Saturday, October 28, 2006


Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog during the last 2 years, and especially those who have posted comments. If you would like to email me, my email address is

'roger' and then 'gordon' and I'm at 'gmail dot com'. There are no spaces in my address. Sorry to make it so cryptic, but if I just give it to you, I'll get lots of spam mixed in with your friendly emails!

I'm not out of touch, just not posting on this blog anymore. I'll be adding stuff to my site in future and I'm trying to expand it as much as possible, so have a look periodically.


I've left Taiwan. Sad as it was to go, I'm enjoying living in South Africa again. I'm trying to get into web design and as a start I've made my own page at my own domain. If you're interested, you can take a look at

It's not the best, but it's a start.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Long way down - Taipei 101 part 2

89 floors, to be exact. Amazingly, the elevator takes 35 seconds to get up or down.

Taipei 101

I had been there before, but never at night. Amazing is all I can say. The view is unbelievable.

New phone

I got a new one! I can read the Bible and listen to MP3's on it at the same time. For those interested in the model, it's a Motorola ROKR E2.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Alishan 4

Art class.

Alishan 4

Here's one of my favourite photos from the trip - it's a happy kid with a game of 'pass the rubber band to your friend using a straw in your mouth' going on in the background.

Alishan 3

Here's picture of a funny game my friend Grace designed for the kids which consisted of blowing a ping pong ball out of a bowl of flour. It was so funny to watch!!

Alishan 2

Moonrise... without a tripod - man, I was annoyed with myself! Well here's a blurry shot to give you an idea anyway.

Alishan 1

My company (Hess Educational Organisation) has a 'foundation' which they put money into in order to help kids in Taiwan who don't have much. I went up to Alishan (Ali Mountain) a week or two ago to help out and had a great time with some good kids. Having a 5 and 12-year-old in the same classroom proved to be a little difficult to control, especially since my Chinese is so bad, but it was great fun anyway. Here's a pic of the kind of view you get from the little school in the Mountains.


is the general term for (Japanese?) barbecue restaurants in which you pay a set fee and get to barbecue/braai as much food as you want to for an hour and a half. I've been to a few of them recently and can highly recommend them to the meat hungry visitor on a budget. Normally an evening at one of these restaurants costs about US$13 or so.


I never put photos on this blog that I don't think are relevant to a stranger visiting this site. Well today is a little different. Here are some of my buddies from work.

Cheers, Craig and Jo!

A belated farewell to two of my best friends here in Taiwan, Craig and Jo. They will both be sorely missed!

My church

...just got a website. Visit it at Here's a picture of a hand and the rest of church during one of our Sunday morning worship services. Oh and if anyone is looking for a Bible based non-denominational church that has bilingual everything, come along and visit us. Address details are on the church website.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Taichung Science Park - again

Here's another photo using the 'Taiwan- ancient and modern' theme. In the foreground you see a large pagoda styled building and in the background is a huge high tech factory which I'm presuming is a chip fabrication plant.

Jade Mountain 9

The summit of Taiwan's tallest mountain at 5:44am. The most amazing site I've ever seen - pity these photos don't capture the beauty of the place at all...

Jade Mountain 8

At the second lodge known as Paiyun lodge, I again got to witness one of the most fantastic night skies of my life. This is my first attempt at doing 'star trails' - long exposure photographs of the night sky. This was a 30 minute exposure which got a bit too bright due to what I can only guess was the light from the milky way.

Jade Mountain 7

All the trees in this one forest were growing one way only I guess to face the sun. Here's one of my new friends from the small tour group we were with.

Jade Mountain 6

The cold weather and high altitude means that things decompose really slowly. Thus, when a tree had died, its bark falls off, leaving the wood to be bleached by the sun.

Jade Mountain 5

Some fantastic scenery - just one of hundreds of pictures I took of the area.

Jade Mountain 4

And when the sun finally set and the clouds moved away, I got to see the brightest night sky of my life.

Jade Mountain 3

Our group was blessed with beautiful scenery right from the start of the tour. Here's a spectacular sunset at 'Tataka', the first lodge one stays in when attempting to summit Jade Mountain.

Jade Mountain 2

The roads around Taiwan aren't that stable due to the torrential rains, precipitous geography and seismic activity. Nevertheless Taiwan is covered with thousands of amazing engineering models in the form of roads in places that other countries wouldn't even consider. Things do go wrong sometimes and as you can see in this photo, we had to hang around waiting for a road barrier to be erected after heavy rains had washed away a portion of the road.

Jade Mountain 1

I went to Jade mountain 2 weeks ago. Jade mountain is Taiwan's tallest and is so called because of it's summertime green hue. The summit is 3952m high, and the area around it is very beautiful indeed and definitely not to be missed if you are in Taiwan for even a short time. I had such a good time that the Jade Mountain area is my new favourite place on earth. While travelling to the first lodge (known as 'Tataka') our tour group stopped at a restaurant. This old man decided that my foreign face was quite a novelty and warranted a 'Hellooo' from the table opposite. He was too cute not to have a photo taken with. Funnily, 2 or his relatives were about to kill each other over a financial argument regarding their inheritance at the same time, but he didn't seem too concerned...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Thanks for visiting!

Wow! I've had over 10000 unique hits on this website since it started nearly 2 years ago. Thanks a lot to everyone who has visited and has put up with my inconsistant posting style. It's been great so far and I hope to continue posting as long as possible!

Not exactly beautiful...

Taiwan's urban landscape consists of a lot of THIS.


Taichung, once it wakes up, is really noisy. It's so noisy that you can't even hear the huge amount of air traffic that passes overhead everyday. At 5am though, it seems that every jet on the island takes off at the same time, leaving a fantastic pattern of jet streams across the sky. I didn't manage to get a good picture of this pattern, but I did capture a plane making it's own streamer in the sky.

Good morning.

If you look at the time stamp of many of my posts, you'll see I'm quite a night-owl. I saw the entire night through the other day and watched the sun rise over the apartment block buildings surrounding my own. It was actually quite scenic...

Taichung Science Park

To attract money to the city of Taichung, the government has set aside a huge block of land for hi-tech factories. I found the soon-to-be-completed Taichung Technology Park the other day by mistake and was amazed by the incredible looking architecture and size of the various semiconductor foundries I saw there. The security guards were quite picky about photos and cameras, so I wasn't able to get too many decent pics, but hopefully this will give you an idea of the feeling of the place.

Strange fruit

As I've noted before, Taiwan has some strange fruit. Here's a disturbingly-purple photo of a type of fairly tastless but shockingly bright fruit, and what it does to your tongue!

Taiwan Tea

Taiwanese people love their tea and almost every road has at least one tea shop. The variety is quite amazing and you can get anything from straight green or red tea, to pudding milk tea with passion fruit mixture (actually I just made that up, but I'm sure some shop could make it for you). Here are some varieties ordered by ladies at my school.

Once-Was-Sticky Ball

Some are better quality than others...


Here's another old photo which I don't think I ever posted. It's the inside of a temple at Sun Moon lake and it's one of the most ornate I've seen.


I have no idea what this means... A lot of English in Taiwan is purely decorative, the way Chinese characters are trendy in the West.


Here's an old photo of some horrible homework. I never knew anyone could get it SO wrong in just 2 simple sentences.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Typing Chinese... slow, when you're not a good student. I've decided to accelerate my learning I'm going to try to type everything in Chinese, even if I haven't officially learned the characters yet. The general process goes like this...

Try to remember the word you're looking for.
Think about how to 'spell it' in Mandarin phonetics.
Try to remember the correct tone for each syllable.
Search in the back of my book to find the correct tone, and try to remember what the character looks like.
Look for the correct phonetic symbols on the keyboard.
Type them.
Type the correct tone.
Make sure that the character is correct (by this time I've usually forgotten, so I have to check my book again).

And voila! You have successfully typed a single character! Translating 6 written sentences from English into Chinese usually takes me about 2 hours. However, I can do it verbally in about 1 minute.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Congratulations again must go to my room mate and good friend Rob Sparrow on his impending marriage to Dorienne Spencer. Here's a photo of a photo being taken of the very happy couple at their Taiwanese 'mock' wedding. They'll get married properly in South Africa in a short while.

Rice Paddy

Long exposure of me running with a torch in a rice paddy. The dip in the light is me falling on my rear end in the mud. It was kind of hard to see what was going on. Good thing only one person saw that happen ;)


There's nothing quite as tense as a good game of Table Soccer. This was taken at my church and was a post prayer meeting match between the pastor of our church and one of my mates.

Dragon Boat Festival

This occured on the 31st of May this year. However there wasn't much celebration this time round, because everyone's attention was on the current political scandal involving the president's son. At least one of my classes got to celebrate by having their own dragon boat races.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Scooter City

One of the most prominent things about Taiwan is the sheer number of scooters you see everywhere. This is a shot of a department store parking lot in Taichung named 'Tiger City'.

Old Phospor lighting

Well the image is old, from December of last year actually. With my new computer I've increased the brightness a bit so now it's possible to see it properly. I have a watch and a small compass which both glow in the dark and I used them to illuminate my face while I was lying in bed one evening. The exposure was about 2 minutes long.


GuGuan is a great place to drive to to see a sunrise if you have the inclination (and can wake up at 3:30am!)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Always something to do.

Taiwan has to be the most convenient country in the world. Where else can you go carting at 10pm on a Sunday?


Yes, the real kind. There really aren't many of them in Taiwan, it seems. Well I guess that's to be expected in the urban area I live in. It's just hard to get used to when there is such a rich diversity of bird life in my home country of South Africa. Anyway, here are some birds and a blue sky, too! What a good day that was ;)

[Correction... It appears that Grace, a friend of mine had my camera when this photo was taken, so technically it's not my photo at all!]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sunset over Danshui

Here's a picture from an area known as 'Danshui' which I'm told means Iron Water in Mandarin. It's about 30 minutes from Taibei (the capital of Taiwan) and accessible via the MRT line. Friends and I visited there on Saturday and I took this picture overlooking the Danshui river at Sunset