Sunday, 21 August 2011


I'm having some trouble with the Blogger template*. Upon swapping my header image of Tainan city for a new image I took earlier today, the bloody thing has inexplicably decided to reduce the width of the header image so that it no longer "heads" the entire blog. The header width specified for the "shrink to fit" option is 728px. I don't remember what it was previously, and there isn't any option to adjust it manually without going into the template coding itself - which I've looked at and it doesn't seem to contain an equivalent item specifying the header width. I might think about redesigning the whole thing again even if it means altering the template coding itself, though that might be somewhat time consuming.

Anyway, since a certain "significant other" of mine was off with her diving team in Kenting today (having forgotten our date last night), I was out driving up route 17 through the north-eastern districts of Tainan County (Cigu, Jiangjun and Beimen) and the south-eastern districts of Chiayi County (Budai, Dongshih and Puzih). The weather being fantastic today (i.e. extremely hot, with blue skies only punctuated by white clouds), I had a good time with the camera.

I much prefer this shot of the Tainan City skyline to the one I most recently used for my header image. The problem was that the position from which I had taken the previous images did not afford the necessary elevation. Without that, the perspective was limited. So today, having plenty of time, I drove further north and realized that the slightly upward curvature of the road itself, when added to the increased distance from the previous point would in fact allow a significantly better perspective - one marred only by the interference of the road lamps. The sky over the city was also a bit too hazy with it being the early afternoon - yet that's just whinging, I think the new picture is grand. You can clearly see the Shangri La hotel tower to the left of the image. I'll start heading out there now at different times of day to see what sort of skies I can get.

I also took a little eastward detour off route 17 to have a look at this temple, and to see if they would let me use it to get a higher elevation to take some pictures.

Actually, the place was empty except for a few old women fast asleep - it being the middle of the day. So I quitely crept up the stairs to the top of the left-hand building (because it had a south-facing balcony - the one to the right didn't which was a dissapointment because it would have afforded superlative perspective) and took a few shots with both the 18-55 and 55-250 lenses.

In this image, the Shangri La hotel tower isn't visible - it's off to the left just out of shot. The interlocking pools with water pumps in the foreground are fish farms.

The red-haired top of the Dutch fort at Anping was visible in the distance out to the west. Here is another long-lens shot of that tower which I took on Tuesday, but this time from just across the Anping river...

Since it was so hot, I decided to stop in Beimen to let the dog cool off in the river, so whilst we were there I naturally got the camera out again and started snapping away...

... until Tinkerbell interrupted me.

What was she looking for? River crabs...



After that break in Beimen, it was a long drive up into Chiayi. I stopped for lunch in Beidou fishing port, and then drove on until I reached the Puzih river - that's the point at which I turned due east toward Chiayi City, and then, since I was knackered, back home southwards through the central districts of Tainan County (that drive, assuming no stops, is approximately an hour north, an hour east and an hour south). On the way south, between Lioujia and Sanhua, I came upon this...

Reality check: that's a car lying upside down in the middle of a road at sometime after 4pm on a Sunday afternoon - and it probably won't even make the local news here. This is why I am very reluctant to get into any sort of vehicle (car, taxi, bus etc) driven by a Taiwanese person whom I don't know well. You simply cannot assume competence. Here is a close-up...

Sadly, this sort of thing is all too believable to me. As I stood there taking pictures, a Taiwanese guy on a sports bike drove past and slowed down to exchange eyebrows and shrugs with me. He knew.

"That's f*cking atrocious and we're not all like that!"

Whatever, dude.

Not to finish on a low, here is my favourite of all the pictures I took at the bar last night...

This girl only started recently (criminally I forget her name!). She's not as sharply focused in that image as I should have had her - which says I have to work on double-checking the focus. Look at her eyes though - isn't she cute? She reminds me somewhat of the Sanhua brewery girl, but with shorter hair (I love it when Taiwanese girls have their hair cut short like that)...

And here is a self-portrait I took yesterday, since nobody seems capable of getting me in focus...

*Update: fixed now: 908px is the necessary width. Posted here for future reference.


  1. This girl only started recently (criminally I forget her name!)

    Mike, that is criminal because she is cute. Tut, tut.

  2. Guilty as charged! I'll drop by later in the week to correct that.

  3. A married man should not comment on bar girls being cute especially when you are an expat who is supposed to behave properly. You disgust me sir. And she is not even that cute. I wonder what your wife looks like now! Maybe that explains it all....

  4. I'm not married. She is cute. You're an imbecile.

    Piss off.


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