All posts by Trista di Genova

The historic charm of Tamsui’s boardwalk

By Trista di Genova / The Wild East / Beautiful island


For me personally, Tamsui (淡水) has some of the most endearing of Taiwan’s features– fresh-air strolls along its lovely boardwalk, now Youbike-enabled cycling past the serene and picturesque Tamsui River (淡水河), Guanyin Mountain (觀音山).

IMG_20141015_172315It might just be the best spot in Taiwan for sampling local delicacies here and on Old Street (老街), such as the freakish deep-fried squid on a stick (has anyone ever checked the calories on that?!) ‘iron eggs’, nougat candies, ginger tea, and so on. The boardwalk in the past ten years has really thrived and become a beautiful wonderland of nature and history.


IMG_20141015_165251Moving down the boardwalk, Tamsui’s historic district is filled with many striking reminders of George McKay, perhaps the most colorful character in Formosan history. These photos show the Foreign Cemetery where McKay is buried, which on the present-day Tamkang High School campus (second photo), once part of Oxford College.

McKay (1844-1901) was a Scottish-Canadian Presbyterian missionary who during the Qing era set up the island’s first Western-style educational institution, Oxford College, as well as the Tamsui Girls School, the first for girls in Taiwan. Most in Taiwan today know him well for the excellent memorial hospitals in his name, such as the McKay Memorial Hospital in Taipei.

A sculpture of George McKay on McKay Street, Tamsui. A man who is perhaps Formosa's most colorful character. Photo: Trista di Genova
George McKay, perhaps Formosa’s most colorful character. Photo: Trista di Genova
Statues of the bearded McKay such as this one give some indication of the force of presence of this man, who could be called the island’s first dentist.

One could say that for McKay finding new converts to his Western religion was like pulling teeth, literally. Few people know he married a local Aboriginal woman and had children; no doubt this alliance helped him assimilate into this at-times hostile, unknown frontier. One wonders why there are no museums about the man! Biographies speak of the natives in Bangka (now Wanhua District in Taipei), at that time the major trading port in Formosa who pelted the ‘foreign devil’ (洋鬼子) as he walked the streets, seeking new converts.

Walk north along the boardwalk and enjoy remnants of Qing dynasty architecture and customs buildings of would-be colonizers. Photo: Trista di Genova
Walk north along the boardwalk and enjoy remnants of Qing dynasty architecture and customs buildings of would-be colonizers. Photo: Trista di Genova
Qing dynasty style architecture in Tamsui’s historic district is interwoven with Western-style buildings, left over by British, Dutch and Spanish would-be colonizers, from the 16th to 20th centuries.

Fort Domingo, the customs building and other historic landmarks in this area lend Tamsui its distinction as one of the few places in Taiwan where such history is clearly and so beautifully preserved. If the museums in Tamsui were more state-of-the-art, we’d all be that much better off.

Looks like Tamsui’s made a comeback on the cultural stage, go and check it out?

What are some of the things you like about Tamsui culture and history? Post your comments below.

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Yoga workshop to be held in Taipei

The Wild East /

Have you ever been curious to take a yoga teacher training course but are hesitant to take the plunge?… Now is the opportunity to get your feet wet!…

Kaohsiung Yogi, a registered yoga school at Yoga Alliance is coming to Taipei to present an introductory workshop covering basic content of a 200 hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training course (RYT 200).

Sunday, Nov. at 1pm – 4:00pm
Taipei Medical University
250 Wuxing Street, Hsinyi District

Students who complete the workshop will be given a signed certificate of course completion

This workshop aims to provide an overview of structure and content of a RYT 200 and an in-depth look at the Ashtanga Primary Series. We are facilitating a full day workshop with Rameshji, a highly qualified Mysore Ashtanga Yoga teacher from India. He has been trained in Vinyasa Ashtanga, Pranayama and philosophy under the guidance of Sri BNS Iyengar -the last living legend and direct disciple of the first Vinyasa Ashtanga master in Mysore- Krishnamacharya.

Rameshji has conducted 500+ Teacher Training Courses and approximately 1100 alignment classes and has also received several awards acknowledging his accomplishments as a yogi and teacher. The workshop will also be facilitated by Kaohsiung Yogi co-founder and teacher Farrah Furtado (E RYT 200) and Jyoga teacher Tori Mitchell (YTTC 200).

This workshop is ideal for….

– Those interested in obtaining their yoga teacher training certificate (RYT 200)
– Yoga teachers interested in how to teach and improve alignment from the Ashtanga Primary Series
-Anyone interested in broadening their knowledge and practice of yoga
* Anyone interested in learning more about traveling to India to practice yoga or interested in registering for the certified RYT 200 hour teacher training retreat to India on April 1st-15th, 2015 with Kaohsiung Yogi and Rameshji ( part time program in Ashtanga classes offered )

**Suitable for all levels….Rameshji has an innate ability to help students from beginner to advanced levels

Tentative Schedule:

1-2:30 Ashtanga

2:30-4:00 Ashtanga technique+Alignment

4-4:30 Yoga Nidra

5:30-6 pm Mantra/ chanting

Cost: 3000 nt
**2500 nt Early Bird Special until November 22**

Payment Options:
1. Cash payment to Tori Mitchell (0979259153)

2. Taiwan Bank Wire Transfer.

Please remit deposit to reserve your spot to: Bank of Kaohsiung Name of account: FURTADO LISA ANNE A/C#: 217210418031 Bank of Kaohsiung Code# 016 #2173 Bank Address: Liu He Branch 1-2 F, 27 Liu He 1st Rd.

*Please scan copy of transaction and send to: to confirm. Please make your deposit to reserve space as soon as possible to avoid disappointment in not reserving your spot.

For more information contact:

Tori Mitchell

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