Friday, November 11th, 2016
Just back from my first ever visit to the island of Taiwan. After the hiatus caused by the production difficulties on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote I needed to make plans for some other outlet for my general restlessness. I needed to get back on the road. My friend and series photographer Basil Pao lives in Hong Kong, less than two hours flying time from Taiwan. Come and see it for yourself he said. You’ll be surprised.
A small island making cell phones wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for my first long-distance trip in a couple of years, but I like a challenge, and I’m glad I took it on. Taiwan is fascinating. Half is an international workshop and half is a huge and rather beautiful national park, with great trails through high mountains and spectacular forests (in which some of the trees have been standing since before the birth of Christ) If you’ve time to dawdle, the street food is superb and if you’re in a hurry, a high-speed train can take you almost the entire length of the island in two hours. And where else would you find a bird called the White-Whiskered Laughing Thrush? I told it some of John Cleese’s old material and it flew off.
I’ll give a fuller account of my adventure (hopefully with some of Basil’s pictures) when I’ve had time to digest an exhilarating week in the country the early Portuguese explorers christened Formosa “the beautiful island”. Meanwhile here are a couple of snaps taken on the road. A selfie of yours truly taken at the top of a mountain trail (around 2,500 metres) and a view of the rather idyllic Sun Moon Lake before the tourists boats are out.