Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yanshuei, Taiwan: Street on Fire - and More (

Taiwan isn't all tech gadgets and Taipei 101. Beyond the big cities it's a different story, a different country altogether. Yanshuei, 240 kilometers down island from Taipei, is the town modern, laptop-manufacturing, cell-phone toting, Taiwan forgot. A century and a half ago, it was the island's fourth-largest settlement. Then its harbor silted up and things went downhill.

Or, rather, they stayed the same. The town didn't get any bigger, the roads weren't widened, and traditional businesses weren't replaced by factories and condos.

The wooden-framed merchants' shop-houses on Ciaonan Street, one of the oldest thoroughfares in Taiwan, still stand. Many are dilapidated, some have been abandoned. All of them exude a tangible antiquity that makes photographers gasp and history buffs gush... is a US-based website. They're also the first outfit to pay me via Paypal. The entire article is here.

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