When I arrived in Taichung city, the first thing I wanted to do was to find a "shao bei" (sort of a 24 hour general store selling various bits and pieces), which meant driving around the eastern edges of the city and stopping to ask people. Eventually, one local man overheard me asking someone else about this and offered to lead me to one which was slap bang in the middle of the city. I bought some new bungee cords for my bag, thanked him and wandered off through Taichung's nightmarkets. There were one or two seemingly 24 hour coffee shops near the convenience stores and the nightmarkets thronged with twenty-somethings wearing their best gear. I sat in a convenience store for an hour or so to get my bearings, send some messages and have some milk. There was a table behind me with four or five young deaf people talking in sign language and muffled laughter.
When driving through the city it didn't feel particularly cold (urban heat effect), but as soon as I reached the road out to Fengyuan I began to feel that my fleece jacket wasn't good enough. I had a sweater on underneath, but what I should have done was brought my heavy jacket and maybe another shirt to wear underneath. I shivered on the motorbike all the way out of Taichung through Fenguan and out east to Dongshih. When I arrived in Dongshih I took up residence at a 7-11, ordered hot coffee and half-slept my way through the next three hours awaking at 5am to order another coffee and get myself ready to leave. The drive out of Dongshih to Miaoli was still very cold, but relatively short and there was almost no traffic to speak of. At about 5.30am the pre-dawn light emerged and I stopped to photograph this on a hill overlooking Shigang district which lies just before Taichung's river border with Miaoli county...
|Shigang just before dawn.|
|There is no better time to be driving about on Taiwan's countryside roads than just before dawn.|
|A little bit of pink and blue in the cloudy sky prior to sunrise over the back of Liyutan reservoir.|
|Low lying mist over the east end of the reservoir.|
|Whilst getting the boat ready at the water's edge, the sky was gradually becoming lighter.|
|Looking westwards along the main body of the reservoir; the gap in the distance is formed by the spurs of encroaching hills on either side.|
|Looking westwards from the boat just before passing the second of the southern spurs to the left.|
|Looking back eastward at the rising sun having passed the second northern spur (on the left).|
|Approaching the third and final spur on the northern shoreline; the control station is just visible in the background.|
|Close up on the control station; this building is almost 25 years old. Most buildings for Taiwan's Water Corporation look like this, flat roofed boxes with narrow vertical columns interspersed with inset walls and slat windows on both floors.|
|A parting shot looking back west toward the dam and spillway with the third northern spur on the right. I like this picture.|
|Approaching the second northern spur on the return journey, fleece jacket and polyester sweater now long since removed and stashed at the front of the boat.|
|Approaching the second southern spur and about to leave the reservoir's middle section behind and return to the east end to disembark.|