From May 2010

No Photos Please!

As a foreigner in China it’s not unusual to get stopped by people wanting to take your photo (especially outside big cities or at tourist attractions). This is OK the first few times but does get increasingly tiresome, especially when you don’t like having your photo taken in the first place. A friend of mine was recently looking for a way to deter said snappers so I put together a quick T-shirt design for her: Read more

A Date For Your Diary

On my final evening in Taipei we headed out from the hotel in search of dinner and quite by accident stumbled across a wonderful little restaurant called “Diary” on Dongfeng street in Da-an district (台北市東豐街53號). Attracted by its striking interior of exposed concrete walls and roof beams, softened by wooden tables and subtle lighting, we ventured inside… Read more

How To Optimize Your VPN Connection

For folks living and travelling in China having a VPN (Virtual Private Network) has become a necessity if you want to leap over the great firewall and access sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to name but a few. While personal VPN providers like Witopia and 12vpn provide easy to set up packages which you can install on your computer many people will still intermittently experience slow or unstable connections (through no fault of the provider) which can dampen the experience. Read more

Ximending Night Market

Another day, another night market in Taipei, this time Ximending in the Wanhua District where the lights shine bright and every other person was riding a bike! In comparison to Shida and Shilin night markets Ximending had a more modern feeling and definitely seemed to be catering to a younger crowd. Read more

Louis XIV in Taipei

I’ve had some pretty good food in my time but rarely do my exploits extend to multi-course fine dining. Whilst I was in Taiwan I had the pleasure of experiencing some excellent haute cuisine curtsey of some very generous friends. One place in particular which stood out was Louis XIV, located in Taipei’s Da-an district, which serves exceptional French provencal cuisine. Here’s some pics to whet your appetite. Read more

Dragon’s Back Trail

As in may parts of the world May 1st is a national holiday in China. I’ve learnt from bitter experience that during holidays in China it’s best to avoid popular locations since you’re more likely to be greeted by hordes of people rather than beautiful views… Read more

PechaKucha Night Shenzhen

The words “culture” and “Shenzhen” are rarely heard together in the same sentence, such is the nature of a young city of immigrants who have come to make their fortune. This isn’t to say there is no culture in Shenzhen but it can be hard to find. One place trying to invigorate Shenzhen’s art scene is OCT-LOFT in Nanshan district where old factory buildings have been renovated into a modern art and cultural center (somewhat similar to Beijing’s 798 district). Read more

Baoan Temple 保安宮

Over the past few years I’ve visited many temples in the region and while each has its own charm,  like with Churches in the UK, there is a certain point at which they all begin to look-alike. Most traditional buildings in Asia exhibit the same basic design elements – thick wooden columns serve as the load-bearing element of the structure which sit atop a large stone base, anchoring the building. The walls, floors, and complex bracketed roof structure are then built around these columns. Read more

Miaoli County 苗栗縣

On the third day of my trip to Taiwan we travelled about 2 hours out of Taipei by car into Miaoli County as recommended by our taxi driver (who conveniently spoke perfect English!). Taiwan may be a relatively small island but has much variety on offer in terms of scenery. Read more

Shilin Night Market

After visiting Taipei 101 on my second day in Taiwan we went to a restaurant with some friends overlooking the city on a rather precarious mountainside. We had planned to eat outside but as it was a windy evening and so we retreated inside to enjoy some Taiwanese hot-pot. Read more