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Sun Moon Lake

Our tour this day took us inland into the mountains to Sun Moon Lake.

Although it seems to be natural it is in fact another example of Taiwan’s amazing infrastructure.  Once a smaller natural lake it’s been enlarged with a dam and is used for pump storage to complement a nuclear power-station, located elsewhere.  Thus it has a rising and falling tide line depending on the demand for power, in addition to local rainfall.

 

 

It’s notable for a shrine on an island, that we were taken to by boat, and for the Japanese fishing nets similar to those we saw in Kerala. 

 

 

The local town has a strong Aboriginal presence and there are local craft markets that we were encouraged to visit.

 

Clint's photos - as are six of the following:

 

 

As we returned from our boat trip it rained heavily.  So instead of wandering around the markets Craig and I found a weatherproof balcony overlooking the lake and then, bored with that, a tea shop that was not nearly so weatherproof.  

 

 

It was interesting to see Betel Nut Palms (Areca catechu) growing wild and to learn that the Aboriginal people and some truck drivers are addicted to this stimulant that destroys a user’s teeth and causes them to spit red sputum constantly, among other unpleasant health issues that include cancer.

Our magical mystery tour bus then stopped off at a peacock sanctuary. But the birds were huddled indoors against the cold rain.  That suited Wendy who is phobic about birds, particularly big ones with feathery display tails.

But we couldn’t leave the lake without visiting one last temple this time high up overlooking it.  It can be approached by 366 steps, each representing a birthday and marked with one or two notable people born on that day, or alternatively by the road. 

 

 

Fortunately we didn’t invest in the steps as the temple was only vaguely interesting, having some hair reputed to have been grown by the Buddha, and the view was marred by the bad weather.  At least hair was a change from bits of the ’true cross’ or of some Saint.

Temples all done we spent the evening, for dinner and the following breakfast, at an hotel on the edge of, and partially suspended over, the lake.

 

 

Those who wanted to could visit a hot mineral spa.  But as the weather was now quite pleasant and as our room had a balcony overlooking the water and sufficient chairs for four of us to consume a bottle or two of quite passable local wine, we skipped the joys of a communal bath.

 

 


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Travel

Bolivia

 

 

In October 2011 our little group: Sonia, Craig, Wendy and Richard visited Bolivia. We left Puno in Peru by bus to Cococabana in Bolivia. After the usual border form-filling and stamps, and a guided visit to the church in which the ‘Black Madonna’ resides, we boarded a cruise boat, a large catamaran, to Sun Island on the Bolivian side of the lake.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Wedding

 

 

Jordan Baker and Jeff Purser were married on Saturday 3rd of December 2011. The ceremony took place on the cliff top at Clovelly.

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Opinions and Philosophy

The Prospect of Eternal Life

 

 

 

To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream:
ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause:
… But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

[1]

 

 

 

 

When I first began to write about this subject, the idea that Hamlet’s fear was still current in today’s day and age seemed to me as bizarre as the fear of falling off the earth if you sail too far to the west.  And yet several people have identified the prospect of an 'undiscovered country from whose realm no traveller returns' as an important consideration when contemplating death.  This is, apparently, neither the rational existential desire to avoid annihilation; nor the animal imperative to keep living under any circumstances; but a fear of what lies beyond.

 

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