One fine morning in February 2014 I decided to go out riding. I had seen photos of a beautiful cliffside temple next to a waterfall in Xindian and it looked to be within easy reach of my place in Jingmei. I set out for the highway leading to Pinglin, passing through the sprawl of southern Taipei under the warm winter sun. The roadway began to steepen as I reached the outskirts of the city. Struggling against gravity—but enjoying every minute of it—I ascended into the hills before taking a turn onto Yinhe Road 銀河路 (the literal translation of which is “silver river”, better known to us as the Milky Way).
One of my stranger day trips in Malaysia was to the mystic island of Pulau Besar in the state of Melaka, better known as Malacca to most English-speaking people. Situated in the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, the small island of Pulau Besar is steeped in myth and legend. It is also widely considered to be haunted—which partly explains why most of the island is abandoned.
The following post is an edited version of a series of letters I sent home to friends and family in Canada while visiting Hong Kong in January 2012. They are presented here as a series of disjointed vignettes that range from the mundane to the profound.
I have arrived in Hong Kong, setting foot in Asia for the first time in my life. I am now safely ensconced in the lovely little flat in the heart of Mong Kok I rented via Airbnb. It is a nice enough place, not too expensive, and seemingly authentic, though I wouldn’t know the difference. There is no lift in the building; it is eight flights straight up the open concrete stairwell from the bustling streets with two flats on either side of every floor. Though sparsely furnished my room emanates something of the style of In The Mood For Love, one of my favourite films set in Hong Kong, and I immediately feel strangely, suspiciously at home despite being so far from it.