Taiwan: life (almost) as normal during the pandemic

Taipei view from the Earth God Temple

The above photo is Taipei from the Earth God Temple in Nanshijiao, but I’m writing this post in Korea, where I recently did a 14-day stint in government quarantine in order to enter the country (after having to leave Taipei following the end of Taiwan’s coronavirus overstay amnesty at the end of June). More on all that soon, but first here are some photos of life in Taipei recently – thanks to Taiwan’s early and effective response to the pandemic life has been mostly pretty normal other than the border being closed to tourists and people wearing masks everywhere (they’ve basically been ready for the next one since SARS in 2003, and the vice president being an epidemiologist probably helps)

This was taken around Valentine’s Day, and perfectly sums up my feelings about that particular occasion:

And here’s Dom getting stuck into St Patrick’s festivities a month later:

A few obligatory Taipei 101 snaps:

Street view of Taipei 101
View of Taipei 101 from Yuanshan Station
View of Taipei 101 and a small temple in the park
Taipei 101 view from Fuzhoushan

This last one’s from Fuzhoushan, hike report here

A few random murals spotted around town:

Nanshijiao
Nanshijiao

No, sorry I don’t know why the dolphin has a toothbrush or why there’s a giant crab on the side of that building. Pretty cool though.

Weather was fantastic throughout winter and spring, beautiful blue skies but not too hot:

Taipei street view from my balcony

Afternoon rays at Baoan Temple:

Taipei Baoan Temple

These flightless birds are a common sight in Taipei’s city parks and on the hiking trails in the surrounding mountains:

Linsen Park, Taipei

An awesome tree in a parking lot. Glad it’s been left there through the years:

Xingtian Temple, with covid station (temperature check & sanitiser) at the entrance:

Xingtian Temple
Xingtian Temple

This next one was taken in January or February, when the whole world should have already been taking precautionary steps for the likely arrival of coronavirus but most countries failed to do so. Taiwan acted early and it paid off. It was hard to get masks and sanitiser for a month or so (i.e. when this pic was taken), but they quickly ramped up production and introduced a rationing system to make sure people had enough:

A few random comical touches (the first one always makes me think of My My, Hey Hey from Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps, and no I didn’t arrange the animals in the last one):

Taipei random street scene

And this lego cat’s a spitting image of the kitten my friends adopted last year:

…though he’s not a kitten any more:

And finally a couple more hikes I did recently were Qixingshan again (but in better weather, route info here):

Yangmingshan

…and walking up to the Hongludi Earth God Temple in southern New Taipei, with its massive statue of the god in question and a whole bunch of random statues on the road up. I didn’t find the best route up, but did find a good one coming back down through the forest along the ridge. So I haven’t written this one up as a hike yet, but plan to go back at some point and find a better route to write up:

Nanshijiao
Nanshijiao
Nanshijiao
Nanshijiao
Taipei view from the Earth God Temple
Taipei Earth God Temple
Taipei view from the Earth God Temple

See more Taiwan posts here, Taiwan travel guide here, Taipei hiking guide here

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