On election day, rather than torture myself by waiting for the election returns, I went hiking in Keelung to visit some of the old military structures in the area and hang out with my good friends Jeff Miller, Michael Fahey, and an Englishman named Laurence, of the Petrochemical Industry. (As always, click on any pic to be taken to its Flickr page)

Our day began, as every day should, with an all-you-can-eat breakfast.

We headed out to Marine University in Keelung. The hills behind it are honeycombed with tunnels and carpeted with the works of successive colonial regimes: the Qing, the Japanese, and the KMT.

This is what a hiking trail should be: easily negotiated.

It should also offer plenty of bugs….

…like this snail.

The day was unfortunately too hazy for good photography.

This set of structures dates back to the Japanese period and apparently remained in use under the KMT as well.

As Michael observed, in the US, an area like this so close to a university would be carpeted in beer bottles and other paraphernalia of student partying. Not in Taiwan.

It practically cries out for a nude model. But all I could find…..

…was a fully clothed Michael Fahey. Very disappointing.

It was like Mayan ruins.

Alas, the haze wrecked the views.

Many of the gun platforms and bunkers are in excellent shape.

…and easily accessible.

..and eerie.

Jeff poses.

Jeff took us down a road, looking for a way across the valley.

Plenty of goodies stacked by the road.

….where I found this amazing bee.

A closeup….with a bonus bug on the left that I didn’t see until I blew the pic up. The eyes of the bee are wonderful.

We bumped into a duck farm on the floor of the valley.

“Is there a way out of the valley up the other side?” “No.” And so we walked back up the hill, the ducks learning some useful, if socially reprehensible, English phrases from me.

At the next set of military structures, we found some art students.

Michael shares a laugh.

One of the artists snapped me.

An excellent state of preservation makes for mystery.

On the way back Jeff explained how paper was made from the pith plant he is standing next to. The tree bark was literally unwound, and then dried. Because of its depth, the paper absorbed the ink, giving paintings a 3-D texture.

We returned to the university, finding other families on the path.

Lunch was obtained at one of the seafood places along the nearby roads.

After lunch it was out to the port of Shen Ao….

…where Jeff explained about the local geology….

…and we got off on the shrooms.

In a sudden fierce burst of understanding, Michael attained enlightenment while contemplating Keelung Mountain near Jiufen.

Crates of blue….

A slow day at the restaurant.

After lunch we walked up to the gun platforms on the ridge overlooking the city, but the haze just refused to burn off….