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Impressions of Taiwan

Taiwan, Formosa, a Chinese island in the sea, China in miniature in a way. Maybe, but definitely not just that, because Taiwan most certainly has its own identity, its own character. Of course the history and culture of Taiwan are tightly woven into the fabric of mainland China's history and culture. But Taiwan also looks back on an Aboriginal past which remained unchallenged until the 17th century. And Taiwan has over the years and decades also engineered its own way of mixing its deeply rooted traditions, habits and religious beliefs with the modernity of an eager participant in the global world. The cities of Taipei and, above all, Tainan, provide insight in how this delicate balance is compounded in Taiwanese daily life. Taiwan has also quite a natural spectacle on offer, with dramatic mountain landscapes scarred by earthquakes, landslides and riverbed erosion, with a lake poetically named after the Sun and the Moon, mystic when wrapped in clouds, idyllic when bathing in the sun, just like the cliffy Eastern coastline that looks invitingly across the Sea in the direction of Japan and the Philippines. Taiwan may be small in size, but that is largely compensated by the intensity of what it has in store for our exploration journey.

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