Huandao Day 5

Yilan to Keelung, the north-east corner of Taiwan…

Huandao Day 5
Lanyang Museum. Photo: Zhen-Kang.
Distance 110 km
Ride time (with stops) 4 hours
Number of giant cranes scaled 1

My day started with starfruit juice and scallion pancakes.

Yilan County’s famous for its scallions. I can confirm they’re almost confusingly flavorsome, and somehow kinda juicy:

A take-out cup on a table, and a hand holding a paper bag that contains a partially-eaten scallion pancake.
Starfruit juice and a scallion pancake.
Six people sitting around a public hot-spring. Half of them have their legs in the hot water.
Near the scallion cafe, on the main street of Jiaosi Township, was this free public hot-spring. The water was comfortable—around 35ºC.
A bustling four-land road with shops and two-to-eight-story buildings on either side. It’s a sunny day.
Here’s the main street. Jiaosi is one of Taiwan’s most famous hot-spring towns.
Five people sit around a public hot-spring, with their legs in the water. Beyond the hot-spring is a leafy green park.
A few blocks away, this free hot-spring in a public park was 41.5ºC.
A Japanese-style wooden building with paper lanterns hanging out the front, set in a leafy green park.
There was a pay-for-entry hot-spring in the same area, costing NT$160 (NZ$8) per person.
A rundown single-story brick building with moss-covered tiled roof. It’s surrounded by dense green foliage.
This historic brick house was off to one side.
A single-story brick building that appears well-maintained, with lanterns hanging from the front eaves and a traditional-style bicycle parked out the front.
The front of the same building looked much less forgotten.
Lanyang Museum, an unconventional glass-and-tile building that appears to be sinking into a lake. Because of it’s partially-sunken appearance, it’s hard to estimate the size of the building. It appears to be a few stories tall at the highest point.
A few kilometers north, I stopped to take a photo of Lanyang Museum (蘭陽博物館) in Toucheng Township. Opened in 2010, it’s shaped like a local cuesta—a hill that’s steep on one side, with a gentle slope on the other. Lead architect Kris Yao also designed one of my favorite buildings in Kaohsiung, China Steel Corporation Headquarters.
Santiao Chiao Lighthouse, a white lighthouse on immacuately-maintained grounds. Single-story while buildings, and a Taiwan flag, line the sides of the lighthouse grounds. There are two-dozen tourists wandering around. It looks like a warm, sunny day.
Thirty minutes up the coast, I reached Taiwan’s eastern-most point, at its eastern-most lighthouse: Santiao Chiao Lighthouse (Cape Santiago Lighthouse; 三貂角燈塔).
View of Turtle Island, off the coast of Taiwan. The silhouette of the island looks roughly like the shape of a turtle.
Looking south, I could see Turtle Island (龜山島).
A view along a green bush-covered coastline. A wide road with car and truck traffic sweeps around a bend in the distance.
Looking west, I could see the road that would take me to Keelung.
Nighttime view of a canal in central Keelung City, Taiwan.
It was 13ºC when I arrived in Keelung—a port city of 360,000, where it rains 50% of the days. I checked in to my hotel using a touchscreen powered by, according to the manager, “very clever AI”. The same manager then offered me a choice of four McDonald’s items for breakfast tomorrow. I chose the plain bagel. He said I could collect my plain bagel from reception between 8am and 10am.
A small truck driving past pedestrians, with political flags and banners on the back.
On a walk through the city, I saw some last-minute campaigning for tomorrow’s election. Taiwan has an MMP-like parliament, so everyone gets to vote for their preferred party plus their preferred local representative. Unlike in New Zealand, they also get a third vote: for president. I’ll be watching TaiwanPlus’ live election coverage (in English) from 4pm (UCT+8) tomorrow.
The entrance to a lively-looking, crowded night market in Keelung City. In the foreground, a stall is selling some kind of friend food. There are lanterns hanging above the street.
I bought dinner at this night market. When I ordered some sweet potato balls with pepper, a nearby grandpa complimented me on my Chinese skills (despite me saying “pepper” in English). I said to him in Chinese (sincerely and factually), “I think I speak bad Chinese”. He replied in Chinese: “I think you speak good Chinese! Hahahaha!”
The lower few floors of a skyscraper reflected in a canal. The exterior walls of these lower floors are covered in illuminated signage for building tenants such as McDonalds, Muji, and ABC Mart. To the right of the building is a two-story-tall political billboard with a man and woman on it.
The tallest building in Keelung, Lih-Rong An Imperial Crown Building (元邦皇冠商業大樓), is dominated by advertising on its lower floors. On the right, a billboard promotes Lai Ching-Te, the current vice-president who is now running for president.
Night-time view of lights reflecting in Keelung Harbor. The letters K-E-E-L-U-N-G, each approximately one-story-tall, are illuminated on the far side of the harbor.
I followed the canal to Keelung Harbor.
Looking up at a Keelung Tower, a structure that closely resembles a large harbor crane. It is surrounded by shorter buildings.
Then walked a few blocks inland to Keelung Tower (基隆塔)—a skywalk that pays homage to the shipping cranes of the harbor.
Two elevators inset in an industrial-style concrete wall. The left elevator only stops at the first floor and the roof. The right elevator also stops at the fourth floor.
I scaled it by elevator. The skywalk’s 58 meters high, roughly equivalent to an 18-story building.
Panoramic view of Keelung City at night. A glass balustrade is visible in the foreground.
From the top, a view of Keelung City.
A nighttime view looking down on Keelung Tower from a few meters further up the hill. The city is visible in the distance.
And here, a view of Keelung Tower. It’s 86 meters long, leading to a temple on a hillside above the city.
An arched entrance to a bomb shelter. A rusted metal door is locked, but the interior of the shelter can be seen over the top of the door. The walls are covered in green moss.
At the base of the tower is the historic Triangle Plaza Bomb Shelter (三角廣場防空洞). It was closed when I visited…
A sign that says ‘Watch Out for Snakes, Bees, and Insects’.
…Which was probably a good thing.

Day 5 soundtrack

  1. On with Kara Swisher (Podcast)
  2. The Summer Set – Legendary (Apple Music) (Spotify)
  3. Lights Follow – Lights Follow (Apple Music) (Spotify)
  4. Radiohead – The Bends (Apple Music) (Spotify)