Hsinchu (pronounced shin-zhu) is a city on the northern part of Taiwan known for its windy climate and now, for its techy inhabitants. I arrived in this laid back city with noticeably too little pavements yesterday evening. One thing I can say after less than 24 hours here is that where we’re staying (in the East district of Hsinchu), there really isn’t much to do (for a tourist like me at least). Public transport isn’t as convenient as it is in Taipei. To paraphrase our taxi driver, what good is a metro if there’s no one to use it- Hsinchu’s population is roughly 430,000 (if you need that in context, London’s population is 8.8 million).

When I walked through the city centre I felt that the city was at odds with itself. On the one hand Hsinchu is filled with Tech and Science companies, but on the other hand the streets of its city centre house questionable street vendors and old-school arcade claw-machines (which, I’ll be honest, I will probably end up wasting all my money on). We did go to a huge shopping centre, aptly named ‘Big City’, that rivals the shopping centres you can find in the UK but it only took leaving the centre as it closed, to find street kids blasting their music and practising their hip hop moves just outside the centre’s back entrance.

We came back after food, and I’ve been struggling to get to sleep. For a long time I just sat and looked out our bedroom window. I couldn’t help but notice that the sky is smaller than I’m used to. Of course I don’t mean the actual size of the sky, that wouldn’t make any sense, but then again I’m completely jet-lagged and typing this at 5am in the morning so what do I know! It’s just the buildings here are so tall and square, they stand like huge domino pieces collectively blocking and framing the sky. Sky-blocking. Is that a thing? Maybe.

I like it here. The city intrigues me and looking beyond the slightly dodgy stores we already spotted some quirky bar/cafes (bafes?) that we can’t wait to explore. Besides, I haven’t had a proper chance to explore yet and you know what they say, don’t judge a city by it’s lack of pavements. That should be a saying.

I’ll try to keep you updated, HNTBALS out x


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