Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Monday, April 20, 2009

Riverside Guest House

Barb provided this shot of the Riverside Guest House on Shu Pai Road in Tien Mou. I don't remember the place, but then I didn't spend much time in Tien Mou either. This shot was likely taken around 1979.

Is anyone else familiar with this place or ever stay there?

She also mentioned an earlier comment that someone made about "Burger Queen." The commenter said that the restaurant is still there today, near the Caves book store intersection. Barb said that they used to put cucumber slices on their sandwiches instead of pickles. Of course to anyone familiar with "Chicago style" hot dogs, that makes perfect sense.

I think I once wrote about the little restaurant that was on the ground floor of the Roma Hotel in 1973-74. I don't remember what it was called, but my Air Force buddy Larry and I ate there one day and he decided to try a menu item labeled Pork Chop Soup. When his order arrived, it was a bowl of broth with a pork chop in it. As Arte Johnson used to say, "Verrry interesting!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

More Roma Hotel

Barb just sent me a couple of photos taken in the late 1970s. She wrote:
I found these two pictures in my stash of stuff. We were traveling on Ming Tsu East Rd (probably in front of that book store where I got all my cook books) getting ready to make a left hand turn (to go north) onto Chung Shan N. The first scan shows the intersection and you can see the Roma Hotel on the left. The second scan is a closer shot of the Roma Hotel as we were turning left (north) onto Chung Shan N. Rd.
There are a couple of things that I noticed about these pictures. At the left border of the first photo, at the hotel's ground level, you can just make out what looks like a dark square area. If you zoom in on it you'll see that it is a partial image of Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Rome. I have included the full image at the bottom of this post. I was beginning to wonder if my memory had faded even more than I thought because nobody else seemed to remember that. But sure enough, there it was in this pic.

In the second photo, as Barb and Walt were making their left turn to head toward the compound, I noticed that they were turning in front of oncoming traffic. One of the first things I noticed about Taipei traffic was that when lights turned green at intersections, the first few cars waiting to turn left always pulled in front of the oncoming traffic. The oncoming traffic would creep forward and after a few cars made their turn (was there some magic number?), the oncoming traffic would continue across the intersection. I've often wondered if they still operate under that system, which seemed to work pretty well for all concerned.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Taiwan Relations Act

I've written previously about the Taiwan Relations Act that was passed by Congress in 1979. Among other things, it provided for the sale of defensive weapons to Taiwan. Last month, thirty years after the act was implemented, the U.S. Congress reaffirmed its support for the TRA.

I'm mentioning it again because Barb alerted me to this excellent article by Don Feder on It explains in detail why our relationship with Taiwan was -- and still is -- vitally important to the security of the region.

Friday, April 10, 2009

E.M. Club in Kaohsiung

I recently received a request from Bob Morton about the enlisted club in Kaohsiung. It's off-topic for this blog, but I thought I'd post part of it here to see if anyone can help.

He wrote: "I was fortunate enough to spend several months in Kaohsiung during two westpac cruises in the early 70's. Do you have any information on the E.M. club in Kaohsiung? I believe it was also called the Sea Dragon Club. Even the address or street that it was on would be helpful."

If you can help, either post a response here or drop me an email and I'll forward it to Bob.

(Public domain photo of 1973 Kaohsiung from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More on the Linkou Club Annex

A few days ago we had a discussion about the location of the Lin Kou Club during the 1970s. Today I have a few more photos of interest.

Good old Kent, over at the Taipei Air Station blog, sent these photos from one of his posts from last year titled A Walk on a Cool Saturday Morning in Taipei Part 2.

The first one is facing east on Minzu East Road. On the left is the old Roma Hotel building and across the street to the right, behind the bus, is the Lin Kou Club building.
This recent shot is also facing east with the hotel to the left. Kent was probably standing right next to the bookstore when he snapped this one. You can see the 7-Eleven sign on the corner building to your right.
This shot, probably from the 1970s, shows the entrance to the Lin Kou Club. This would be facing east toward the airport.

Kenneth in Taipei provided these shots of the area that were taken very recently. The first one is facing west on Minzu East Road near the Jhongshan North Road intersection. You can see the Caves (former Lin Kou) bookstore building on the far left corner of that intersection. I think the Lin Kou Club was located approximately where you see the building with the bluish colored windows. You can see the 7-Eleven sign on the next building down. I'm assuming that the club's building was probably demolished.
This shot was taken from approximately the same location, but it shows the northeast corner of the old Roma Hotel. Just to the right of this short street (that cuts through to Jhongshan North Road) is where the HSA East Compound was located.

Finally, this aerial shot shows that shortcut to Johngshan North Road. Just above it is the park where the East Compound (and the old Lin Kou Club?) used to be.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

USTDC Building History

Taipeimarc sent me this 1945 map of the area around what later became the Headquarters Support Activity (HSA) East and West Compounds. Though I can't figure out the exact boundaries of either compound, there is some interesting stuff here.

The East Compound was mostly rice paddies in 1945 but the map shows a building at the approximate spot where USTDC was located. Below that map is a page from the 1977 phone directory that shows the shape of the TDC building (#19 near the top of the map). Allowing for the fact that I don't think the phone directory drawings are exactly right, it might be possible that the original structure was built by the Japanese. If that's the case, there would have been a number of modifications to the building after 1945.

I've also added an aerial photo that was taken somewhere around 1960 below that shows the shape of the building at that time. I think it's fairly close to the way it was when I arrived in 1973.

If the structure shown on the first map isn't the original USTDC building, then it must have been torn down by the Americans because I don't see any other structures near that location that would fit.

What do y'all think?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bootleg Phonograph Records

Jim Sartor recently made a comment about the record albums that you could buy at places like the Lin Kou Bookstore, shown here as it was in the 1970s. Someone else mentioned that the bookstore is now called "Caves."

Jim wrote:
Does anyone remember buying those knockoff LPs at the bookstore? They were 10NT each and were made in various colors and were transparent. We soon caught on that they were only good for a couple of plays before losing whatever quality they had. The secret was to buy them, take them home and immediately copy them onto your reel to reel tapes and then throw the LPs away.
I sometimes browse eBay for Taiwan related things and I just discovered that you can still find those bootleg albums for very little money (probably more than they're worth!). If you do a search on anything like "taiwan record" at the site, you'll likely find several like this one.

Note the "Xerox" quality photograph on the reverse side of the album cover. That was typical of any photos in the knockoff books as well.