Branding Taiwan’s Cities

It’s Mid-September and the unusually oppressive heat of summer is fading at last, replaced by the rich, windy weather (and occasional typhoon) for which Taiwan autumns are known. As a cyclist, it’s my favorite time of the year, and this week’s column would probably be about my upcoming weekend cycling plans, if I’d not been…

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Guanyin, Snakes & History’s Ghosts: An Afternoon on Turtle Island

Though the form for which the island is named is readily apparent from angles further north and south, from Toucheng pier due west, Turtle Island looks more slug-like than terrapin-shaped. A small and curving rock covered in green, the island – like all points on the horizon – grows larger and more distinctive as our boat draws closer. There are about sixty people on the Blue Whale, all wearing bright orange life jackets and hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphins sometimes spotted frolicking around the island. The boat takes its time along the island’s southern end, a steep hill dotted with carved outcroppings.

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We Never Made it to Jiufen

Having overstayed its welcome here as in much of the rest of the northern hemisphere, Summer is finally over in Taiwan. The forecast is for heavy rain over most of Northern Taiwan through the weekend, which means movies and Netflix, and maybe a wet bicycle ride. So it’s a good thing I made the most out of last week’s four day weekend by spending much of it outdoors, bringing a friend from Singapore on a personalized tour of Taipei including a food tour of the Raohe Night Market, a tea hike through Maokong, and the all-night art, music and culture party that was the 2017 Nuit Blanche Taipei festival.

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Customizing travel, or Infinite diversity in infinite combination

As an exceptionally warm and eventful September gives way to a (presumably) cooler October, I find myself reflecting on two important events of the past month, events that are on the surface unrelated but that I, in true gonzo journalist tradition, plan to not merely connect, but to do so in a way that makes sense.

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The ghosts were out in Keelung

We heard it before we saw it, the fireworks, chanting and singing. Before we’d even left the highway tunnel marking where the jungle-filled mountains between Taipei city abruptly becomes the bustling harbor city of Keelung we were being greeted by cacophony.

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Heading out to the mountains

Weekend Plans: Heading out to the mountains

If I may toot my own horn for a minute, it’s been a pretty eventful week. In addition to helping to create a number of customized tours for North American visitors heading to Taiwan in a few weeks (more about them in future posts), last night at 8pm I submitted for publishing my most recent book on Taiwan, Formosa Moon.

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