Monday, January 30, 2006

This is the same tree a few posts back, but with a long exposure zoom applied to it. Kindof appropriate given the amount of fireworks that are being set off across Taiwan at the moment!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The world's largest butterfly?
And here's another cool one I discovered. This is the long exposure focus trick. You focus correctly then defocus while the shutter is open. You get this jet effect happening as points of light fade larger and larger.
Have I ever mentioned that many Taiwanese people like christmas lights? Well, they do and they're all over the city.
Taichung's Science museum is a great place to get away from the concrete jungle.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Emmie requested this photo (by the way, check out her blog for amazing photos), so here it is. I'm singing on the left and John Q is singing with me. In the background is the Kareoke video. He, he, it was fun, but I'm kind of glad it's over now!

Monday, January 23, 2006


Instructions for connecting to the Internet at a nearby hotel, apparantly.
Congratulations to Rob and Dorienne for getting engaged!
My apologies to all those who have been visiting my blog for a while. I'm sure you must be bored with night pictures. I guess it's just due to the fact that I'm only free at night after work and that I think things look so much more interesting after the sun goes down. Anyway, about this photo. Taichung has some really attractive parts and one of them is near a large department store where someone has lined all the trees and the entire one side of the road with Christmas lights. It looks fantastic.
And here are two of my photogenic friends doing a cowboy dance at the banquet.
English translations in Taiwan can be so funny sometimes. This was one of the prizes given away at the banquet. I mean, I understand what it means, but it sounds like something a psychologist should buy from this wording.
Once again, my company had it's yearly banquet extravaganza, complete with lots of hype, money and entertainment.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Help! I have to sing a Taiwanese song in front of about 1000 people on Sunday at my Company's annual banquet extravaganza! The fact that it's meant to be a comedy act isn't much comfort though because the only Taiwanese I know is 'Tee-abo' which means 'I don't understand'. Taiwanese is kind of like a dialect of Mandarin Chinese. So basically the characters are the same, but most of the words are pronounced differently. The little Mandarin I do know doesn't help me one bit. At the moment it's just learning 3 minutes of random sounds. I'm doomed!
My apartment complex management has strung up flashing lights and shiny stuff all over the garden for the Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year season. This is me.
Taiwanese people love expensive things, and watches are a current hot item. Here's a bad photo of a new watch shop that just opened close to my workplace. There must be at least 1000 watches inside, all of the Rolex/Patek Phillipe/IWC/Handmade-and-ridiculously-expensive type. The capital to stock this shop must have been enormous. I hope they have a good alarm system!
Riding in Dakeng the other day, I encountered this shrine, underneath a tree. Actually these kinds of shrines are really common outside the city. Typically, one can see incense and fruit offered to the idol in the shrine.
"Well Bob, I spotted this cigar shaped object moving at an incredible pace through the sky. My husband says he felt a strange tingling sensation on the back of his left earlobe when he saw it. My sister says it's the same thing that came for her last year, and she don't want to say any more."
For those of you who are interested in Architecture, here's a decorative arch serving as the entrance to somewhere important. Actually, this arch leads to nothing other than a parking lot which is a bit odd. Perhaps it used to lead to the nearby temple some years ago.
Here's a nice bit of typical scenery. It's winter now so you can see things are quite dry.
Friends and I drove to a waterfall SE of Taichung on Sunday. On the way I took this photo from the window. It's a traditional Taiwanese puppet show. Strangely the puppet was out but there was no one watching. A televised version of this art form has been quite popular too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Here's an old photo that I didn't post. The other day my friend Emmie was gettign all Paparazzi on me with her new camera, so I thought I'd return the favour. Auto created with Picasa.
This was taken at 'Yakiniku', a hugely popular barbecue restuarant chain that is spreading all over Taichung. You pay a fixed price and then you can order whatever you want and as much of it as you want for 2 hours. It's good food, and you get to cook it the way YOU want to.
Here are some attractive blue and white Christmas lights outside a resturant in Taichung. And yes, I meant to focus like that because I liked the way the coloured circles overlap.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

And here's one of those apartment buildings being built, next to a completed one. They are springing up at a phenomenal rate, probably due to many people realising what a good city Taichung is to live in.
Just playing with my zoom lens at People's Park.
For those of you who actually live in Taichung, or are ever likely to visit this city, here's a suggestion for you. North of Taichung, travelling on Chung Teh Rd on the way to Fong Yuen, you will pass under a bridge decorated with steel cutouts of cyclists. This is actually a very nice dedicated cycling path that runs for at least 15 km. There are shops that hire bikes too, so if you don't have one, you can rent one for a resonable price. It's a great way to see some typical rural Taiwanese scenery at a leisurely pace.
Building a large apartment complex is pretty expensive, so to finance the cost, the construction company usually sells a large number of the apartment units even before the first truck of concrete arrives. To interest people in their amazing new building, the companies build elaborate and very nicely designed temporary showrooms, sometimes resembling the actual feel of the building to come, but usually just containing models and computer drawings of the planned apartments. This way they raise enough money to actaully build the place.
My friend Emmie left Taiwan 2 days ago. I was sad to see her go, but I'm sure she's going back to even better things.
Taiwanese weddings are different in many regards to South African weddings. In Taiwan, the couple usually takes a whole bunch of very nice professionally done photographs BEFORE the wedding. These photos might involve the couple travelling to all kinds of exotic destinations. This was a more low key wedding photo session, just taken in a park in Taichung.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year to everyone! Here's a picture of the outside of Taichung's baseball stadium, the place where 150000 people squeezed inside for a free concert featuring some of the biggest names in Taiwanese music. I didn't get in though, so I spent the New Year on a random road with some friends :( Anyway, quite a different experience and some nice fireworks. I've decided that things look better at night in general!
This is the Cathay bank building in Taichung, which I think is Taichung's tallest building and also happens to face the school I teach at. Here's a bit of a manipulated photo of the building on a misty evening when the bright green logo was lighting up the surrounding sky.
I got a bacterial infection in my leg, and then in my blood, so I had to stay in hostpital for 5 days (This is just a weird thing that happened to me, not a common Taiwan occurrance, by the way). I think I was the first foreign patient the hospital had ever had, because I got a LOT of attention. Here's what I mean...
The moon, of course. Taichung doesn't usually get this clear the air is quite smoggy usually, so I was lucky to get such a good shot.
We had a Christmas party with our Church homegroup on the 23rd floor of a friend's aparment. This photo happened by accident, but I like the way it turned out.
Oh my! It's someone trying to take a photo! It's a pity I don't usually get this kind of attention when I'm teaching them. These are some of my favourite kids, by the way. Cute and pretty well behaved.
Man, my paternal instincts must be kicking in. What's with all the photos of kids? Well, this is probably the sweetest little girl I've ever seen. She's only 2 years old and posed for my monster camera so nicely...
But thanks to my nice zoom lens, I managed to take an illegal photo of him and the fantastic soprano that accompanied him. Anyone know her name?
Oh, yes, it was 8 degrees and then it decided to rain, too!
Pavarotti came to Visit Taichung, of all places, on the last stop of his final Asian tour, and I went along. He was good but sounded tired. Aparently, he's going to retire soon. Anyway, it was a once in a lifetime chance to see the world's most famous tenor perform.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Here's a typical Taiwanese funeral in progress. A tent or temporary room is normally set up on the road outside the place of the deceased's residence. The different colours on the tops of the strange outfits signify the relation to the deceased, I have been told. If you've never seen one, these funerals can look really freaky, as they are often accompanied by weird music and rituals.
This is a typical 'lunchbox' in Taiwan. Actually this is a bit more expensive than a usual 'lunchbox', but you get the idea. You normally get a piece of meat on a bed of rice accompanied by a good dose of vegetables. Pretty satisfying and nutritious, if a little tastless (there's seldom any sauce with the meat and rice.)
Just 40 mins out of Taichung is WuFong. There's this mountain road that goes on forever, and if you persevere, you get a great view! Emmie, Rob and Grace with some Taiwanese mountains in the background.