Here is a small collection of images of the unfortunately named Golden Shower Trees [Cassia fistula (阿勃勒)] taken in Jhongsing Village [中興新村] in early June. Several Golden Shower Trees can be found in the 500 Household area [wǔbǎihù (五百戶)] on Guangrong East Road 2nd Street [Guāngróng dōnglù èr jiē (光榮東路二街)]. The area gets its name from the original plan which called for civil servant dormitories to be built featuring 500 units.
On December 30, I bought an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. This post contains the first handful of images I took with the camera while walking from Big Camera [相機王] in Taichung City to a nearby cafe to do some coursework. While familiarizing myself with the Olympus system I believe I took fewer than two hundred photographs during the holiday weekend.
The following Saturday morning (January 6), I was taking photographs of the children playing in the living room when the camera locked up. I had taken about twenty pictures and the camera fell asleep. When I pressed the shutter release to wake it up it was unresponsive so I turned it off. When I turned it back on, the lens extended and the scene was viewable through the LCD screen however none of the buttons were responsive. About five seconds later, the lens went back in and the camera shut itself off. I tried a few times and the problem repeated itself in every shooting mode.
The battery was fully charged and couldn’t possibly have drained that much during the twenty or so photographs from the morning. I tried again with a fully charged third-party battery, a different SD card, and removing and reattaching the lens but the camera remained unresponsive.
I took the camera back to the shop that afternoon. A staff member briefly checked the camera and ran the same tests I did. He said they would send it to Olympus to be checked. At this point I should have asked for an exchange but I let him send away the camera. I asked if we would need to send the battery, SD card, and warranty card and I was told that wouldn’t be necessary.
The following Tuesday (January 9), a mere two business days later I received a call from Olympus’s Taipei office. The representative told me that my camera was working properly. I told the rep that it worked improperly for me and for a staff member at the camera shop and explained how the camera had behaved. He said there may have been something wrong with the accessories that were bundled with the camera and asked me to send them.
On January 15 I received an e-mail saying that all the accessories were functioning normally. In the e-mail the rep asked if they could reformat the SD card. In my response, I stated that I was very concerned why my camera locked-up for me and that I may have been sold a lemon. My camera was shipped back to Big Camera on January 20. A member of the staff tested it and it was working. I asked what work had been done to the camera and the report stated that no work had been done. I asked why it malfunctioned and there was no explanation on the work order. At this point, I stated that I was unsatisfied with the camera and asked for an exchange. The staff member said that they would contact Olympus on Monday and I would be able to pick up an exchange anytime after that.
Due to being busy during the week, I didn’t get out to Taichung to pick up my replacement until last Saturday (January 27). I understand that manufacturers churn out units by the tens of thousands and there are bound to be a few lemons here or there. Through this experience, I learned to demand an exchange right from the beginning rather than letting a retailer send away a new product.
Every winter, the family heads down Provincial HWY 14 to Guoxing Township [國姓鄉] to pick strawberries. We stopped at one of several organic farms in Guoxing and were told that due to rainfall the previous week and a busy morning there weren’t too many ripe strawberries. The owner of the farm did give us some encouragement by saying we should have no trouble filling our box.
Had the pleasure of visiting the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and getting a glimpse of Jun T. Lai’s Wonderland Exhibition [賴純純：仙境]. We managed to see the exhibition during its final weekend in Taichung. The artist has several highly-recognizable public art works around Taiwan.
The recently remodeled playroom at the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute [台灣工藝文化園區] in Caotun Township, Nantou County boasts an incredible eight-meter long bamboo caterpillar tunnel. I visited a week ago on a field trip with students and managed to take a handful of photographs. Here is a small collection of pictures that miraculously didn’t have children running around in the background.
Several years ago, Taiwan went through a beetle-craze. Pet stores had rows devoted to these insects and students would proudly show off beetles they found or exotic varieties their parents purchased for them. The fade didn’t last long. Nowadays, a lot of families keep dogs that fit in purses while children prefer to catch Pokemon over insects.
In mid-June, I found out via a post on a Jhongsing Village Facebook group that it was breeding season for beetles. We set out for a row of trees along Guanghua Road and were delighted to find more than a dozen Japanese Rhinoceros Beetles [Allomyrina dichotoma].
We went hiking on the first day of 2017 to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. The Ninety-Nine Peaks Forest Trail [九九峰森林步道] is a 1,930 meter long trail in Nantou County’s Caotun Township [草屯鎮]. We brought the kids here because we figured they were getting tired of the trail we frequent in Jhongsing Village. Furthermore, being a holiday weekend, most of the popular trails in Nantou County were probably going to be packed. We only encountered a couple dozen people on the trail. Amazingly, both kids made it through the whole trail without asking to be carried!
I’ve visited the Dragon and Phoenix Waterfalls [龍鳳瀑布] of Zhongliao Township in Nantou County several times in the past few years. I’ve made frequent stops there on cycling trips through Zhongliao and taken my family there a few times for recreational hiking and firefly viewing. In recent years Nantou County Government has taken steps to turn the county into a tourist wonderland by initiating the construction of several projects like the one I’m featuring here. Continue reading
The children had a fabulous time visiting their grandparents in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We’ve been back in Taiwan for over a couple of weeks and nearly every day Josie or Nathan asks to go back to their grandparents’ house. This is a small collection of images from our trip. Most of our time was spent in southeast Michigan.