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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Giving the new camera a try 新しいカメラを試している

I was hoping to give my new camera a workout this afternoon while going on one of my usual walks in the Tak'eng 大坑 area, but the weather proved to be uncooperative. Thanks to the generally overcast, hazy and (in the morning, at least) drizzly conditions, the scenery from trails 9 and 10 was uninspiring. Hopefully, I'll have better luck next time. At least the zoom function worked well:



Of the 10 official hiking trails in Tak'eng, #9 is the least worthwhile. Along with the #10, it's the most accessible of the paths, which naturally makes it the most crowded. On weekends, it's a veritable zoo, but even on a cold weekday afternoon, there were quite a few people out on the trail. And in Taiwan, where there are people, there will be vendors catering to them. The initial stage of Trail 9 is lined with stalls selling produce and drinks. Even on a Tuesday, many of the stalls were manned, and people were stopping to look and buy.

Once past the peddlers and shoppers, the #9 gets quieter, but eventually the trail leads to a Kuanyin (Kannon) Temple 観音寺, also accessible by Trail 6 and, even worse, by car. A continuous cacophony of noise, those looking for a contemplative meditative experience would be better off going to the other hilltop Kuanyin Temple in the area, the one behind the Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology 中台科技大学, which is not only quieter, but has better views of T'aichung's (Taichū) 台中 Peit'un (Hokuton) District 北屯区.

If you would like to try Trail 9, for chrissakes do it on a weekday! Once at the top, start exploring some of the quieter paths going off into the trees - it won't be long before you leave the din behind. Descend via the #10 - all those staircases are great for discouraging commercial activities!

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