November 2008

As this was our first cruise we’d had no prior reason to suspect that my wife would find it incredibly easy to sleep on board ship and would, in fact, find it incredibly difficult to rouse herself from slumber each morning. She obviously likes the gentle, rocking motion and pervasive, vibrating hum that comes at sea. Thus it was that she remained in our inside room while I woke early enough to get out on deck to watch the Diamond Princess approaching the port city of Keelung in Taiwan. At first I’d gone to the top of the ship but the insistent rain sent me down to the covered area of the promenade deck instead.

Grey skies blended with grey seas but the humidity and general strangeness of a reasonably quiet cruise past rocky islands and the man-made harbour area coupled with the ghostly feeling accompanying the near-complete lack of seeing anyone else around made for a wonderful experience nonetheless.

Keelung is typical of the industrial ports that cruise ships tend to dock at because of their size. Cranes, containers, towers, warehouse buildings, and other ships and boats made up most of the view from the ship as it passed from the open sea into close proximity to the city. I don’t actually mind these views because there are lots of patterns and repetitive shapes that help to form decent imagery for photographs and I have a fondness for the raw power in brutalist design anyway which you tend to see in some form or another around the world in docks.

Coming in closer to the city of Keelung it was interesting to see the the modern buildings, dirty-looking from the dampness in the air and the grime from the industrial location contrasted with the clean, bright yellows of the taxis and buses waiting for tourists, as well as the ancient temple structures on the hillsides around.

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