Monday, April 21, 2008

Heading for Europe

It's that time of the year again. Time for my annual visit to Europe, which, if the weather plays it right, will also include stays on naturist beaches.

Over the past few days, I've been telling you about Taiwanese nude swimmer Pan Ying-hua. I found her blog,, where you can order her book "Naked - Ten Years of Conversations with my Body." Just let me remind you that both blog and book only exist in Chinese, and that you're unlikely to find the book in stores outside of the Taidong region.

But back to Europe. Temperatures have just risen from an average of 12 degrees centigrade in Western Europe to about 17 degrees. Not enough yet for a naturist beach stay, but it's heading for the right direction, and maybe by May, the mercury will push itself over the 20 degrees barrier.

The naturist beach I most often frequent during my European visits, is the one on the picture in the Southern Netherlands. As you can see, it is huge during ebb, and it's also very wide. It is protected from the land side by a row of dunes, so it rarely gets unbearably windy. It's just a beach, there is a small snack place on the textile beach nearby, but otherwise you just park your car behind the dunes along a road. During summer weekends, that road is filled up with cars, which might annoy the residents of the only house there, just behind the naturist beach.

The crowd on the naturist beach is a balanced mix of the kind of people you'll find on any naturist holiday beach: the two main groups are 30-something couples with small kids, and 50+ couples. The vast majority of them are Dutch, Belgian and German. The Netherlands have a very strong naturist movement, lots of beaches and naturist resorts spread all over the country, so this beach will never get overpopulated.

All in all, I'm looking forward to a month back in a naturist-friendly environment. Now if only the weather would cooperate. See you back in late May!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Swimming Naked in Taidong: The Story

As promised, I bring you the story about Taiwanese nude swimmer Pan Ying-hua, as reported by the April 15 edition of the Apple Daily.

Pan works in the publishing business and discovered the joys of naturism 16 years ago where most Taiwanese have their first encounter with naturism - at an overseas nude beach.

About ten years ago, she persuaded about a dozen friends of her to take up nude swimming on trips to Taiwan's east coast. While the island is the size of the Netherlands but has 23 million people on it, most of those live on the crowded west coast and in the far north. The east coast - mainly the regions of Hualien and Taidong - is relatively quiet and empty, mainly because of the tall mountains.

Over the past decade, Pan has managed to whip up enthusiasm for nude swimming and her group has now expanded to some 30 people. According to the Apple Daily, the nude swimmers include housewives, restaurant owners, teachers, writers and tourist guides, and the average age is between 40 and 50.

Even more important, from a naturist point of view, is that women outnumber men, a rarity among naturists anywhere in the world.

The whole point of the article is that Pan is about to publish a book on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of her group. It's also worthy to note that the Apple Daily, often known for its sensationalist articles and pictures of accidents and crime, treats the whole issue of naturism with respect. Pan and her friends say swimming naked is like being one with nature, and is swimming like the fish do. They also emphasize that naturism is not about looking good, but about feeling well. The Apple Daily report concludes with the police saying that the nude swimming is OK with them, as long as it doesn't take place in crowded public areas.

All in all, this report in one of Taiwan's most widely read newspapers, and its coverage on TV, is one of the best naturist news items I have ever seen on this island. Now I'll be looking out for Pan's book.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Swimming Naked in Taidong: The Pictures

Here are the pictures of Miss Pan Ying-hua and a friend swimming naked in the Taidong region in southeastern Taiwan, as printed in today's edition of the Apple Daily, one of the island's biggest newspapers.

I'll read the article next to the pictures later, and let you know its content in the next posting on this blog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Swimming Naked in Taidong

It's April and temperatures in Taiwan are back in the 20+ range. And we know it because nude swimming was on all TV stations just minutes ago.
A woman named Pan Ying-hua has been swimming nude in front of the cameras in Taidong, the southeast of Taiwan. For those who are not familiar with this island, that area has some of the most beautiful coast lines, and is still sparsely populated compared to the hustle and bustle of the heavily industrialized west and north. Taidong is also popular with artists and with foreigners looking for more solitude. The region also has a high population of aboriginals, the original inhabitants of Taiwan before the Chinese came over from across the Taiwan Strait.
Another woman who went swimming with Pan told reporters that swimming without clothes was like swimming like the fishes, because they're natural and don't wear clothes either.
At the beginning of the report, it was said that Pan had also published a book called "Luo" or "Naked."
My task for the next few days will be to track down this book and report back to you on its contents. It sounds like it could be a major breakthrough for naturism in Taiwan. A local woman who has been swimming naked for some 15 years and now publishes a book about it, the first on this topic in Mandarin. I'm jealous but also happy.