Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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Images of Southern Wanhua, Taipei

8/29/2012 Taiwan Explorer

Southern Wanhua 南艋舺 is probably one of Taipei's poorest neighborhoods, perhaps the poorest. Wanhua is generally known as the oldest part of Taipei, but it seems, that the good old days are long over. In recent years the area attracts a lot of homeless from all over Taiwan, some say because religious organizations serve free food and offer shelter. A lot of the original residents are not happy about it and there were incidents in the past where officials went too far. It's not a pleasant topic to discuss, so I'll leave it at that. Truth is: There are several very messy parts in Southern Wanhua, especially around Longshan Temple. Things are improving in some areas, but very slowly. Walking around this part of Taipei might only be interesting to die-hard Taipei fans like me, I would not recommend foreign visitors to go south of Wanhua Station, because there are no popular or famous tourist sites to see. I went there instead of you to show you how it looks like.

These are my images of Southern Wanhua from July 2012:

Buddhist monks caught up in a conversation.

A small talk while waiting for the green light.

The Xiyuan Road divides Southern Wanhua in two parts.

I saw Taipei 101 in the distance, but I could't capture it, however I was captured by them.

I'm pretty sure no architect designed these uneven row houses.

A breakfast shop like many others in the area. Wanhua has some good local food to offer.

No, this is not a suburb of an Indian city, this is indeed Taipei!

I live in "New" Taipei, hence I'm used to see this type of housing, but the first time I saw this, I was a bit shocked. Believe it or not, people inside are not necessarily poor.

A small blue truck waiting to turn left. Arm out for relaxation.

A kind of a spontaneously created outdoor food court caught my attention.

A lot of elders collect trash here - it's a sad image.

Roads are busy in Southern Wanhua.

Community built these rails to prevent homeless from sleeping - it didn't work.

This is near Longshan MRT Station: Sadly, I saw trash everywhere.

Short and busy Sanshuei Street, a pedestrian area, that has its charms.

A small side lane - who knows where it leads.

The intersection close to Bopiliao Old Street - a guy was smashing bottles.

I decided to walk a little bit north to see the Qingshuei Temple area.

I saw this Family Mart: Half brick house, half ship container.

Some buildings here have all kinds of plants growing out of them.

The old Qingshuei Temple - surrounded by run down houses made from scrap materials.

These birds are kept in the traditional Chinese way - in wooden cages.

Inside the temple's court yard: Did Hello Kitty just showed me the...??

An abandoned stall Qingshuei Temple - it was noon, hence it was empty.

And so I walked further and ended up in Ximending, the part of Wanhua, which I consider a must-see, if you come to Taipei City. If you're stuck in Southern Wanhua, then better go southwest and take a break in the lovely Youth Park, Wanhua's green lung.

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