Before I left for Taiwan I had a great recommendation via Reddit to visit the abandoned Qianyue building (千越大樓) in downtown Taichung. Initially I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it there because it was 150km away from where I was staying in Tainan, but I knew I had to visit after scrolling through the incredible photos taken by Alexander Synaptic of Synapticism. I learnt it was a multi-level residential/commercial building constructed in the 70’s and heavily used in the two following decades, before a fire on the 7th floor led to its eventual abandonment. I’m fascinated by abandoned places and had my fingers crossed that there would be some old disused toilets among the ruins.
And so it was that my friend Vanessa and I hopped on a train to Taichung for a daytrip. It was only a short walk from the train station and I was surprised at how easily accessible the building was despite the level of disrepair it’s in today. Admittedly we were a little creeped out by the dark, dingy stairwells and decrepit, unusable rooms that branched out at every floor:
Eventually we made our way to the open, slightly less-sketchy rooftop, where along with a handful of other curious tourists & locals alike, we marvelled at the beautiful views of the city below and the once-grandiose UFO Tower:
I walked into the lower floor of the tower which mostly likely once housed a bar or kitchen – and just off to the right was the pièce de résistance: the rooftop bathroom. The toilet was barely recognisable thanks to years of wear & tear but its badly broken base was still bolted in I couldn’t help but imagine how view from this loo would have looked back it its heyday. Surely this was once Taichung’s ultimate restroom?
I explored the UFO Tower a little more (almost falling through a giant hole in the floor at the top of the staircase!) when I realised that just around the corner from the loo with the view, behind a rather menacing portrait of a Storm Trooper and friends, was a whole other family of abandoned thrones. It was pitch black inside this restroom but my camera flash brought to light some intact toilets which have stood the test of time. I certainly hoped they weren’t still in use. I can’t imagine the plumbing up here was in top shape, and I wasn’t game to try it out.
We stayed at the rooftop taking in the ambience for over an hour before we slowly made our way downstairs again. Lo and behold, about three floors below, adjacent to a weedy garden on a second, smaller rooftop, we stumbled across yet another lonely loo. He was missing his cistern and seat but the bowl was thankfully still in satisfactory condition:
And so concluded our incredible self-guided tour of the Qianyue building. In all my years of travel, I’d go as far as to put this building in my top 10 places I’ve ever seen. It may not be for everyone, but there’s something incredibly evocative about exploring abandoned sites like this. I can’t help but wonder how this building would have appeared 20 years ago at the peak of its commercial use and I’m equally fascinated at how its current state highlights underground culture so well.
Here are a few more non-toilet pics I took of this Taichung establishment:
I went out for a New Years beer and ended up discovering this great graffitied restroom at Done Right Inn.
There were a few decent words of wisdom written over these walls:
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Sex & The City’s Steve Brady (Miranda’s partner) is a lesbian
Whitney was wrong: it’s not right, AND it’s not ok
Don’t ever “agree to disagree”. Be a MAN or a woman and fight … for the right to paaaaartay
If only women were gravestones: then they’d never be told to turn their frown upside down
Men who finger bang will be condemned to come back as women who are finger banged
Piss in the fuckin’ toilet, douche
Plus there was a whole wall dedicated to an insightful Bukowski quote:
If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Ho ho ho, it’s two days til Christmas AAAND Toilography turns six years old today! Happy holidays everyone!
Staple Montreal dive bar Foufounes Electriques absolutely delivers when it comes to grungy basement urinals
Jimmy Jazz was the final stop of my whirlwind tour of Guelph and I was very pleased with the quality of dive they had going on inside these dunnies. As avid Toilographers know, each time I come across heavily-graffitied washroom walls I like to take note of their many words of wisdom – there were certainly some philosophical & existential corkers here at the Jazz.
Education is a system of imposed ignorance. – N. Chomsky
It’s no good measure of health, to be found to be well-adjusted in a profoundly sick society. – J. Krishnamurti
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. – Edward Bernays
Sorry, damaged my shitty hipster love in a car accident
– Dude, fuck off, you’re at the Jazz
– It’s ok, no one cares
– Here’s to the few who forgive what you do and the few who don’t even care
Antisocial behaviour is a trait of intelligence in a world full of conformists. – Nikola Tesla
Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death… if you repeat a lie big enough, long enough and often enough then the people will eventually believe the lie. They are more likely to believe a big lie than a small one. – Adolph Hitler
Jimmy’s Jazz didn’t taste as good as my dads
– Multiple dads?
No doubt I’m cooler than your cooler full of Palm Bays
– But what about my fridge?
RIP Uncle Anus
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. – Aristotle
If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy…
If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing…
Blah blah. – Bob Marley
Watching TV is like taking black spray paint to your third eye. – Bill Hicks
I’m not taking a shit! I’m leaving one.
Fear is your only god!
– Except those who fear God
He who fucks nuns will later join the church. – J. Strummer
I’m in love with a ghost girl, all alone in a lonely world
There is a demon in me and I can’t separate my flesh so when it crawls onto you just know I want to hold my breath
– Give your balls a tug, make sure they’re still attached
This entire room used to be filled with intelligent, beautiful quotes. WTF, Jazz?
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. – Martin Luther King
[Spoken in Spanish accent]
Amigo, there seems to be copious amounts of shite written on these walls by pseudo-intellectuals quoting famous people… which seems rather ironic to me since we’re in a room littered, literally, with a lot of written figurative shit.
I went to this bar Lola the other day in my beloved Kensington Market; the friendly bartender approved of my Halloween plans to dress as a slutty ghost and watch Rocky Horror.
Anyway… here are some words of wisdom from the Lola walls:
“Dead or alive, you are coming with me”
“Shithawk loves u”
“Just like the bleach on God’s teeth”
And the rather inspiring “Cease your fretting, you’re beautiful and flawless and all. Forget thy past, live for the moment, thrive for the future”