Cycling Taiwan's Northwest Coast Highway

The monstrosity that Eric has pulled up in front of (above pic) is a failed real estate development from the nineties. Located on the northeast coast highway to Keelung, more than half the apartments seem deserted and the place has an air of abandonment about it. The gardens are overflowing. The fountains are clogged with weeds. The balcony railings are rusted and coming off their moorings. When it first opened, it was a hot property. Movie stars and millionaires snapped up parcels of it, which I suppose they still own, but the complex could hardly be described as a bustling center of power, media and boozy parties these days. I did notice, however, a couple of snazzy European cars making their way down the winding driveway as I got off shots of the dilapidated grounds on my cell phone camera.

I met up with my friend Eric at Hongshulin (紅樹林) MRT Station early last Sunday morning for a ride up the east coast of Taiwan. This station seems to be a launching point for cyclists. As we sipped our horrible convenience store coffee and chatted, we watched at least half a dozen groups embark. These were serious riders; they looked fit and had good bikes. The clams (pictured above), were the first of many strange sites we happened across. Built some thirty years ago, they are deserted hotels. My colleague Doug figures they look Soviet, but I think they're right out of "Clockwork Orange". According to the locals, they're haunted. The ghosts show up if you photograph them - just look closely and you'll see the shadows of ghosts in your pics. These ones are more preserved. Others are shedding siding and beginning to crumble. Eric says they're a favorited rendezvous point for Danshui gays, but I guess they could serve in that capacity for any couple, regardless of sexual inclination.


MJ Klein said...

did you find any ghost images in your photos Patrick?

Patrick Cowsill said...

It seems like they're there. My problem is that I never have a camera on me, so I use my phone cam and the pics turn out dark and fuzzy.

Anonymous said...

Patrick, I like your blog. I used to ride past the UFO apartments on the way to the beach. They always amazed me but I never got a photo of them. I heard the problem was that the wind passes through strangely causing weird sounds and the rooms to shake. Is that true?

Patrick Cowsill said...


I don't know about the wind issue. I'm planning another ride along the Northwest highway as soon as it stops raining. I'll be sure to stop in and check it out. This is the weird route: windmill, old rolls royce and Taiwan's most northern spot. There are a lot of shots I wanted to take last time through but didn't just because I was trying to keep up with the riding team.

I've got a faster bike this time, so there will be some time.