishing boat:Kezi Liao fishing harbor:Kaohsiung county
Fresh Sashimi
Sashimi - Dong gang fish markets
Shrimp and spices
Long-line boats in Kaohsiung harbour
Bicycle built for two
Squid boat

Thank you and farewell to the farmers and good people living on the Gaoping river plains.

Farm truck
One of the last
Working the rice fields
Ghost money

Thankyou and farewell to the all the great people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

Bubbles
Foguanshan monestry
Taiwanese opera in the park
Graduation flower season
Mahjong. The national pastime
New Year firecrackers
Preparations for the New Year : From the kitchen
Tug of war

Thank you and farewell to Taiwan bloggers and Shan Ding Lu readers. I have thoroughly enjoyed photographing and blogging on the meanderings of living in Southern Taiwan. I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading many of the Taiwan blogs. There is some fantastic content provided by many and varied dedicated bloggers. My RSS feeds will remain a constant tie to you all. A special thanks to Fotozon and the Taiwan Picture of the day for publishing many of Shan Ding Lu’s The Weekly Photo.

Thank you and farewell Taiwan.

The garden nation

We recently stayed with our good friend Mei Jingyu in Chiayi. As always, her ever hospitable mother prepared a delicious meal of turnip cake, fried sweet potato, dried tofu, meaty sauce, fresh greens and cabbage soup.

The next morning we visited the rooftop garden where two dishes of the previous evening’s meal were grown.

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The rich soil, sub-tropical climate and ample water all make Taiwan a perfect garden. Peoples toil and passion for the soil means every little piece of this island nation sprouts in green.

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Swimming holes in Pingtung county

Kaohsiung, a city of nearly 2 million people, sits on the coastal edge of a broad alluvial plain that spans 25 kilometres to the foot of an impressive mountain range. Every piece of land from the ocean to the mountains is occupied by houses, factories, villages and farms. There is very little by way of natural open space.

But as soon as you reach the foot of the mountain range you are in a very different place. The flat populated plains change to precipitous forested ranges. The mountains are sliced by deeply cut valleys created by typhoon fed rivers.

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The brief two months of Southern Taiwan’s mild winter have now past. In a few weeks the tropical rains will start and the stifling humidity will have people searching for cool relief. These last two years we have found that relief in the many pools and waterfalls accessible along the mountain range. Here are some of our favorites and directions on how to find them.

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People in the Neighborhood

Daliao is very working class. It sits right on the industrial saturated rural edge of Kaohsiung city.

Our immediate neighborhood is made up of ordinary working people. The type Australian politicians like to call “battlers”. They are also a wonderful mix of young and old. They are mostly native Taiwanese but a few KMT immigrants, Indonesian and Philippine maids and Vietnamese brides as well.

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Old houses of Kaohsiung

Taiwan in general and Kaohsiung particularly is not renown for its architecture. There are some worthy modern buildings and some nice old ones but for the most part, Kaohsiung is full of ceramic tiled, rust stained concrete boxes.

Most of Kaohsiung has been built in the last 60 years. The first half of that period people were poor and the national identity characterised Taiwan as a temporary refuge before returning to the mainland. There was neither the money nor the pride to build beautiful houses.

The last 30 years Taiwan has increased its wealth but I contend it is yet to find a pleasing national style that combines concrete, steel and ceramics beyond simple functional boxes.

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On a couple of recent outings I captured a number of interesting houses in Kaohsiung. [Read more →]

Beidawu mountain.北大武山

After our very successful Jinshui camp trail hike I convinced fellow hiker Joel to climb the mighty Beidawu (North Dawu) mountain that looks over the Pingtung plains and Kaohsiung city.

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Time exposure looking west to the setting New Year moon. The twin urban glows of Pingtung and Kaohsiung shine up through the sea of clouds.

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Around Daliao


I have eagerly followed the local Taiwanese news and I’m especially interested in news associated with our local township Daliao(大竂).  Unidentified toxic gas releases at the local industrial park have kept Daliao to the national headlines recently. If you take a quick look around it is not difficult to see why this type of news item is indicative of the area in Taiwan we have chosen to live.

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Night time view across the small pocket amongst which we live.

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Jinshui camp historic trail hike 浸水營

A good road map and a bit of adventure can lead to some great discoveries. That is how we happened on the historic Jinshui camp mountain trail that once provided East-West passage through the Southern mountains of Taiwan. A day trip into the mountains three weeks ago seeded the idea to traverse this trail with the whole family. This weekend along with Joel and son Martin we made that happen.

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Eating out

One of the great pleasures of living in Taiwan is the huge range of delicious food that is available. From snacks on the street, a sit down noodle shop or fine dining. Everywhere at anytime there is always a flavor to sate your appetite.

Deep fried chicken and chips

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Shan Ding Elementary School sports day

Yesterday was the kid’s school sports day. It is held on a Saturday so parents are able to attend and join in the activities.

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To make up for having to attend on Saturday, school is out for Monday. I’m not sure what the working parents will do tomorrow. [Read more →]