a teatray in the sky

蘭陽博物館 (Lanyang Museum) and 基隆廟口夜市 (Keelung Temple Night Market)

Posted in 5D Mark II, Architecture, Food, Photography, Taiwan by firthefirst on January 19, 2012

Taiwan is definitely not up there on the list of architectural destinations, largely overshadowed by the money-burning frenzy that is the Chinese real estate market and the always-fresh-always-funky world of Japanese contemporary design.  I’ve had the lucky opportunity to work for an excellent architect in Taipei (LWM Architects) and I know that there has been a number of great architectural minds working diligently to improve the design environment in Taiwan for the last couple of decades.  the Lanyan Museum, by 姚仁喜 (Yao Ren Xi, Artech Inc.) is one of the newest examples of Taiwan asserting an architectural personality.  there are faint echoes of I. M. Pei still in the work but the building’s design language clearly responds to the landscape around it, instead of being a purely intellectual geometric exercise.  the interior is logically laid out yet provides a compelling promenade, and even the quality of the construction is meticulous (which is typically so hard to find in Asia these days).  there are some exceedingly bizarre moments (like an unwrapped structural member that emerges randomly from a wall, warty fireproofing and all) which stand out because everything else seems to be so well sorted.

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福山植物園 (Fushan Botanical Garden)

Posted in Defrag by firthefirst on January 10, 2012

we spent the next day driving around Yilan county, basically from one end to the other, then back, then back again.  why?  because it’s not every day that you can get into the 福山植物園, the Fushan Botanical Gardens.  this entire facility used to be closed off to anyone without an academic permit, but now is available for public entry after a protracted stay on a wait list.  it wasn’t exactly the kind of weather that gets you amped up about looking at trees for an afternoon, especially after already spending a day looking at trees while getting rained on.  but I’m not going to be the debbie downer.  and neither was the 5D Mark II, which had spent the evening recovering from a waterlogged joystick (only letting me choose the center focus point – which is fine – or the lower left diagonal focus point – which is almost entirely useless) and was looking to get back in action. (more…)

拉拉山的神木 (The Divine Trees of LaLa Mountain)

Posted in Defrag by firthefirst on January 6, 2012

it’s interesting how the things that interest you change as you grow up (or get older, depending on how you like to look at things).  I used to like going back to Taiwan just because I knew it would be a week or two of food, food, and more food.  other than one trip around the island with my dad way back when, I’ve never really left Taipei.  I always figured, given that it’s almost exactly the same size as my home state of Maryland, how much could there really be to it?  but just as I’ve come to appreciate that there’s actually lots to do in the little Old Line State, I’ve also realized that Taiwan is full of diversity in its environment.  we repacked our suitcases the minute we arrived in Taipei, heading out [not so] bright and [very] early the morning after we arrived … sans Randy, who was unceremoniously dumped in Tokyo for no particular reason by United Airlines to spend a night in minibar purgatory. (more…)

happy new year, taiwanese-style

Posted in Defrag by firthefirst on January 5, 2012

just wanted to wish everyone out there a happy new year.  for me, 2011 went the way of the dodo in a flurry of plane, train, and automobile rides as Tina and I wound our way around Taiwan.  the blogging has been neglected for a while because of general craziness at work, but it’s something I do enjoy doing and intend to keep up.  in truth, the thing I like the most about running the blog is knowing why you come here: the food photos.  you like looking, and I like making you drool at work (although this does backfire sometimes, with me being the one that gets hungry).  so here’s a teaser of what’s to come: