Friday, 25 January 2013

Nankan: are you truly ugly?

I'm leaving Taiwan in around two months and while the date of my departure is not confirmed yet it is starting to feel like the end. I have handed in my notice at my current position and I'm starting to receive replies from job applications in Vietnam and Thailand. I'm very excited about the future and looking forward to knowing where I'm going to be heading in the very near future.

I have had an interesting time over the last two years in Taiwan and have met some characters. I am always hard on Nankan – the city where I currently reside – for being ugly so today I went out to try and prove to myself that even ugly industrial towns in north Taiwan have some beauty. Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder but if you look hard enough you can always find something nice and unexpected.

I left the house armed with my camera and only an idea that I wanted to find the heart of the town I live in before I leave. To be honest, I don't really know what I mean by that, but I traipsed off towards the centre of town. I quickly popped to the convenience store to buy some sushi to take with me in case I got hungry and bumped into two expats that also live here. They were having an afternoon beer and didn't seem to impressed by my idea of walking around Nankan with a camera and preferred to drink in the winter sun as opposed to aimlessly walking around in it.

The first thing I did was head to one of the local markets which is incredibly small but there are plenty of people knocking around to make it worth a pass by, I noticed a lady cutting and selling bamboo and some guys fixing a house up a ladder without much care in the world. They thought it was funny that I took a picture of them but really I always find it funny/alarming when people so carelessly throw safety concerns to the wind. After that I headed towards an abandoned temple on a hillside which can't be seen from the city really due to the highrise buildings blocking it. On my way to the temple I saw a pen containing a random assortment of animals including plenty of chickens, some goats and some deer. This was pretty cool but further on up the path I stumbled across some birds in the trees and a few on the power lines crossing the path and once I'd approached and scared them and then remained still for a bit they returned and seemed to be enjoying themselves again. Taiwan is full of lots of bird life and I wish I'd taken the opportunity to try and spot more of it.

After I'd scared the birds and got a photo that looked like one was mooning me I headed for the temple. The temple is locally believed to be cursed and I've always meant to take some photos of it. So today I at least achieved that goal. I stopped at the temple for something to eat and a rest and watched the sunset – one thing to be said for Nankan is that it is definitely very ugly from street level but from an elevation while it is getting dark there is a certain charm, but saying that I guess a sunset can add a touch of glamour to a photo of anything.

After watching the sunset I decided to try and get lost on the way home to see if I could find anything new in Nankan before I left. I failed on finding anything new but feel that I was moderately successful in finding at least some beauty in a very ugly town. :D

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