Taipei, Taiwan — Friday, March 5

This was my last full day in Taiwan, so I decided to book a short trip outside of Taipei. However, that wasn’t going to happen until the afternoon, so I spent a couple of hours wandering around the vicinity of my hotel to kill a little time. The structure in the pic below, which looks like a framework of steel trees, was still being constructed. But I thought that it looked pretty cool.

I actually stumbled across a brewery, and if I had had a little more time, I would have popped in for a tour (if it was available). Some of the exterior walls of the facility were made with beer kegs.
Some artwork also livened up the brewery’s walls.
I spent a decade working at The University of Alabama, so I really enjoy wandering through the campus grounds when I come across a university. I took a quick detour through National Taipei University of Technology.
I discovered a really pleasant courtyard next to the library, and it’s featured in the next four pictures.

It finally came time to take my tour outside of the city. We drove about 40 minutes outside of Taipei to the northeastern shore of the island. This rock is a landmark there. Not only is it beautiful, but you can also see the different levels of ocean marked clearly on it.
Our guide told us that the rock in the picture below came from somewhere else because it doesn’t match the surrounding rock. To my untrained eye, it looks like it might be a lava bomb. Taiwan has endured a lot of volcanic activity throughout its history, and I learned a little about these processes when I visited Jeju Island in South Korea (which has a similar volcanic history). A lava bomb is a ball of magma that is shot out of a volcano, starts to cool as it flies through the air, and then lands (sometimes quite far away) somewhere else.
The two pics below show another rock that has recorded the various sea levels during this area’s geological history.

Here’s a picture of a small ocean inlet. Our guide told us that as many as 100 people a year die in this area while they are fishing — especially in the winter. He said that people will gather on the rocks, and sometimes a violent wave will crash into the shore and suck those who are fishing away.
You can see that it was hazy on this day, but if you look closely enough, you should be able to detect two different shades of water here. This is the Bay of Two Colors. Some of the water is blue, and some of it has an orange tint.
You can see the orange a bit better on the rocks and barriers in the middle of this picture. Mountains are right next to the ocean here (they’re to the left of this photo), and they used to be mined for minerals. Though the mines have been closed for years, they still contain large deposits of iron. As water flows from the mountains down to the ocean, it picks up large amounts of iron, and that turns the water orange.
I snapped this photo as we were driving up the mountain, so it’s blurry. But you can see the orange rocks in the waterway. That, again, is from the high iron concentration in the water.
We traveled up into the mountains to pay a visit to the village of Chiufen. It used to be a mining village that essentially died when all of the mines were closed. However, a Taiwanese movie about the town and its miners, which was made a couple of decades ago, revived interest in the village. Now it is full of tourists.

Being situated up in the mountains, Chiufen offers some great views.
This is a well-known building now because it served as a backdrop for one of the movie’s famous scenes.
This is a movie theater that was operational during Chiufen’s heyday as a place to live. But, it closed about 50 years ago when the area’s economy went south, and it has never reopened.
This store takes just about any kind of cash you might have on you.
Here’s another view from Chiufen Village. You can see the mountains on the bottom of the picture and the mountains in the middle of the picture. In between them is a small ocean inlet.
Once I made it back into Taipei a bit later in the day, I wandered around and ate some dinner. Afterward, I came across a nice little coffee shop and stopped in for a little java.
I also wanted to snap a photo of the restaurant you see below — Umeko. It’s a great Taiwanese restaurant where I ate on Thursday night (this particular location is just off of Linsen North Road). I had a chicken dish along with some of the local beer. The staff was very friendly, and the food was excellent.
This final picture was taken around 5 AM Saturday morning, March 6th. I had to get up very early to take a ride to the airport and fly back to Seoul. This was the view of Taipei from my 9th floor hotel room.
In my next post, I’ll publish a few pics of my hotel.

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