Day 2 in Taiwan

The second day on Taiwan was spent a few hours outside of Taipei in the town of Juifen. I wish I’d had longer to explore Juifen, we could have done with 2 days there really.

The day started off with a trip to the bus station, where we met a couple who where on there honeymoon. They were headed to Juifen as well, so I chatted with them a little on the bus, when I told them I didn’t have a map they kindly let me have theirs as they’d been to Juifen before and new their way around. As it turned out later in the day I was most thankful for their kindness.  The reason for this little excursion out of the city was I wanted to get a night time photo of a long and winding mountain road, well more of that later.

Juifen as it turned out was a charming little town, and probably made for the best day of the trip. After 1 ½ hours by bus we arrived in town, and got dropped off close to the main market street.  This was heaven for Jayoung, and danger at every corner for me! The street was thronging with people oweing to the fact it was a public holiday in Taiwan, I don’t really do crowds but hey ho. We both preferred the shops on this street far more than the night market the previous evening and it was long before Taiwanese dollar was being spent, to my considerable glee Jayoung spotted a glass ball in one of the shops so I bought that as my other one had a few too many scratches. We walked the length of the street and rather tired from the heat it was decided a nice cup of green tea was what the doctor ordered. A rather expensive cup of green tea as it would happen, costing twice as much as our meal in that award winning dim-sum restaurant! Well the tea was good, and we got to keep the tea leaves we didn’t use.

The market negotiated, my wallet that much lighter, it was time to take a look at some temples, scenery and mountain roads. As we walked up the hill we passed the traffic that was gridlocked along the road. Jayoung was probably struggling a little as the road was going up the hill, but we found the temple which was being bathed in the evening sunshine. The temple was nice, but perhaps the view you could see from there was even nice. The blue mist in the hills reminded me of Korea, and in particular a similar scene I’d once seen at Seoraksan. The sun fading fast it was now time to looking for the winding mountain road, which I foolishly had not actually located at this point. This meant a mad scramble to find it in the fading light. Well a bus ride, some walking and an educated guess later and I was standing at the place. We arrived not a moment too soon as I saw a man climbing down off the mountain and I just knew it was the spot. A little closer inspection identified a rope, and I realised getting to the place where the photo should be taken would need a little mountaineering. I clung onto the rope and made my ascent, it was dark so I had to feel my way and I was most thankful for the rope, it probably made the difference between me getting to the spot or breaking bones and falling off the edge of a mountain. The viewpoint was a precipase on the side of the moutain, enough space to put up a tripod and that was it. I gingerly got everything in position and then waited for traffic. I soon realised this was going to be a looong exposure, about 2 minutes in fact. The road wasn’t so busy so it was a case of waiting for the traffic to come, I decided to wait for a bus as the slower movement would make for a nice light trail. I reckon about 30 minutes later I was on my way back down the mountain with my shot, and happy with a good days work.


About Simon Bond

A photographer in SE Asia
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