*take nothing for granted!
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2015

Who is Online

We have 236 guests and no members online

Translate to another language

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.

 

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh


    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item


Travel

The United Kingdom

 

 

 

On the surface London seems quite like Australia.  Walking about the streets; buying meals; travelling on public transport; staying in hotels; watching TV; going to a play; visiting friends; shopping; going to the movies in London seems mundane compared to travel to most other countries.  Signs are in English; most people speak a version of our language, depending on their region of origin. Electricity is the same and we drive on the same side or the street.  

But look as you might, nowhere in Australia is really like London.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

Les Misérables - The Musical

 

The musical Les Misérables has returned to Sydney.   By now we have both seen several versions.    

But we agreed that this new version is exceptional, with several quite spectacular staging innovations and an excellent cast of singers with perhaps one exception who was nevertheless very good.

Despite an audience that was obviously very familiar with the material (if I'm to judge by the not so sotto voce anticipatory comments from the woman next to us) the production managed to evoke the required tears and laughter in the appropriate places.  The packed theatre was clearly delighted and, opera style, the audience shouted approval at and applauded several of the vocal performances, some were moved to a standing ovation at the end.

 

 

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Climate Change - a Myth?

 

 

Recently, an increasing number of friends and acquaintances has told me that Climate Change is a myth.  

Obviously they are talking about 'Anthropogenic Global Warming', not disclaiming actual changes to the climate.  

We don't need climate scientists to tell us that the climate changes. Our own experience is sufficient to be quite sure of that. 

During my lifetime the climate has been anything but constant.  Else what is drought relief about?  And the ski seasons have definitely been variable. 

In the longer term we all have to rely on others. For example on scientists who have themselves examined ice cores or tree rings or sea level records or other physical evidence that can be dated. 

So I'm prepared to believe the scientists who have determined sea levels showing that fourteen or fifteen thousand years ago a hypothetical Australian could walk from Tasmania to New Guinea or an Irishman all the way to Java.

 

Changing sea levels during the past 20,000 years
 Source Wikipedia: Early Human Migration & Sea Level change

 

This rise has not stopped.  During my lifetime the average sea level in Sydney Harbour has risen by nearly a foot, in keeping with long term trends.  More water in the Harbour on average obviously has temperature and therefore microclimate implications.  There are thousands of well documented examples of changes that have climate impacts.

But like the tides there is great variability that masks the underlying trends.   For example 2014 was a record warm year in Sydney.  But in mid 2015 we are going through the longest cold spell in 45 years.  It is snowing in Queensland!

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright