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No. 63, 2014

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Hualien-Taitung Trip

TOP TEN TOURIST TOURS Rural Yilan County

BACKPACK BUS TOURS

The East Rift Valley

Southwest Coast Tourist Shuttle Route

Indigenous Art of the Paiwan Tribe Kaohsiung’s Pier-2 Art Center Hsinchu’s Glass Art Festival Rollerblading in Taoyuan


Welcome to Taiwan! Dear Traveler, Taiwan’s long-time foreign residents know that the May-June period is one of the best times of the year for Taiwan travel – perfectly in between the cold and wet of winter and the heat and humidity of high summer. We thus keep you outside for most of this issue and concentrate our travels on two lovely areas of fering rich travel rewards, the pristine east coast and the people/culture/history-rich southwest. In our Feature section we take you to the East Rif t Valley, a long, beautif ul valley between the central and coastal mountain ranges, which our writer describes as a “farm-carpeted agricultural treasure-house, pristine outdoor-adventure playground, (and) grand geology classroom.” We also tell you about the unique places you can stay, food treats you can eat, and souvenir items you can buy. We stay in the east in Top Ten Taiwan Tours to go to Yilan County, “a place of relaxation, living history, and vibrant ecology,” visiting a healthy mix of attractions that includes Jiaoxi, a hot-springs resort town, f ishing harbors with delicious seafood at harbor-side restaurants, and the tourist-f riendly leisure farms of Hengshantou Agricultural Leisure Area. In our Hiking article we tackle Wuling Sixiu, a group of four mountains, which among other rewards presents you with magnif icent views of the “sea of clouds” above the Yilan Plain. Now, over to the southwest. This issue’s Food Journey adventure serves up the plump, tasty clams of Tainan, Taiwan’s “clam heartland,” with an educational visit to one of the region’s shellf ish farms. Our Backpack Bus Trip features a ramble through the Tainan and Chiayi regions using the supremely DIY-traveler-f riendly Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus service, with visits to salt f ields brimming with history, one of Taiwan’s most magnif icent temple complexes, a seafood market in an age-old port town, and one of the island’s oldest sugar-processing factories (with a “sugar railway” ride bonus). We visit the urban heartland of sprawling Kaohsiung City in our Special Report , spending time at the popular Pier-2 Art Center, a complex of 14 old, renovated Kaohsiung Harbor warehouses that is now one of Taiwan’s great cultural-creative hubs. Then it’s up into the mountains to Sandimen, a Paiwan Tribe enclave, in Indigenous Artists to explore the one-of-a-kind art of “Handicraf ts Lane.” I welcome you to Taiwan, and know you will f ind everything you anticipated – plus much, much more.

David W. J. Hsieh Director General Tourism Bureau, MOTC, R.O.C.


CONTENTS May ~ June 2014

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PUBLISHER  David W. J. Hsieh Editing Consultant 

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Producer Vision Int l Publ. Co., Ltd. Address Rm. 5, 10F, 2 Fuxing N. Rd., Taipei, 104 Taiwan

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TEL: 886-2-2711-5403 Fax: 886-2-2721-2790 Publishing Organization E-MAIL: editor@v-media.com.tw Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Ministry of General Manager Frank K. Yen Transportation and Communications Editor in Chief Johannes Twellmann CONTACT English Editor Rick Charette International Division, Taiwan Tourism Bureau DIRECTOR OF PLANNING & EDITING DEPT Joe Lee Add: 9F, 290 Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei, MANAGING EDITOR Gemma Cheng 10694, Taiwan EDITORS Ming-Jing Yin, Chloe Chu, Nickey Liu Tel: 886-2-2717-3737   Fax: 886-2-2771-7036 CONTRIBUTORS Rick Charette, Joe Henley, Stuart Dawson, E-mail: tbroc@tbroc.gov.tw Owain Mckimm, Steven Crook, Cheryl Robbins, Hanre Malherbe, Website: http://taiwan.net.tw David Austin PHOTOGRAPHERS Jen Guo-Chen, Maggie Song 台 灣 觀 光 雙 月 刊 ART DIRECTOR Sting Chen Travel in Taiwan DESIGNERS Fred Cheng, Maggie Song, Eve Chiang, Karen Pan The Official Bimonthly English ui-chun Tsai, Nai-jen Liu, Xiou Mieng Jiang Administrative Dept H Magazine of the Taiwan Tourism

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The East Rift Valley at Chishang, Taitung County (photo by Jen Guo-Chen)

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FEATURE 10 The East Rift Valley

— Farm-Carpeted Agricultural Treasure-House, Pristine Outdoor-Adventure Playground, Grand Geology Classroom

Sleeping and Eating in the Valley — Where to Stay, Where/What to Eat, What to Buy

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Publisher’s Note Taiwan Tourism Events News & Events around Taiwan Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings Fun with Chinese

SPECIAL REPORT 22

Kaohsiung’s Pier-2 Art Center — Urban Island of Cultural Creativity

TOP TEN TAIWAN TOURS 24

Yilan County —A Place of Relaxation, Living History, and Vibrant Ecology

OLD STYLE/NEW IDEAS 30 One-of-a-Kind Stamp

—A Meeting Point of Historical, Cultural, and Social Conventions

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BACKPACK BUS TRIP 36

Land of Salt, Sugar, and Shrines —Taking a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus to the Southwest Coast

HIKING 42

Climbing the Wuling Sixiu — A Hike for Hikers with a Good Head for Heights

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SPLENDID FESTIVALS 46

2014 Hsinchu City Glass Art Carnival — Marveling at Amazing Glass Creations at Hsinchu’s Glass Museum

INDIGENOUS ARTISTS 50  Paiwan Pottery

— Passing Down the Ancient Pottery Traditions of an Indigenous Tribe

FOOD JOURNEY 54

Opening Up Taiwan’s Clam Heartland — Visiting a Shellfish Farm in Tainan

ACTIVE FUN 58

Rollerblading in Taiwan — Skating in Taoyuan with an Accomplished Local Inline Skater

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TAIWAN TOURISM EVENTS

Events in the

Early Summer Enjoy the Sun, Enjoy the Great Outdoors !

It’s summertime! Let’s get out there and discover the beauty of Taiwan’s gorgeous scenery while taking part in unforgettable events. See the butterflies of Yangmingshan, hang out on the beach at Fulong, see eastern Taiwan from above by going on a hot-air balloon flight, go on an exciting whitewater-rafting adventure down the Xiuguluan River, feast on freshly caught bluefin tuna, and cheer for dragonboat teams during the Dragon Boat Festival!

May Pingtung BlueFin Tuna Cultural Festival ( 黑鮪魚文化觀光季 )

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Location: Donggang Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣東港鎮 ) Tel: (08) 732-0415 Website: www.pthg.gov.tw If you love seafood fresh from the boat, you will love the quintessential Taiwan experience of ordering a plate of sashimi at one of the many seafood restaurants found at local fishing harbors. Not much time goes by between the unloading of the fish from the boats and the uploading of the delicacies onto your plate. One of the best fishing harbors in all Taiwan to indulge in fresh-catch cuisine is Donggang, on the southwest coast. From April through June the town’s harbor is especially abuzz, since this is the time when local fishermen catch large quantities of bluefin tuna off the southern coast of Taiwan, celebrated with many bluefin-theme activities.

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Fulong International Sand Sculpture Festival ( 福隆國際沙雕藝術季 )

Tainan City International Dragon Boat Championships ( 臺南市國際龍舟錦標賽 )

Locations: Fulong, Gongliao District, New Taipei City ( 新北市貢寮區福隆 ) Tel: (02) 2499-1115 ext. 230 Website: www.necoast-nsa.gov.tw

Location: Anping District, Tainan City ( 臺南市安平區 ) Tel: (06) 215-7691 ext. 226 Website: sportmap.tn.edu.tw (Chinese)

During the hot summer months the golden-sand beach at Fulong, on Taiwan’s northeast coast, attracts large numbers of beachgoers, who come to escape the often sweltering heat of the city and enjoy sea and sun. In May and June, large-sized sand sculptures created by professional local and foreign sand sculptors, as well as amateurs participating in sand-sculpture contests, turn the beach into a grand outdoor-art exhibition venue. The size of the sculptures and the artists’ attention to detail are truly remarkable.

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Travel in Taiwan

Before and during the annual Dragon Boat Festival, held on the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunar calendar (June 2 this year), a popular activity is the racing of long dragon-shaped boats on waterways around Taiwan. Races take place in many locations, from the harbor at Keelung in the north to Kaohsiung’s Love River in the south. In the southern city of Tainan, the races take place on the Tainan Canal at Anping, a city district with numerous tourist attractions. Apart from watching the intense races between more than 150 participating teams, visitors can also witness some of the traditional ceremonies conducted as part of the festival celebrations.


MAY~JULY

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AUG.

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Taiwan International Balloon Fiesta ( 臺灣熱氣球嘉年華活動 ) Location: Luye Township, Taitung County ( 臺東縣鹿野鄉 ) Tel: (089) 336-141~6 Website: www.taitung.gov.tw In recent years this hot-air balloon festival, staged on the Luye Plateau north of Taitung City in southeastern Taiwan, has become a huge hit. Each year, the organizers invite hot-air balloon teams from Taiwan and abroad to show off their colorful and sometimes funny-looking balloons. Visitors can go on tethered flights and, if willing to pay significantly more, on untethered flights, which last longer and allow you to see more of the grand scenery of eastern Taiwan.

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Time for Raft Triathlon ( 秀姑巒溪國際泛舟鐵人三項競賽 ) Location: Ruisui Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣瑞穗鄉 ) Tel: (089) 841-520 ext. 1608 Website: www.eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw Whitewater rafting on the Xiuguluan River in eastern Taiwan has been a popular outdoor activity for decades. Boats depart the rafting center at Ruisui throughout the year, weather permitting, and the 20km journey from the East Rift Valley through the Coastal Mountain Range to the Pacific Ocean is a fun-filled adventure. Much care is taken by the organizers to make sure that it is a highly thrilling but always safe experience. An exciting sports event that includes rafting on the river is the Time for Raft Triathlon, a challenging competition combining 11km of rafting, 12km of running on the road that follows the river, and 44km of bicycling along the coast on Provincial Highway 11.

23.5N Taiwan Fun on the Tropic of Cancer (2014 台灣夏至 235 Sun Fair)

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Location: Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, Kaohsiung City ( 高雄市高雄展覽館 ) Tel: (04) 2331-2688 ext.131 Website: www.taiwan235n.tw The Tropic of Cancer runs right through Taiwan, cutting across the central-south of the main island and through the Penghu Islands archipelago, which floats in the Taiwan Strait to the west of Taiwan proper. Last year, the Tourism Bureau organized the Taiwan Fun on the Tropic of Cancer summerfest campaign with activities in cities and counties traversed by the Tropic of Cancer, including Hualien County, Nantou County, Chiayi County and City, Yunlin County, and Penghu County. This year, a two-day festival in Kaohsiung will highlight some of the attractions on offer in central-south Taiwan. There will be stands serving local cuisine and a market where you can buy local produce. You can also take in a colorful street parade and enjoy entertaining stage performances, and will also have the chance to learn about options for traveling in this part of Taiwan.

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WHAT'S UP

News & Events around Taiwan

Books

Books

Chineasy – The New Way to Read Chinese

Lonely Planet Taiwan

Learning Chinese characters can be a daunting task for Westerners, who are used to the simplicity of the alphabet system. With the Chinese language emerging as another “lingua franca,” the desire to learn and master Chinese is becoming ever stronger around the globe. Getting off to a good start when learning written Chinese is very important, and the recently published book Chineasy, The New Way to Read Chinese might be exactly what beginners need. It introduces you to Chinese characters with the help of cute and colorful illustrations. The aim of the author, Taipei-born Shaolan, is “to allow people to learn to read Chinese easily by recognizing characters through simple illustrations” and help them “gain a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural references of the vocabulary.” More info about this book at http://chineasy.org .

Since the 1970s, Lonely Planet’s guidebooks have been indispensable for backpackers on their journeys into foreign lands. This February, Lonely Planet published the 9 th edition of its Taiwan guidebook, with updated information on major and minor tourist attractions. The new edition also includes a Taiwan Top 15 “Must Do’s” list, and offers detailed information about hiking, cycling, and other outdoor activities, experiencing Taiwan’s most exciting festivals, learning about the island’s indigenous tribes, soaking in hot springs, visiting offshore islands, and much more. More info about the new LP Taiwan at: www.lonelyplanet.com/ competitions/taiwan-the-beautiful-isle .

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Airlines

China Airlines with Indigenous Images Travelers flying with China Airlines on the Taipei-BrisbaneAuckland route will notice that their plane sports a dynamic painting depicting scenes from a traditional Taiwan indigenous wedding. The painting was created by Sakuliu Pavavalung, a wellknown artist from the Paiwan Tribe. The aircraft art represents the strengthening of relations between Taiwan and New Zealand. Since the indigenous peoples of Taiwan and New Zealand's Maori both belong to the Austronesian language group, and share cultural and genetic attributes, their two countries are eager to expand cultural exchanges and research on indigenous subjects of mutual concern.


Tourist Spot

Cat on the Roof in Huwei The small rural town of Huwei in Yunlin County has, quite unexpectedly, emerged as a bit of a tourist hotspot recently. It all began in 2003, when a resident of the town’s Dingxi Community took in a stray kitten. His son raised the kitten, and created the picture book “Cat on the Roof” starring his furry friend, which became the winning entry in a picturebook contest staged by the county government. When, sadly, the cat was killed by a truck two years ago, father and son teamed up with community students and volunteers to create murals depicting the cat. Cat images were soon also being made for power-line poles, signboards, buses, and park benches, and cute cat sculptures were introduced to the community park. If you want to visit the town for a “cat on the roof” experience, now popular with visitors from around Taiwan, a train journey to Dounan with a short bus ride from the station is all it takes.

Hotel Booking

Hotel Quickly Now Available in Taiwan The Hong Kong-based startup Hotel Quickly, which offers a mobile-only, last-minute hotel booking application, is now cooperating with hotels in Taiwan. This is great news for travelers wanting to make last-minute travel decisions and looking for special offers. The service allows users to make same-day bookings at discounted prices, choosing from the best deals offered by six hand-picked hotels. The choices are based on geolocalization, and are divided into three categories (prime, design, and comfy). The app is available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices. More info about the service at: www.hotelquickly.com .

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CULTURE SCENE

Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings

Taiwan has a diverse cultural scene, with art venues ranging from international-caliber concert halls and theaters to makeshift stages on temple plazas. Among Taiwan's museums is the world-famous National Palace Museum as well as many smaller museums dedicated to different art forms and aspects of Taiwanese culture. Here is a brief selection of upcoming happenings. For more information, please visit the websites of the listed venues. May 29 ~ June 1 National Theater (Experimental Theater)

May 26 ~ June 1 National Concert Hall (and other venues around Taiwan)

Taiwan International Percussion Convention 台灣國際打擊樂節 The Taiwan International Percussion Convention (TIPC) is a triennial convention bringing together percussion groups from Taiwan and abroad. This year 30 concerts around Taiwan are scheduled, featuring leading percussionists including Pius Cheung from Canada, Percossa Percussion from the Netherlands, and The Percussions Claviers of Lyon from France. Performers from Taiwan include Forum Music, Ju Percussion Group, and Succession Percussion Group. First staged in 1993, TIPC has been growing with each edition and is now widely considered one of the most important international percussion events in the world. TIPC 2014 Program: www.jpg.org.tw/TIPC/program.php

2014 Innovation Series – Special Order by Huang Yi 2014 新點子舞展-黃翊《量身訂做》 The acclaimed Huang Yi is one of Taiwan’s most inventive young choreographers. In 2012, he impressed with Huang Yi & Kuka , a duet featuring a dancer (Huang Yi) and an industrial robot (Kuka). The production won the Digital Art Performance Award 2012. Creating works incorporating technology and machinery, Huang Yi is known for his avant-garde performance experiments as well as the velocity and precision of his movement. His latest production, Special Order , is a highly experimental work that has been produced following requests from the public and his co-producers. There will be three different seating areas, from which audience members can choose according to their preferences in experiencing a show, and everyone is asked to bring his/her own headphones, to enjoy the best possible audio experience.

April 3 ~ June 30 National Palace Museum

April 12 ~ June 29 Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Program X Site: The Landscape of the Boundary X site 地景裝置計畫:邊緣地景 This year, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum will for the first time stage X Site, an outdoor installation project combining architecture and contemporary art. Plans are to make this an annual event happening for three months each spring. The venue is the plaza in front of the entrance to the museum. The artists chosen as creators of this public installation art, Su FuYuan, Jen Tah-Sien, and Chen Xuan-Cheng, were selected by a museum jury from among 29 groups supplying design concepts. The artists’ work is a large scaffolding-type structure made with bamboo, in the past an important material for construction work in Taiwan.

Four Great Masters of the Ming Dynasty: Wen Zhengming 明四大家特展-文徵明 The Four Great Masters of the Ming Dynasty were Shen Zhou (1427~1509), Wen Zhengming (1470~1559), Tang Yin (1470~1524), and Qiu Ying (ca. 1494~1552). This year, the National Palace Museum presents in succession exhibitions highlighting each of those four masters. This exhibition focuses on Wen Zhengming, who, after first failing repeatedly at civil service examinations and then struggling as an official, devoted his life to poetry, painting, and calligraphy, becoming a greatly accomplished artist. He had a major impact on painting and calligraphy of the middle and late Ming dynasty, excelling at the major calligraphic types and establishing a unique style of his own in painting. This exhibition shows both calligraphy and painting masterpieces by the artist.

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Venues Taipei

ATT Show Box Add: 12, Songshou Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市松壽路 12 號 ) Tel: (02) 7737-8881 www.attshowbox.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Taipei 101/World Trade Center

Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (關渡美術館) Add: 1 Xueyuan Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City ( 台北市北投區學園路 1 號 ) Tel: (02) 2896-1000 www.kdmofa.tnua.edu.tw Nearest MRT Station: Guandu

Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (台北當代藝術館)

Add: 39 Chang-an W. Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市長 安 西 路 3 9 號 )

National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院)

Add: 221 Zhishan Rd., Sec. 2, Taipei City

Add: 1, Jingmao 2nd Rd., Taipei City

( 台北市至 善路二 段 2 21 號 )

( 台北市經貿二路 1 號 )

Tel: (02) 2881-2021 www.npm.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: Shilin

Tel: (02) 2725-5200 www.twtcnangang.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Nangang Exhibition Hall

National Taiwan Museum (國立臺灣博物館)

Add: 2 Xiangyang Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市 襄 陽 路 2 號 )

Tel: (02) 2382-2566 www.ntm.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: NTU Hospital

Novel Hall(新舞臺) Add: 3 Songshou Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市松 壽路 3 號 )

Tel: (02) 2552-3720 www.mocataipei.org.tw Nearest MRT Station: Zhongshan

Tel: (02) 2722-4302 www.novelhall.org.tw Nearest MRT Station: Taipei City Hall

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall(國立中正紀念堂)

Taipei Arena(台北小巨蛋)

Add: 21 Zhongshan S. Rd., Taipei City

( 台北市 南 京 東 路 四 段 2 號 )

( 台北市中山南 路 21 號 )   

Tel: (02) 2343-1100 www.cksmh.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: CKS Memorial Hall

National Concert Hall(國家音樂聽) National Theater(國家戲劇院) Add: 21-1 Zhongshan S. Rd., Taipei City

Add: 2 Nanjing E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City Tel: (02) 2577-3500 www.taipeiarena.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Nanjing E. Rd.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館)

( 台北市中山北 路三段 181 號 )

Tel: (02) 3393-9888 www.ntch.edu.tw Nearest MRT Station: CKS Memorial Hall

Tel: (02) 2595-7656 www.tfam.museum Nearest MRT Station: Yuanshan

National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Taipei International Convention Center(台北國際會議中心) Add: 1, Xinyi Rd., Sec.5, Taipei City

Add: 505 Ren-ai Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City

( 台北市信義 路五段 1 號 )

( 台北市仁愛 路 四 段 5 0 5 號 )

Tel: (02) 2725-5200, ext. 3517, 3518 www.ticc.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Taipei 101/World Trade Center

Tel: (02) 2758-8008 www.yatsen.gov.tw/en Nearest MRT Station: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

National Museum of History (國立歷史博物館)

Add: 49 Nanhai Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市 南海路 4 9 號 )

Tel: (02) 2361-0270 www.nmh.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: CKS Memorial Hall

Taichung National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts(國立台灣美術館) Add: 2 Wuquan W. Rd., Sec. 1, Taichung City ( 台中市五權 西 路 一段 2 號 )

Tel: (04) 2372-3552 www.ntmofa.gov.tw

Tainan Tainan City Cultural Center (台南市立文化中心)

Add: 332 Zhonghua E. Rd., Sec. 3, Tainan City ( 台南 市中華東 路三段 332 號 )

Tel: (06) 269-2864 www.tmcc.gov.tw

Add: 181 Zhongshan N. Rd., Sec. 3, Taipei City

( 台北市中山南 路 21-1 號 )

(國立國父紀念館)

TWTC Nangang Exhibiton Hall (台北世貿中心南港展覽館)

Taipei Zhongshan Hall (台北中山堂)

Add: 98, Yanping S. Rd., Taipei City

Kaohsiung Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts(高雄市立美術館) Add: 80 Meishuguan Rd., Kaohsiung City ( 高 雄 市美 術館 路 8 0 號 )

Tel: (07) 555-0331 www.kmfa.gov.tw Nearest KMRT Station: Aozihdi Station

Kaohsiung Museum of History (高雄市立歷史博物館)

Add: 272 Zhongzheng 4th Rd., Kaohsiung City

( 台北市延平南 路 9 8 號 )

( 高 雄 市中正四 路 27 2 號 )

Tel: (02) 2381-3137 www.csh.taipei.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: Ximen

Tel: (07) 531-2560 http://163.32.121.205 Nearest KMRT Station: City Council

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FEATURE

The East Rift Valley Farm-Carpeted Agricultural Treasure-House, Pristine Outdoor-Adventure Playground, Grand Geology Classroom

The East Ri f t Valley at Yuli

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Travel in Taiwan

Text: Rick Charette

Photos: Jen Guo-Chen, Vision Int'l

The east coast is often described as “isolated,” kept locked away from the rest of the island by the soaring, rugged, thick central mountains. But this is meant in a decidedly positive sense, and in a relative sense – the west and north are busy and densely populated, the east coast virginal and unspoiled, sparsely populated, laid-back, even sleepy.


EAST RIFT VALLEY

And it’s easy to get to. Hop on a plane at downtown Taipei Songshan Airport and you’re there in about 35 minutes (Hualien) or one hour (Taitung). And on a sunny day a few weeks back I met up with the usual members in my ratpack Travel in Taiwan gang at downtown Taipei Railway Station at 9:30am, before 10 was on a sleek Puyuma Express train smelling sweetly of spanking-newness, and was sitting in a car rented right outside Hualien Railway Station at 12:15. We were in the lyrical East Rift Valley less than 30 minutes later.

The valley is long and narrow, about 150 kilometers in length, framed by the north-south Central Mountain Range and the Coastal Mountain Range, with the city of Hualien just beyond its north end and Taitung just beyond its south. Since the establishment of the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area (www.ervnsa.gov.tw ) in 1997, which encompasses the entire valley and a little bit more, there has been systematic tourism-facility development.

The valley is one of my favorite Taiwan playgrounds, and is certainly one of the quietest on the main island, along with the parallel East Coast National Scenic Area just over the coastal mountains. I have three days of all-day fun to tell you about, so let’s not tarry.

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FEATURE

Day 1

First stop of the day, Liyutan (Carp Lake). In the foothills of the central range just southwest of Hualien City, crowded on weekends/holidays, the place comes into its own at other times – our Day 1 was a Monday – when the birds find it quiet enough to come out and sing for you. About 104 hectares in area, this is the east’s largest lake. Among the welldeveloped tourist facilities are a visitor center; pedal-boat, canoe, and motorboatwith-driver rentals; bicycle rentals; a 4km ring road offering pleasant walking/ cycling; camping/picnic areas; easychallenge trails that take you into the hills; and open-air local-style restaurants, where lake shrimp is the big hit. When we visited the lake’s aesthetics were being augmented, inventively, by a giant black rubber duck, in cartoon-style à la Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s world-touring giant yellow ducks. Hualien is known for its black duck denizens. When the Japanese controlled Taiwan from 1895 to 1945, they set up 10 immigrant villages in the East Rift Valley. One of the areas of settlement

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is on Fenglin town’s north/northeast side. A cash-crop tobacco industry was launched to help the Japanese immigrants support themselves, and among the best-preserved historical sites are two lovely traditional Japanese-style tobacco buildings, on Darong 2nd Road, used for storage and smoke-roasting. These were actually built later, after the immigrants had gone back home post-WWII, by local families who had learned the trade. Fenglin has the most concentrated, and best-preserved, collection of tobacco barns in Taiwan. History buffs will find even richer reward at Lintian Mountain Forestry Center, southwest of Fenglin town. The center is a former timber-industry village established by the Japanese – my favorite destination in the valley. Located at the

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mouth of a central-mountain side valley, this was once Taiwan’s fourth-largest logging operation, with 2,000 residents at its height, and many of the buildings, built with Chinese cypress, have been beautifully restored. There is a history center, remnants of the extensive railway and cableway systems that ran high into the hills, train, machinery, and other displays, plus many informative English signboards.


EAST RIFT VALLEY

6 Geology Classroom – The War of the Plates Here’s how it all went down. Er, IS going down, for the tectonic show is still very much “live,” with continuing – geologically speaking – high drama. The Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate have been in the midst of a mighty slow-motion car crash for some time now – 15 million years. Stand in the East Rift Valley, look west, and you see the great Central Mountain Range wall. That’s the visible edge of the Eurasian Plate, thrown up from the sea bottom. Look east, at the lower, more rounded Coastal Mountain Range. That’s the visible edge of the Philippine Sea Plate, a former spaced-out necklace of volcanoes far out at sea that has come crashing into Taiwan. The deep seawater-filled trench that once existed between the two has been filled with the materials from mountain collapses and mountain-valley erosion, creating a gently undulating, extremely fertile plain. Each year the Philippine plate encroaches 8cm on its enemy, and each year island Taiwan is thrust 0.5cm higher.

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Black rubb er duck on Carp L ake Pedal-b oating on Carp L ake Old tobacco building in Fenglin Old building at Lintian Mountain Forestr y Center Old train at Lintian Mountain Forestr y Center Mountains of the Central Mountain Range

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FEATURE

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Day 2 The people of Taiwan love hot-spring soaking, a deep-rooted cultural element picked up from the Japanese. The dynamic local geotectonic activity has given rise to a string of hot-spring pearls down the east coast, with a number of locations developed as resorts by the Japanese.

The waters of the Ruisui Hot Springs – Taiwan’s only carbonate hot springs – have a metallic quality, with a murky yellowish-orange look from the abundant iron. Locals believe they are notably good for the spawning of baby boys; many justmarried couples come. The resort’s oldest hotel, the venerable predominantly woodbuilt Ruisui Hot Springs Villa (www.jshotspring.com.tw ; Chinese), was built by the Japanese. There are both open-air and private facilities.

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Travel in Taiwan

A few kilometers higher in the centralmountain foothills are the Hongye Hot Springs. “Hongye” means “red leaf,” referring to the area’s maple trees and their mild seasonal color changes. The springs, long used by the local indigenous residents before the arrival of the Japanese, have clear, odorless sodiumbicarbonate and calcium waters suitable for both bathing and drinking. The oldest hotel here, Japanese-built as a police sanatorium, has been preserved largely unchanged. The Ruisui Rafting Tourist Center is the launch point for 4-hourlong whitewater-rafting trips on the Xiuguluan River (23 rapids, 21km, Class III), through a magnificent canyon the river has sculpted through the coastal mountains to the sea. The river performs a rare trick, running down from one

mountain range (the Central), crossing a valley, and slicing through another mountain range. How? The coastal range is both softer and younger, rising slowly enough to give the river time to erode everything placed in its path. Those who’ve been denied the joys of time spent around farm animals will relish J.J. Valley Farm (www.jjfarm.com. tw ; Chinese), located behind the rafting center. This is a dairy farm where you can feed the cows and view the milking process. You can also get up close to water buffalo, horses, goats – even ostriches. The farm’s and surrounding roads are long, quiet (on weekdays), and scenic, and bicycles can be rented at the big service center, where there are also milk-theme treats such as milk hotpot, candies, etc. (see accompanying Stay/ Eat/Buy article).


EAST RIFT VALLEY

Day 3 Southwest of Yuli town on Provincial Highway 30 is the welcoming gardenstyle Nan’an Visitor Center, gateway to Yushan National Park’s eastern section. Further up the highway is lofty, photogenic Nan’an Waterfall, and at the dead-end highway’s stop is the Walami Trail trailhead. This trail, specially targeted by hikelovers from overseas, is part of the cross-central-mountain Batongguan Japanese Era Crossing Trail, opened to facilitate Japanese east-west communication and control of indigenous groups in the area. It’s 14km from the trailhead to Walami; the return trip takes about 12 hours. The high-mountain scenery is striking, with soaring waterfalls, deep gorges, flying-high suspension bridges, and cliff-face traverses. Many choose the shorter, easier hike to Shanfeng Waterfall, which takes three hours and does not require permits. For details, visit the national park website (www.ysnp.gov.tw ). Southeast of Yuli town on Highway 30, in another deep, clear-cut side valley, are the Antong Hot Springs. The waters are rich in hydrogen sulfide, meaning the famous “rotten egg” smell dedicated soakers love. Local lore has it that a “Japanese gentleman” stumbled upon the springs way back when while on an exploratory hike. The Japanese systematically mapped their new colony’s exploitable assets after taking control. Visit the An-Tong Hot Spring Hotel (www.an-tong.com.tw ), which has both indoor and outdoor soaking, where in the rear you’ll find the well-preserved original Japanese-built spa inn (display only), built with dark wood. Like the bigger places in Ruisui and Hongye, the hotel is a 2/3-star facility.

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5 8 County Road 193 The rift valley has many scenic drives, on roads major and minor, but perhaps one of the best is County Road 193 between Ruisui and Yuli, which hugs the contours of the coastal mountains at their foot, generally five to 10 meters above the plain – perfect for photos. Vehicles are few, settlements few and small, and often all you see below and beyond is a vast expanse of paddy fields. The road’s easy grades and gentle curves make it a bike-rider favorite.

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1. Hot-spring bathing in Ruisui 2~5 J. J. Valley Farm 6. Rice farmer seen from Count y Road 193

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7. Nan’an Water f all 8. Susp ension bridge on the Walami Trail 9. An-Tong Hot Spring Hotel

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FEATURE

1 South of the springs, Sixty Stone (Liushidan) Mountain overlooks the riftvalley floor, its peak about 800 meters above sea level. A 300/400-hectare tableland of daylilies carpets its top, blooming in spectacular fashion August~September, with the paddy-grid far below a unique backdrop. I’ve been on the mountain when the big orange show is on, and it really is a thrill; on this trip, however, we found ourselves wrapped up in thick, rolling mists, which though not what we’d come for was nevertheless wonderfully rewarding aesthetically, creating myriad artistic shanshui -paintingstyle canvases for eye and camera. Chike Mountain, northeast of Yuli, is also known for lovely daylily vistas. The East Rift Valley’s flat terrain and alluring pastoral scenery makes it a very popular bicycling destination, with many routes to choose from. I am especially fond of the loop routes around the townships of Chishang and Guanshan, which bring you through picturesque paddy-field tapestries and to many sites of historical/cultural interest. In Chishang is one of the valley’s most photographed roads, Bolang Dadao (“Brown Avenue”), made famous in a Mr. Brown Coffee commercial and an EVA Air commercial starring Japanese-Taiwanese pop-idol heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro.

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Travel in Taiwan

Getting There & Getting Around For the full Taiwan train schedule and prices, visit www.railway.gov.tw/en . There are good car-rental agencies right outside both the Hualien and Taitung railway stations. The majors, such as Hotai Leasing Corp. (www.easyrent.com.tw ), allow you to pick up in one city and drop off in the other. Both railway stations have nearby scooter-rental outlets, Hualien’s has bicycle rentals, and there are scooter/bike-rental shops elsewhere throughout the region outside smaller stations and in major tourist areas. Check with the Tourism Bureau or East Rift Valley National Scenic Area authorities for the latest info. If you don’t feel like transporting yourself around the region, check out the Taiwan Tour Bus service (www.taiwantourbus.com.tw ).

English and Chinese Antong Hot Springs 安通溫泉 An-Tong Hot Spring Hotel 安通溫泉飯店 Batongguan Japanese Era Crossing Trail 八通關古道 Bolang Dadao 伯朗大道 Central Mountain Range 中央山脈 Chike Mountain 赤科山 Chishang 池上 Coastal Mountain Range 海岸山脈 Darong 2 nd Road 大榮二路 Fenglin 鳳林 Fengtian Immigrant Village 豐田移民村

Guanshan 關山 Hongye Hot Springs 紅葉溫泉 J.J. Valley Farm 吉蒸牧場 Lintian Mountain Forestry Center 林田山林業文化園區 Liyutan 鯉魚潭 Nan'an Visitor Center 南安遊客中心 Nan'an Waterfall 南安瀑布 Ruisui Hot Springs 瑞穗溫泉 Sixty Stone Mountain 六十石山 Walami Trail 瓦拉米步道 Xiuguluan River 秀姑巒溪 Yuli 玉里

Rift Valley Cycling For good information on routes, bike-rental locations, and more, visit the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area website (www.erv-nsa. gov.tw ). The Taiwan Tourism Bureau also has a detailed, clearly formatted booklet – Traveling on Two Wheels: Guide to Bikeways in Eastern Taiwan – which though published in 2010 remains invaluable.

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EAST RIFT VALLEY

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3 4 1. Daylilies at Six t y Stone Mountain 2. Bic ycling in the East Rif t Valley 3~ 6 Bolang Dadao (“Brown Avenue” )

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FEATURE

Sleeping and Eating in the Valley Where to Stay, Where/ What to Eat, What to Buy Text: Rick Charette

Photos: Jen Guo-Chen

Whatever your Stay/Eat/Buy decisions when exploring the East Rift Valley, there will no doubt be a close connection to the land.

Where to Stay Family-run Sunshine Hot Spring B&B is on the main road leading through the Ruisui hot-springs area (see main Feature article), 10 minutes by taxi from Ruisui Railway Station. The “B&B” is misleading; rooms are in purposebuilt cabins and a small two-story building. A farm was here before the Sunshine operation, and the attractive original Hakka-style farmhouse has been converted into the open, breezy reception and breakfast areas. The friendly operators make great coffee, using local beans. Rooms range from Japanese-style tatami dorm rooms to a suite done in European chalet-style with aromatic cypress wood, red-earth ceramic floor tiling, and in-suite spa tub. A waterfall springs from a cliff at the back of the site, and directly before this are small open-air hot-spring pools and a number of private-stall hot-spring tubs, the latter overlooking a creek. Pickup at Ruisui Railway Station can be arranged. (Rooms start at NT$1,500.) I’ll call Wisdom Garden a “B&Bplus.” In the central-mountain foothills a short drive off Provincial Highway 9 just north of Yuli town, it sits amidst thick slopeland tree growth. On approach it

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1 looks, to a Westerner, akin to a ranch house, with an inviting veranda and yard. The interior is open-concept, and though the trappings are elegantly Chinese, the big open kitchen reminded me of the farmhouse kitchens of my youth. I said “B&B-plus” because the main building, though clearly owner May Xu’s home, has large rooms specially built for guests, and the later-built rear building is exclusively for guests. May, originally a big-city denizen, long harbored a dream to live in an idyllic “peach blossom spring paradise.” For guests, evidence of her success lies in such things as lovely views of the rift-valley plain beyond and below, the hearty breakfasts featuring veggies May has fresh-plucked hours before, and the early-morning visits by deer, rabbits, and occasional boar to the property’s stream. Further evidence – the similar-style homes on left and right were built by a one-time guest and a colleague of her husband. (Rooms start at NT$1,600 .)

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3 1 & 2 Sunshine Hot Spring B&B 3 & 4 Wisdom Garden 5 & 6 Lin T ian Shan restaurant pig trot ters 7. Green Genie milk hot pot 8. Ta T i Hotel railway lunchb ox


STAY/EAT/BUY

Where/What to Eat Hualien County is known for the quality of its pork, and its best-known related dish is braised pig trotters. On my last few trips I’ve noted local consensus that the best are at Lin Tian Shan restaurant, near Lintian Mountain Forestry Center (see main Feature article). The owner, Ms. Zheng Xiu-yun, says her dishes, following Hualien custom, are “honest,” with simple preparation and combinations used to showcase the natural flavor of the star ingredient, which are “especially rich because the land here is especially rich.” The trotters are first fried, turning golden-brown, then soy-braised for many hours with Chinese herbs, mushroom, garlic, and onion.

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Demand for guaranteed-healthy foods is surging in Taiwan, the people love hotpot, and Ruisui Township’s clean environment has led to surging dairy production – leading directly to a novel Ruisui specialty, milk hotpot. The preparation is similar wherever you go, but the versions at two restaurants in Ruisui town, Green Genie and Bamboo Village Japanese Cuisine, both popular with both tourists and locals, are especially tasty. The broth is made with vegetables and chicken bone, then ultra-fresh Ruisui milk is added. Your largebowl individual serving will contain myriad ingredients; the creamy editions at both recommended restaurants contain pepper and (again ultra-fresh) crab, clams, shrimp, spring onion, red carrot, and egg yolk. Green Genie’s beef and mutton is fresh and tender, Bamboo Village’s udon noodles and seaweed add Japanese character. Hearty, savory, delish – guaranteed.

Everyone in Taiwan knows that the best rice in the country is said to come from Chishang Township. The land’s fertility and ideal climate bring forth rice grains that are larger, more resilient, and of superior quality and taste. During Taiwan’s period of Japanese rule Chishang rice was sent to the Japanese emperor as tribute. Building on this quality, Chishang railway lunchboxes, in the past sold from the train-station platforms to passengers on passing trains, are also said to be Taiwan’s best. Each typically contains, at a minimum, a chicken leg or pork cutlet, sausage, soystewed egg and soy-stewed tofu, pickled cabbage, and rice. The railway lunchboxes at Ta Ti Hotel, in Chishang town, are considered by many to be the best. The hotel also offers cod, soy-stewed marbled pork, and vegetarian variations, plus such other goodies as fried dried beancurd and beancurd skin.

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FEATURE

What to Buy You no doubt noticed the “hotel” rather than “restaurant” in the last entry. The Ta Ti Hotel is an unusual place – above the check-in counter is a menu. The counter staff also handles orders for both the first-f loor restaurant and a sizable retail outlet. A steady stream comes in to buy the tasty, super-lowfat rice ice-cream – original f lavor, plus other surprisingly pleasant down-on-thefarm variations such as pumpkin and roselle – and rice sponge cake. You can even buy bags of uncooked Chishang rice, decidedly more expensive elsewhere, including organic.

Ta T i Hotel rice sponge cake

Bamboo Village Japanese Cuisine ( 竹村日式料理 ) Add: 15, Sec. 1, Zhongshan Rd., Ruisui Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣瑞穗鄉中山路一段 15 號 ) Tel: (03) 887-6083 Green Genie ( 綠晶靈瑞穗鮮奶鍋 ) Add: 52, Chenggong N. Rd., Ruisui Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣瑞穗鄉成功北路 52 號 ) Tel: (03) 887-6306 Lin Tian Shan ( 林田山豬腳 ) Add: 80, Changqiao Rd., Changqiao Borough, Fenglin Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣鳳林鎮長橋里長橋路 80 號 ) Tel: (03) 875-1999 Website: www.lintiansan.url.tw (Chinese)

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Other unique East Rift Valley buy options include superb-quality traditional Truku-tribe hunting and other knives crafted by hand at Siang-Ye Knife Shop, in the mountain-surrounded Truku village of Tongmen not far from Liyu Lake, known for masterly folk-craft skills. For more on Tongmen and other Truku masters, visit ap.shlin.gov.tw/Truku/. Right outside Hualien Railway Station are numerous mingchan or “famous products” outlets, selling Hualien-area processed snacks. My favorite? Delicious Amis mochi. Japanese mochi features

J. J. Valley Farm dair y produc ts

Siang-Ye Knife Shop ( 鄉野鐵店 ) Add: 9, Neighborhood 7, Tongmen Village, Xiulin Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣秀林鄉銅門村七鄰 9 號 ) Tel: (03) 864-1011 Sunshine Hot Spring B&B ( 山下的厝 ) Add: 137, Sec. 3, Wenquan Rd., Ruisui Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣瑞穗鄉溫泉路三段 137 號 ) Tel: (03) 887-0203, 0937-468-021 Website: bulao.hlbnb.tw Ta Ti Hotel ( 大地飯店 ) Add: 210, Zhongxiao Rd., Chishang Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣池上鄉忠孝路 210 號 ) Tel: (089) 864-330 Website: www.c-tati.com.tw (Chinese)

glutinous rice, but the Amis Tribe uses millet. Flavors range from sesame and green tea to strawberry and pineapple preferred by kids. Some of the closest friends in my world – my “taste bud-dies” – are telling me I cannot finish without mentioning the many fresh milk-based treats sold at J.J. Valley Farm, visited in the main Feature article. The range of creative snack items is impressive, but our collective vote for “best at J.J.” goes to the milk ice cream, milk pudding, and milk nougat candies. Dreamily creamy, all.

Siang -Ye K nife Shop hunting k nives

Wisdom Garden ( 智嵐雅居民宿 ) Add: 98-1, Suangan, Neighborhood 5, Dayu Borough, Yuli Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣玉里鎮大禹里 5 鄰酸甘 98-1 號 ) Tel: (03) 888-2488, 0921-986-461 Website: wisdom-garden.18851.com.tw (Chinese) English and Chinese Amis mochi 阿美麻糬 Amis Tribe 阿美族 Chishang railway lunchboxes 池上鐵路便當 May Xu 許琨亮 mingchan 名產 Ruisui Railway Station 瑞穗火車站 Tongmen 銅門 Truku Tribe 太魯閣族 Zheng Xiu-yun 鄭秀芸


SPECIAL REPORT

Kaohsiung’s Pi Urban Island of Cultural Creativity

First,

something about me. I live in Taipei, and I love zooming down-island on High Speed Rail trains for quick daytrip explorations of Taiwan's west-side cities. Downtown Taipei to downtown Kaohsiung in just 90 minutes – the future, already here! My wife (she’s Taiwanese) and I most enjoy walkabout and rentedbicycle city touring. My mom/pop-in-law often tag along, and there's nothing Dad likes better than hiring a local taxi for a half-day meander. These guys, he says, ''know all the inside stuff.'' One thing we see eye-to-eye on (actually, he's right about the taxi drivers, and I enjoy this style as well) is that

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“Sound tree” with copp er b ells Giant yellow trans former Fantas y figures 3D -mural train Pier-2 Ar t Center in the evening

Travel in Taiwan

Kaohsiung's Pier-2 Art Center (www. pier-2.khcc.gv.tw ) is one of the city's best attractions – for him a great citytour launch point, for me a half-day-plus end in itself, because there are so many attractions within this attraction. As the authoritative CNNGo has said, Kaohsiung, ''Once known mainly for its industrial harbor … has grown into a hub of art and culture.'' Pier-2 Art Center, expansive and still growing, is at the heart of this cultural-creative bloom. CNNGo says the city has ''the largest port and the coolest art,'' and the still-young special zone, opened in the early 2000s, has become one of Kaohsiung's most popular cultural attractions. The 14 old, renovated Kaohsiung Harbor warehouses here (with more to come), long abandoned, were formerly used to store such treasures as

fish meal and granulated sugar. Today, they are dedicated to cultural-arts creation and treasure displays, including exhibits, live musical/theatrical shows, and large-scale outdoor installation artworks and graffiti-style murals. Outdoor Art Treasure Hunt Here are my four favorite Pier-2 installation artworks, among the scores. Go find them. • A 3D-mural train seeming to burst from the wall of a warehouse. • A picture-perfect single-plot rice paddy, in the large square between two sets of warehouses, that bursts with bright green when the rice is ripe – a celebration of the south’s proud rural heritage. • A giant yellow transformer seemingly standing as protector over the (to-bementioned) bike path. • A “sound tree” with copper bells hanging from stainless-steel branches that sprout from a massive scrap-metal trunk – a celebration of Kaohsiung’s industrial past/present.


KAOHSIUNG

e r-2 Art Center Text: Rick Charette

Photos: Jen Guo-Chen , Vision Int'l

In one

warehouse is the Kaohsiung Museum of Labor (museum_ new.kcg.gov.tw). Half of another – the roof was first damaged by fire and then removed to create an “open box” for under-the-sky entertainment – is now the Kaohsiung base for The Wall (thewall.tw/grounds/ pier2 ), synonymous with Taiwan’s indiemusic scene. There are also arts and crafts boutiques showcasing independent Taiwan cultural-creative design talent. End your day when your tummy says it’s time in yet another warehouse given new life, home to Pasadena Italian House (it.pasadena.com.tw ), a bright neon-andtiffany restaurant in the North American mode. Be sure to buy the award-winning, islandwide-renowned walnut and dried longan bread at the on-site bakery.

You also

need to know that Kaohsiung’s popular harbor-area bikeway rolls right by the art center, the section here running where the trains that once served these facilities trundled along. In 2010, CNN Travel declared Kaohsiung one of Asia’s five best biking cities.

A Kaohsiung Visual Tour

Getting There & Getting Around

For an enthusiastic, insightful 30-minute visual tour of the art center and Kaohsiung in general, go to http://travel.cnn.com/ cnngo-kaohsiung-062776 .

If you are taking public transport from westside cities, the High Speed Rail system is fastest and most comfortable. In Kaohsiung, the three rail systems (regular railway, High Speed Rail, and metro) converge at Zuoying Station, enabling easy transfers. The art center is a short walk from KMRT Yanchengpu Station. There is a Kaohsiung Public Bike station between the metro station and art center, and private (cityvetted) rental shops by the bike path just outside the Penglai warehouses.

English and Chinese

Large-Scale Events Pier-2 is a key event stage for, among other big-time annual happenings, the Kaohsiung Design Festival and Rainbow Bay Festival. The latter is one of Taiwan's biggest music events. Check the center's website for May/ June events.

Kaohsiung Design Festival 高雄設計節 Kaohsiung Museum of Labor 高雄市勞工博物館 Pasadena Italian House 帕莎蒂娜義大利屋 Pier-2 Art Center 駁二藝術特區 Rainbow Bay Festival 大彩虹音樂節

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TOP TEN TAIWAN TOURS

A Place of Relaxation, Living History, and Vibrant Ecology

L anyang Museum Sheng Yang Leisure Farm

Memorial Hall of the Founding of Yilan Administration

Diudiudang Forest

L anyang Museum

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Travel in Taiwan Tangwei Brook Hot Spring Park

Huaquan Farm


YILAN

Text: Joe Henley

Photos: Maggie Song

Yilan is just an hour away by bus or train from Taipei City, but it is a world apart from the big city in terms of scenery and pace of life.

Wai ’ao Beach Ar temis Garden

Huaquan Farm

Huaquan Farm Wushi Fishing Harbor

L anyang Museum

Sheng Yang Leisure Farm


TOP TEN TAIWAN TOURS

Today such stories are just that, however – colorful tales of a rich past. The Yilan of modern times, easily reached from the capital of Taipei (less than an hour by car via the much-tunneled National Freeway 5), is a place of relaxation, living history, and vibrant ecology, with a welcoming culture all its own.

Wai ’ao Beach

The fastest way to get to Yilan from central Taipei using public transport is to catch a bus from either Taipei Bus Station, just to the north of Taipei Railway Station, or Taipei City Hall Bus Station, located above MRT Taipei City Hall Station. You can also take a train; the fastest reaches Yilan in a little more than one hour.

Your first stop

L anyang Museum

If you were

to stand atop a high mountain in the northeast of Taiwan and look out over the expanse of Yilan County below, you would see an alluvial fan spreading out toward the sea, bracketed by hill and mountain, that has been formed over eons by the steady rush of the Lanyang River and other local waterways. The area was once almost completely cut off from the rest of Taiwan, accessible only by sea save for a few trails over the mountains blazed by the island’s native peoples. It was a region of mountain-dwelling headhunters and almost equally fierce flatland-dwelling warriors, forbidding and even deadly to outsiders.

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might well be the hot-spring town of Jiaoxi, famed for its many relaxing resorts, which pipe in the mineral-rich local spring water that bubbles up from under the plain, not from the mountains directly behind. Take a walk through narrow Tangwei Brook Hot Spring Park, a beautifully manicured public promenade where you can grab a coffee or other refreshing drink at one of the small commercial establishments at the head of the park, where there is comfy outdoor seating on the boardwalk, and soak your feet in the free public foot bath pools. Should you feel the need for some spa treatment, there are also small pools inhabited by appropriately named doctor fish, which nibble harmlessly and painlessly at feet that are dipped in. If you happen to be in Yilan during the warmer months, a visit to Wai’ao Beach, just to the north of Wushi Fishing Harbor, is a must. You'll find fine, soft sand, and gentle waves suitable for beginner-level surfers. Small beachfront guesthouses overlook the water, backed by steep, green foothills. There is even a windmill that looks as though plucked straight out of the Dutch countryside. From the beach you can see Turtle

Island, a shell-shaped volcanic land mass that, although small, provided a much-needed visual landmark for sailors in the days of sail. In those days, if coming from the north you needed to sail between Turtle Island and the main island to make land in Yilan, because of the currents. This led to the development of Wushi Fishing Harbor, which for a time was an important center of trade and commerce (the original harbor was just south of the present-day site, behind Lanyang Museum). The glory days of Wushi Fishing Harbor are gone, but it is remains an active fishing port. This means one thing for tourists: fresh seafood, and lots of it. Along the harbor’s edge is a two-story complex; the ground floor is dedicated to seafood snacks, and the upper level houses a menagerie of seafood restaurants. When you walk up the stairs you will be met by a clutch of insistent yet polite folk holding out menus in front of you and imploring you to take a seat. Oysters, sushi, squid, whole fish of all kinds, you name it – if it comes from the ocean, they've got it here. After you've filled your tummy with the bounty of the sea, a stroll through the nearby Lanyang Museum may be in order. The museum's exterior is unmissable, formed with aluminum and stone panels rising up out of the ground at around a 45-degree angle in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, made to look like the coastal cuesta formations that define the area. The museum, which is almost completely bilingual, focuses on Yilan's history and culture. You start your journey through the region's past on the fourth floor and work your way down. As you descend from the top floor, you flow in the same manner as the local waters do, which fall from the sky, first hitting the mountains, then gradually making their way to the plain below and, finally, to the sea. This is only fitting, as Yilan County sees about 200 days of rainfall per year.


NANZHUANG

Welcome to your home in Taipei

w w w.par ktai p e i .c om

The hotel is conveniently located in front of Exit 6 of the Daan MRT train station Only 6 minutes to Taipei Songshan Airport Park Taipei Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Taipei. A carefree place in the center of bustling Taipei After taking care of business, doing shopping and traveling around You’ll return to your new cozy and relaxing home Your home in Taipei, Park Taipei Hotel Welcomes You! Tel: (02) 5579-3888 Add: 317, Sec. 1, Fuxing S. Rd., Taipei City (台北市復興南路一段317號) Website: www.parktaipei.com How to get there: Take the MRT Wenhu Line or Xinyi  Line to Daan station. The hotel is just in front of Exit 6 of the Daan MRT train station. Travel in Taiwan

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TOP TEN TAIWAN TOWNS

All this rain

makes Yilan a productive center of agriculture as well, and nowhere is this more evident than in Yuanshan Township, to the west of Yilan City, where several leisure farms in the Hengshantou Agricultural Leisure Area give visitors a taste of what it's like to work the land for a living. Huaquan Farm, for example, is a place of tranquility where visitors are introduced to the organic, laid-back lifestyle that Yilan has recently come to embrace as part of its new, environmentally friendly image. You can pick fresh vegetables to cook and enjoy in the farm's hotpot restaurant, or opt to just take a walk around and see the sights. For something a little different, there's the Sheng Yang Leisure Farm next door, where edible aquatic grass is grown and can be sampled in an elegant Japanese-style restaurant. Not far away is Artemis Garden, another popular Yilan tourist farm. It's basically a giant greenhouse teeming with flowers and all things green and growing. The

Memorial Hall of the Founding of Yilan Administration The Wall – UriSabak iJo

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fragrant, calming interior, filled with birdsong, is complete with a DIY craft area, an elevated walkway known as Sky Street, a bakery that serves up delicious, soft home-style bread, and an outdoor area with a view of Sun Lake and the surrounding green hills.

Now, on to

the big city – in this case a relative term. Yilan City is a quiet yet stimulating big town/small city of just less than 100,000. Stepping out of the railway station, you'll see the towering Diudiudang Forest, a steel sculpture in which a floating train weaves its way through green girders doubling as rainforest trees. The city's history is well preserved, with architecture dating back to the time of the 1895-1945 Japanese occupation dotting the urban landscape. Check out the verbosely named Memorial Hall of the Founding of Yilan Administration, a restored former Japanese magistrate’s residence that is also known for the giant camphor trees which dot its immaculate gardens and grounds. For even more history, visit Ewang Community, a village within the city filled with architecture that dates back to the early 20th century, traditional markets, temples, and artisan shops. For a touch of modernity, head to Luna Plaza Mall, the largest shopping mall in the county – especially if you need to stock up on necessities. At night, if you're looking for a place to hang out and possibly take in some live acoustic music, be advised that Yilan City now has its own branch of The Wall, a live-music house that grew to prominence in Taipei, expanded into Kaohsiung, and now has a presence on Taiwan's eastern shore. The Yilan branch is a laid-back, small affair, housed within the walls of a Japanese-style residence – charming and relaxed, much like the county itself.

English and Chinese Diudiudang Forest 丟 丟噹森林 Ewang Community 鄂王社區 Jiaoxi 礁溪 Hengshantou Agricultural Leisure Area 橫山頭休閒農業區 Lanyang River 蘭陽溪 Sky Street 天空步道 Sun Lake 太陽湖 Tangwei Brook Hot Spring Park 湯圍溝溫泉公園 Turtle Island 龜山島 Wai’ao Beach 外澳沙灘 Wushi Harbor 烏石漁港 Xueshan Tunnel 雪山隧道 Yuanshan Township 員山鄉 Lanyang Museum ( 蘭陽博物館 ) Add: 750, Sec. 3, Qingyun Rd., Toucheng Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣頭城鎮青雲路三段 750 號 ) Tel: (03) 977-9700 Website: www.lym.gov.tw Huaquan Farm ( 花泉農場 ) Add: 15-1, Bajia Rd., Shangde Village, Yuanshan Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣員山鄉尚德村八甲路 15-1 號 ) Tel: (03) 922-015 Sheng Yang Leisure Farm ( 勝洋水草休閒農場 ) Add: 15-6, Bajia Rd., Shangde Village, Yuanshan Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣員山鄉尚德村八甲路 15-6 號 ) Tel: (03) 922-2487 Website: www.sy-water.com.tw Artemis Garden ( 香草菲菲 ) Add: 650, Neicheng Rd., Neicheng Village, Yuanshan Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣員山鄉內城村內城路 650 號 ) Tel: (03) 922-9933 Website: www.artemisgarden.org.tw Memorial Hall of the Founding of Yilan Administration ( 宜蘭設治紀念館 ) Add: 3, Lane 3, Lixing, Jiucheng S. Rd., Yilan City, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣宜蘭市舊城南路力行 3 巷 3 號 ) Tel: (03) 932-6664 Website: memorial.e-land.gov.tw Luna Plaza Mall ( 新月廣場 ) Add: 6, Lane 38, Sec. 2, Minquan Rd., Yilan City, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣宜蘭市民權路二段 38 巷 6 號 ) Tel: (03) 932-8800 Website: www.lunaplaza.com.tw The Wall – UriSabakiJo ( 賣捌所 ) Add: 38, Kangle Rd., Yilan City, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣宜蘭市康樂路 38 號 ) Tel: (03) 935-2493 Website: thewall.tw


OLD STYLE / NEW IDEAS

A Meeting Point of Historical, Cultural, and Social Conventions Text: Owain Mckimm

Photos: Maggie Song

Two young Taipei designers are producing a unique type of stamp, making use of the old typesetting method common in Taiwan before the arrival of the computer age.

Stamps, or

chops/seals as they’re also often called in English, are an essential part of living in Taiwan. A fact of life here is that any document that has not been thoroughly pummelled and left covered in angry-looking red welts – created using said stamps – is not worth the paper it’s written on. Taiwanese administration, and thus society in general, undoubtedly moves to the sound of a stamp falling. And it’s not just officials who love to stamp. Everyone in Taiwan, it seems, has his or her own personal name chop, the impression of which serves as one’s official signature on anything and everything that needs to be signed. In Taiwan, more stamping goes on in a single morning than does in an entire run of the musical Stomp . The stamp that I hold in my hand, though, is a far cry from the cheap, computer-carved stamps you can pick up for NT$50 at one of the many keycutting stores around Taiwan. It’s also different from the embellished jade chops with characters and decorative arabesques carved by calligraphic masters for thousands of NT dollars apiece – though these give a similar sense of high officialdom to those using them, I’m sure. No, this chop is unembellished apart from the simple grain on the gourd-shaped

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wooden handle and turquoise dapple pattern on the newly oxidizing copper of the base. It is also reassuringly heavy, and feels more like a blackjack than a piece of stationery. And, unlike traditional chops, the raised letters which serve to imprint one’s name onto paper are not carved from stone. The face of the stamp is, instead, made up of movable lead type – the kind used by the likes of Gutenberg or Caxton in old-fashioned printing. I give it a spin, dipping it first in ink and then applying it to a sheet of a thick handmade card. With a satisfying thunk, a block of rubicund lettering appears, debossed into the fibrous white background.

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1. Lead t yp e stamp 2. R is K Studio work shop 3. Rick and K imberly

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STAMPS

“History makes objects attractive,” says Kimberly, directing my attention to a bookcase with a back that is an ornate set of window bars, slightly worn and rusted. “These bars – who knows what their story is? A family might have hung clothes from them, or owned a cat that would squeeze through them, or grown bonsai trees next to them. It’s because they have history that we find such objects desirable. When something experiences life, a sense of that life sticks around on it.” Though the stamp itself is not made of reappropriated materials, the design and the concept are infused with history both recent and ancient – complex strands of influence, inspiration, and symbolism that have twined together over more than three millennia.

The initial idea

The designers

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of this strange instrument, who I have come to meet at their central Taipei studio, are Rick Wu and Kimberly Lin. Together they run the R is K Studio, producing items with a unique Taiwanese flavor on a cottage-industry scale. Though still in their twenties, both Rick and Kimberly have a design aesthetic that is not what one would think of as modern, though it’s certainly not old-fashioned, either. Rather, the two have an understanding of the value of history in giving a piece character, and this shows through in their designs, in which they often take old, used objects and put them to a new purpose.

for the stamp came to Kimberly when she attended a printing workshop at a nearby shop in one of the lanes off Taipei’s Taiyuan Road. Situated directly opposite the shop is one of the most fascinating stores in all of Taiwan – the Rixing Type Foundry – the last shop in Taiwan, and perhaps one of only a handful left in the world, that makes movable lead type. ''The owner of the foundry, Chang Chieh-kuan, is really keen for people to learn about the old printing industry, and so we were encouraged to collaborate with him and make a product that would help introduce people to that culture, which has all but vanished,'' explains Kimberly. Printing and chop-making, by their very natures, share a common ancestry. Name chops first surfaced during the

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OLD STYLE / NEW IDEAS

Those who

Shang Dynasty BC), were buy one of Rick The stamp(1600~1046 is a work ofand poetry impressed into the wads of clay used to seal and Kimberly’s stamps, however, will be in which the ancient ceremonial important documents (stacks of bamboo among the few who can use Rixing’s lead chop, suffused with all its pomp sheets tied together with cord). After the characters for their original purpose. After and circumstance, is infused invention of paper in 105 AD, chops werewith you purchase a stamp (wooden handle and the to stalwart rigornames of the industrial copper base) at a shop (funfuntown or 324 used stamp officials’ directly printing revolution onto the documents themselves after being Print Studio; see addresses at end of article), dipped in a paste made from crushed you’re given directions to the Rixing Type cinnabar. This practice may well have Foundry on Taiyuan Road, where you pick contributed to the invention of woodblock out the characters you want, in your desired printing, in which entire pages of characters font of course, and are then directed to are carved into wooden blocks, covered in another shop (the Riyu Printing Company ink, and printed onto paper. in Wanhua District), where a master typesetter sets your letters for you and fits Movable type, which was invented them into the base of the stamp. This might in China around 1040 AD, remained seem like an impractical way of buying a somewhat of a novelty in Asia, due to stamp, but it has the benefit of obliging you the non-alphabetical nature of Chinese, to go on a journey to two of the oldest and Korean, and Japanese writing, until more most interesting neighborhoods in Taipei, advanced mechanical printing presses Dadaocheng and Wanhua. began to appear from Europe. Taiwan’s first printing press arrived on the island And there is one further thing that sets in 1881, donated by Scottish missionary this stamp apart from the common name Dr. James Laidlaw Maxwell, and the first chop. It is not, as you may have thought, mass-printed newspaper was distributed designed for providing one’s official in 1885. By this stage, manual typesetting signature. The 9 x 5.4cm size of the copper using individual letters was being replaced base makes it perfect for holding type to in the West by increasingly sophisticated print another of Taiwan’s societal mustmethods of mechanical typesetting, which haves – the business card. could cast entire lines of text with the push of a few buttons. Business cards, like chops, are one of the cornerstones of Taiwanese society. In Taiwan, though, again due to the Everyone has them – car mechanics, vastly impractical number of characters bartenders, even Buddhist monks. In in the Chinese language (over 100,000 Taiwan, swapping business cards is as by some counts), mechanical typesetting common as shaking hands. And the fact remained a pipe dream until well into that Rick and Kimberly’s chop is designed the 20th century, with shops like the to print business cards is yet another Rixing Type Foundry (which was wink to history: In the very early days, established in the 1950s) receiving orders chops were not used as stamps at all, but from a publisher and then painstakingly carried around the waist to be presented arranging the type by hand, sometimes as evidence of one’s rank and office – very compiling scripts of over one million much the business cards of their time. words long from their stock of over ten million lead characters. Rick and Kimberly’s stamp, then, represents something much greater This has, of course, now all changed, than the sum of its parts. It is a meeting and the stacks and stacks of lead point of historical, cultural, and social characters at Rixing are likely never again conventions, a work of poetry in which to be used to print a novel or a newspaper. the ancient ceremonial chop, suffused Nowadays they are museum pieces more with all its pomp and circumstance, is than anything else, and people buy the infused with the stalwart rigor of the characters merely as curiosities. industrial printing revolution.

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1 & 2 Rixing Typ e Foundr y 3. Testing an R is K Studio stamp


STAMPS funfuntown ( 放放堂 ) Add: 2, Alley 1, Lane 359, Fujin St., Taipei City ( 台北市富錦街 359 巷 1 弄 2 號 ) Tel: (02) 2766-5916 Website: www.funfuntown.com (Chinese) Hours: Wed. ~ Sun. 14:00~21:00 324 Print Studio (324 版畫工作室 ) Add: 16, Lane 97, Taiyuan Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市太原路 97 巷 16 號 ) Tel: (02) 2558-8880 Website: www.324ps.tw (Chinese) Hours: Fri. & Sat. 10:00~18:00 Rixing Type Foundry ( 日星鑄字行 ) Add: 13, Lane 97, Taiyuan Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市太原路 97 巷 13 號 ) Tel: (02) 2556-4626 Website: http://rixingtypography.blogspot.tw (Chinese) Hours: Mon.~Fri. 8:30~12:30, 14:00~18:00; Sat. 9:30~12:00 Riyu Printing Company ( 日裕印刷有限公司 ) Add: 10, Lane 201, Kunming St., Wanhua District, Taipei City ( 台北市萬華區昆明街 201 巷 10 號 ) Tel: (02) 2311-0117

English and Chinese Chang Chieh-kuan 張介冠 Taiyuan Road 太原路

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He Sheng Cake Shop

Delicious handmade cakes. Famous Chinese imperial palace cakes. Established in 1974, He Sheng Cake Shop makes traditional Chinese cakes just like those made by imperial palace chefs.

Mung Been Cake

Main Shop: 2, Lane 26, Sec. 1, Zhongshun St., Wenshan District, Taipei City (台北市文山區忠順街一段26巷2號) Tel: (02) 2936-5702 Zhongshan Branch: 91, Yitong St., Zhongshan District, Taipei City (台北市中山區伊通街91號) Tel: (02) 2504-8115

www.hscake.com.tw

If your impression of Chinese cakes is still the sweet and greasy cakes of the past, try this exclusive house special cake. Shelled golden mung beans are mixed with a special formula to produce a cake with an enticing mung bean and milk aroma and a melt-in- the- mouth texture. This delicious cake leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth and will leave you wanting more; its fresh fragrance and delicate flavor can also be enjoyed frozen or eaten as a tea snack.


BACKPACK BUS TRIP

Land of Salt, Sugar, and Shrines Taking a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus to the Southwest Coast Text: Steven Crook

Photos: Rich Matheson

Taiwan’s southwest is a treasure house of traditional culture and rural scenery. However, exploring beyond the major cities of Tainan and Chiayi is not easy for those without their own vehicle. The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle’s Southwest Coast Route plugs this gap, and recently Travel in Taiwan jumped aboard for a tour of some of the many attractions served by the shuttle.

Stop I: Gar l Sugar Fact ic or y

THSR Chiayi Station

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Puzih Embroidery Cultural Hall

Garlic Sugar Factory

Dongshi Fisherman’s Wharf

Siantian Temple

Nankunshen Daitian Temple

Budai Visitor Center

Both garlic and sugarcane grow well in south Taiwan, but garlic and sugar are not usually blended. The name of this factory is in fact derived from an unusual place name. Suantou (meaning “garlic”) is a tiny village on the southwest’s Jianan Plain, and the sugar factory here is one of Taiwan’s oldest, having begun operations in 1904.

high cost in comparison with cane-sugar produced in Brazil and other countries. Most of Taiwan’s sugar factories are now shuttered, and a few have been dismantled. Suantou’s has been idle for over a decade, yet remains intact. As such, it is a magnet for those curious about Taiwan’s industrial heritage.

From the late Qing Dynasty until the 1950s, sugar was Taiwan’s No. 1 export, with about one-fifth of the island’s farmland devoted to sugar cultivation in the latter stage. Since then the industry has been in steady decline, one key reason being Taiwan sugar’s

It is also one of just a handful of places in Taiwan where what are called “sugar railway” trains still run. At the industry’s zenith, diesel locomotives hauled wagons full of cane from plantations to sugar factories, and passenger cars from town to town. The

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Jingzaijiao Tilepaved Salt Fields

Beimen Visitor Center

Mashagou Coastal Recreation Area

Donglong Cultural Center

Taiwan Salt Museum

Qigu Salt Mountains

network comprised about 900km of 762mm-gauge track. Arriving with time to spare before the 10am train (there’s another at 3pm each day; extra services are put on when needed), we sampled some of the unusual popsicles sold here. The taro and pineapple versions are popular, but I recommend the sugarcane-juice popsicle – refreshing as well as fitting. After buying our tickets (NT$100 for adults) inside Suantou’s endearingly quaint passenger station (a relic of the Japanese colonial era, which lasted from


SOUTHWEST COAST 1895 to 1945), we boarded the train. The contrast with Taiwan’s high-speed railway – which is visible just to the east – could not be greater. With an average speed of 15 km/h, bench seats, and open sides, it is a true “slow travel” experience. The on-board guide provided a stream of commentary in Chinese about the local history, sugar industry, flora, and fauna.

Stop II: Bu da i Ask 10 people what you ought to do when visiting this lively seaside town, and buying/eating seafood is sure to dominate the answers given by nine. Budai Seafood Market, where dozens of seafood vendors sell live crabs, shellfish by the bucket, cuts of grouper, and other ultra-fresh delights, is also a splendid place to enjoy lunch. Little English is spoken in the 40-odd eateries which surround the vendors, but photo menus do a good job of overcoming the language barrier.

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If you lack the time or appetite to sit down for a proper feast, buy a deep-fried oyster wrap for later enjoyment. The fishing harbor is a good spot for a picnic, and clearly visible from Budai Visitor Center, the town’s tourist-shuttle stop. The walk from center to harbor – where photogenic fishing vessels are moored for unloading, cleaning, and repair – takes 10 minutes. In addition to the tourist shuttle, Budai is served by several buses each day from Chiayi City and the town of Xinying, both of which can reached by train.

After trundling through nearby fields – some are still used for growing cane – the train returned to the factory. Wandering inside the main building, we saw massive machines formerly used to crush cane, and vats where the pulp was boiled. Engineering buffs are sure to find the machinery fascinating, and anyone whose eyes appreciate the subtleties of shadow and light will be beguiled. There has been no effort to spruce up the interior for visitors – commendable honesty.

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The area lacks both steep gradients and heavy traffic, so cycling is a popular pastime. Biking from Suantou to Dongshi’s Fisherman’s Wharf on the coast takes two and a half hours, almost half of which is spent on a dedicated bikeway. Bicycles can be rented for NT$100 to NT$250 per day from Songmeng Rental Store (open 8am to 5pm daily), just behind Suantou’s old railway station. The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus stops at Fisherman’s Wharf before heading south to Budai.

1. Salt fields on Tainan's coast 2 & 3 Garlic Sugar Fac tor y 4 & 5 Budai Seafood Market

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Engineering buffs are sure to find the machinery fascinating, and anyone whose eyes appreciate the subtleties of shadow and light will be beguiled Travel in Taiwan

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BACKPACK BUS TRIP

Stop III: N a Daitian Te nk unshen mple

If you have time for only one house of worship during your visit to Taiwan, consider making it Nankunshen Daitian Temple

If you have time for only one house of worship during your visit to Taiwan, consider making it Nankunshen Daitian Temple. This sprawling complex may be in sleepy farming country, but it is no place for quiet contemplation. Come on a Sunday, or on the birthday of one of the six plaguebusting “kings” enshrined here, and you are guaranteed an intense introduction to Taiwanese folk religion. Rites invariably feature deafening drums, immense quantities of firecrackers and spirit money, and spirit mediums known in Taiwanese as tangki . These individuals, almost always men, demonstrate how the gods possessing them protect them from harm by making superficial cuts on their forehead, shoulders, and back with swords and blunt axes, or by pushing long needles through their cheeks. Nankunshen, however, offers so much more than human spectacle. This temple has been drawing pilgrims since 1662, and over the centuries has received vast donations of cash and gold. Much of the former has been utilized to expand and renovate the complex. Not long ago, 405kg of the latter was melted down and used to cast an icon symbolizing the Jade Emperor, Taoism’s chief deity. Unlike most of Taiwan’s traditional pantheon, the Jade Emperor is almost always represented by a rectangular tablet, rather than a human-shaped effigy. The metal alone is worth over US$17 million.

Nankunshen Daitian Temple

Taller than a man, the icon is an inspiring sight – but tourists should not visit thinking this solid-gold tablet is the only or even the main attraction at Lingxiaobao Hall, the annex constructed to house it. The whole is very much greater than the sum of its parts.

Nankunshen’s management committee was determined to make the hall an expression of Taiwanese culture. For this reason, rather than regurgitate episodes from ancient Chinese myths and legends, several of the beam and panel paintings depict scenes of everyday local life. There are images of farmers and fishermen, and nativist painter Hung Tung (1920-1987), who lived near the temple.

Showing great pride in the building, as well as expert knowledge, temple guide Mr. Kao Ying-fu began by explaining a key concept behind the hall’s design and decoration. From the outset, he said,

Well-known symbols of Taiwan such as Alishan’s forest railway and Taipei 101 also make an appearance, as do Taiwanese sporting heroes like golfer Yani Tseng and NBA star Jeremy Lin. We would not have recognized a hero of another sort, internationally lauded philanthropist Chen Shu-chu, were it not for Mr. Kao’s help.

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SOUTHWEST COAST Caesar Park Hotel brings you all of the beauty of Kenting.

Your first choice for an unforgettable vacation! Various Activities

Fantastic Taste

Relaxed Atmosphere

Friendly Staff

The Caesar Park Hotel – Kenting is located on the Hengchun Peninsula at the southern tip of Taiwan, immediately adjacent to Kenting National Park. Offering blue skies, beautiful sandy beaches and an alluring tropical ambience, Caesar Park Hotel – Kenting is without question the finest holiday hotel in the Kenting area. With its relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff, this is a real home away from home. A wide range of leisure activities are available to suit all preferences, from families to honeymooners; Caesar Park Hotel – Kenting has everything you need! Why not come and experience Taiwan’s tropical paradise? You can be sure of taking beautiful memories away with you when you leave.

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BACKPACK BUS TRIP

Stop I V: Jin Tile-paved gzaijiao Salt Fields Shallow ponds where seawater was evaporated by sunlight to produce salt were until recently one of the southwest coast’s distinctive sights. Many of these former salt pans are now used for aquaculture. One of the very few places where salt is still made the time-honored way – and then merely for educational purposes – is Jingzaijiao, 13 minutes by Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus from Nankunshen. The salt fields here took on their current appearance around 1818, when the bottoms of the ponds were covered with broken pottery shards so salt crystals would not stick to the mud. For almost two centuries, salt was harvested between early fall and late spring. Typhoon rains meant summers were usually washouts. The site’s information boards in Chinese and English do a fine job of explaining the traditional salt-making method. During the peak months of March, April, and May, a 100-square-meter of crystallization pond yielded up to 350kg of salt every three days, but collecting it involved backbreaking amounts of shoveling and hauling. Learning about a defunct industry is not the only reason to stop at Jingzaijiao. Thanks to the utter flatness of the landscape and the water’s reflective qualities, this spot has been the source of countless gorgeous sunsets captured in photos and on canvas.

English and Chinese Anping District 安平區 Budai 布袋 Budai Seafood Market 布袋漁市 Budai Visitor Center 布袋遊客中心 Chen Shu-chu 陳樹菊 deep-fried oyster wrap 蚵仔包

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Dongshi 東石 Fisherman's Wharf 漁人碼頭 Garlic Sugar Factory 蒜頭糖廠 Hung Tung 洪通 Jianan Plain 嘉南平原 Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields 井仔腳瓦盤鹽田 Kao Ying-fu 高英富

1 Getting There and Around The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle’s Southwest Coast Route (service #7702) can be boarded at Bus Platform 4, THSR Chiayi Station, 11km west of Chiayi City. There are three services each day, departing from the station at 9:45, 10:45, and 15:15. Buses take 1 hour, 45 minutes to get from the station to the final stop at the Taiwan Salt Museum. The last bus from the museum back to the station sets out at 17:30. Alternatively, tourists can take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle #99 Taijiang Route bus from the museum into downtown Tainan via Anping District. Visit www.taiwantrip.com.tw for details.

1 & 2 Jingz aijiao T ile - pave d Salt Fields

Lingxiaobao Hall 凌霄寶殿 Nankunshen Daitian Temple 南鯤鯓代天府 Suantou 蒜頭 Songmeng Rental Store 松錳租車 sugar railway 糖業鐵路 tangki 童乩 Xinying 新營


HIKING

Climbing the Wuling Sixiu

A Hike for Hikers with a Good Head for Heights

The hike

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Text and Photos: Stuart Dawson

Located just north of Snow Mountain (Mt. Xue; 3,886m), the Wuling Sixiu is a group of four mountains in Shei-Pa National Park (www.spnp.gov.tw ). Hiking all four of the peaks usually takes three days, making this a more challenging hike than Snow Mountain.

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begins at the end of Wuling Road, next to Wuling Villa (www. hoyaresort.com.tw/inn/; Chinese), which is an excellent place to stay the night before the trek to acclimate and get ready for the first day.

up we came out of the trees, and found ourselves looking at a magnificent “sea of clouds” above the Yilan Plain. It’s amazing how quickly you forget about a difficult climb when being rewarded with such inspiring views.

It’s best to set off early in the morning. The first day’s hike is relatively short – only 4.5km, the goal Taoshan Cabin – but it involves climbing some 1,500m in altitude. It takes the average person most of the day to complete.

Before reaching the cabin, you come to the peak of Taoshan (Mt. Tao; 3,324m), the first of the three mountains we were hiking on this trip (we didn’t hike to the fourth of the Wuling Sixiu, Mt. Kelaye; 3,133m). On the exposed top it was freezing, with a bitterly cold wind blowing so strong that we could barely stand. After a quick photo, we headed on towards the cabin.

You start out

along a forestry road. We set out at 8am on the short 1.5km walk along the beautiful and flat pine-tree-lined road, which brings you to the trail proper. From there the route suddenly becomes very steep, and it’s a relentless slog uphill. About halfway

The cabin space had already been fully booked when we had applied for the necessary permit before our trip, so we pitched tents. There’s a small section of dwarf bamboo before the cabin that offers excellent protection from the wind, which was much needed.


WULING SIXIU

After a cold night, we

woke up in time to hike back to see the sunrise from the top of Taoshan, and were grateful for the warmth that the sun provided. After the cabin, the trail turns west and takes you along an incredibly scenic ridge. You’re surrounded by tall Chinese hemlocks and twisted junipers the whole time. After a couple of hours, we arrived at the base of a “waterfall of rocks.” This vast river of small boulders has been formed by freeze-thaw action. Following it, we came to the peak of Mt. Chiyou (3,303m), where you are presented with spectacular panoramas of large swaths of Shei-Pa National Park. From there we carried on towards Xinda Cabin, where we camped the second night. This night was even colder than the previous one. There was no moon and not a cloud in sight, and we were able to see the Milky Way. It would have been great to sit out looking at the stars for much longer than we did, but the cold drove us back into our tents.

The next morning we were once again up early enough to watch the sunrise above the Central Mountain Range, this time as we headed to Mt. Pintian (3,524m), the third and final peak of our three-day adventure. The climb to Pintian requires a good head for heights. The last stretch, 300 meters long, has some fixed-rope sections with tremendous drops. There are plenty of good footholds, but hikers need to have strong nerves to overcome the height. From Pintian, we simply retraced our steps back to our starting point and then continued on a bit further, hiking down to the main area of Wuling Farm (www.wuling-farm.com.tw ), a popular recreation farm. 3 Safety The Wuling Sixiu is certainly not a hike for beginners. The trail up to and down from the ridge is very steep. In several places hikers need to have a good head for heights as they scramble up cliff faces with big drops. It is highly recommended that anyone wishing to do this climb join a group with a qualified guide.

The trail takes you along an incredibly scenic ridge and you’re surrounded by tall Chinese hemlocks and twisted junipers the whole time English and Chinese

1. Atop Mt. Tao 2. Tak ing in the mountain scener y 3. Twisted tree of f the trail

Central Mountain Range 中央山脈 Mt. Chiyou 池有山 Mt. Kelaye 喀拉業山 Mt. Pintian 品田山 Shei-Pa National Park 雪霸國家公園 Snow Mountain 雪山 Taoshan 桃山 Taoshan Cabin 桃山山屋 Wuling Farm 武陵農場 Wuling Road 武陵路 Wuling Sixiu 武陵四秀 Wuling Villa 武陵山莊 Xinda Cabin 新達山屋 Yilan Plain 宜蘭平原

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SPLENDID FESTIVALS

2014 Hsinchu City Glass Art Carnival Marveling at Amazing Glass Creations at Hsinchu’s Glass Museum

Text: Dave Austin

Photos: Maggie Song

Hsinchu, in northwest Taiwan, is a city with a bright and colorful history that has established itself as Taiwan’s glass arts capital. At this year’s Hsinchu City Glass Art Carnival, Hsinchu let its colors shine!

Art pieces

from renowned glass artists were on display at the Hsinchu City Glass Museum this year as part of the Hsinchu City Glass Art Carnival. Visitors came to explore their world – a world of masterful artisans – and learn about the special techniques each uses during the melting and heat-shaping processes in his or her search for beauty, meaning, and uniqueness, each artist seeking to break away from old conventions. Hsinchu is one of Taiwan’s economic boomtowns, and its advancedtechnology sector has earned it a global reputation. The Hsinchu Science Park is a leader in high-tech research and product development, most notably in semiconductors, information technology,

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computers, and optical engineering. Since its establishment in 1980, the park has seen enormous success in many fields, earning Hsinchu the title “City of Technology.” But it is not only high-tech prowess that has gained Hsinchu attention on the international stage. The city has also made a name for itself in a craft that dates back long, long before the first ever computers or semiconductors made an appearance: glass art. The annual Hsinchu City Glass Art Carnival, which this year took place from January through April in and around the Hsinchu City Glass Museum, fuses traditional art with modern society. It is a showcase

of beautiful artworks in splendid diversity complemented with glassworkshop demonstrations and DIY sessions during which visitors can design their own pieces with the guidance of professional artists. “Happiness” and “Peace” were the themes for this year’s carnival – themes quickly understood by anyone who visits Hsinchu Park where the museum is located. A short walk from Hsinchu’s main bus and train stations, the park is a pleasingly calm oasis in the midst of bustling surroundings. When you enter, the buzz of traffic quickly fades, replaced by the sound of birds chirping and breezes whispering through trees.


GLASS ART

We found ourselves surrounded by a colorful array of palm trees, cherry blossoms, and flowers. Glass-art pieces were scattered throughout, glistening beautifully in the sun

On a sunny Friday morning during a mid-February visit to the city with a couple of friends, I entered the park by crossing the Nine Curves Bridge, which spans the appropriately named Lichi, or Beautiful Pond. As its name suggests, the pond is a charming introduction to the park, with a lovely little pavilion in the middle where visitors can take in the beautiful landscape, watch schools of koi swimming about, and listen to the many species of bird chirping to each other. Moving further inside the park, we found ourselves surrounded by a colorful array of palm trees, cherry blossoms, and flowers. Glass-art pieces were scattered throughout, glistening beautifully in the sun. The inspirational ideas behind

the works range from peace, love, and happiness to religion and childhood memories. The park is also home to the Hsinchu Zoo (the third largest in Taiwan), the Holiday Flower Market (open weekends and holidays), the Hsinchu Confucius Temple, and the Vision Hall of the Windy City.

The building

in which the Hsinchu City Glass Museum is housed was constructed in 1936 for the use of the Japanese royal family and high-ranking government officials visiting Taiwan. In the decades after Taiwan regained its independence from Japan in 1945, the facility was utilized by such groups as the Kuomintang's Taiwan Military Takeover

Committee, the Americans’ Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), and the Hsinchu Military Police. The city government opened the museum on December 18, 1999. The building has a south Europeanstyle oblique roof, reinforced Westernstyle brickwork on the first-floor level of the façade, and a Western classical-style foyer. Design modifications were made to the courtyard, interior space layout, and landscaping to accommodate the museum’s five functions: collect glass artworks, hold glass-art exhibitions, engage in glass-art education, boost the industry’s sales and marketing, and conduct research on the history of glass and on glass-making and glass-art techniques.

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SPLENDID FESTIVALS

One of the highlights of the annual exhibition is the attractive Glass Art Street, beside the museum along the banks of the Beautiful Pond. Artists were displaying and selling their works in four beautiful Japanese-style structures. They greeted us to their small stalls with a smile, and a number took pleasure in telling us stories about traditional glass-art techniques that have been passed down through generations. Many have melded these traditions with more modern stylistic elements, such as using solar power and recycled materials. It was evident that great care goes into each finished art piece and the processes used to create it.

glass-art piece: its shape, its color (the piece’s “feeling”), and its creative idea. Most importantly, we were told, is the use of light. The nature of a piece can change completely depending on the intensity, angle, and distance of the light shone upon them. Much like the infinite spectrum of light, a piece of glass art can stimulate an infinite number of sentiments within its viewer.

The museum

is split into numerous different sections with themed permanent exhibits. The first section we visited tells the history of the site, portraying scenes of the past. We then spent time in two large galleries on the first floor in which works by artists from both Taiwan and abroad are displayed. This year’s carnival featured a solo exhibition by Taiwan artist Zheng Mu-lian, entitled “The Wild Fun of Making Glass Crafts.” His 53 pieces on display were a splendid showcase of creativity in the use of materials available in day-to-day life. Another noteworthy permanent exhibit was the “Glass Imprisonment Room,” featuring glass-art reproductions of articles left behind by the last occupant of what was used as a detention room when the military police occupied the building. Upstairs, visitors can follow the timeline of glass’s history in various human societies, from its first recorded uses in 3000 B.C. Mesopotamia to modern-day Hsinchu and elsewhere. In the last display room we visited, housing the permanent exhibit “The Beauty of Glass Art,” we learned about the three defining characteristics of a

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Practical Info

We learned that the Chinese style of glass art captures the feelings from deep within the hearts of the artists. This was evident in all the creations we viewed at the Hsinchu City Glass Museum, and in the sense of pride that glowed on the faces of the artists we met – knowing that they had captured something rare and beautiful, and proud to have it on display for the whole world to see.

Hsinchu is easily reached from Taipei by both bus and train. Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport has a regular service (Bus 1822) from Taipei Bus Station; the trip takes just over an hour. Most trains, conventional and high-speed, traveling Taiwan’s western lines also stop at Hsinchu. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 9:00~17:00. Entry is NT$20 for adults.

English and Chinese Beautiful Pond 麗池 Holiday Flower Market 假日花市 Glass Art Street 玻璃藝術街 ''Glass Imprisonment Room'' 玻璃監獄 Hsinchu Confucius Temple 新竹孔廟 Hsinchu City Glass Art Carnival 新竹市玻璃藝術嘉年華 Hsinchu Park 新竹公園 Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport 國光客運 Nine Curves Bridge 九曲橋 The Wild Fun of Making Glass Crafts 游矽野趣 Vision Hall of the Windy City 風城願景館 Zheng Mu-lian 鄭木連


GLASS ART

Li Bing-hui

Foot Massage Health Center Many locals, travelers, and business people come to this well-known health center

Taiwan-style body meridian massage helps to stimulate blood circulation and metabolism and to strengthen the immune system. It also helps to relieve fatigue and pain.

The Chinese style of glass art captures the feelings from deep within the hearts of the artists

The most popular services of the health center are foot massage and whole-body massage. Foot massage(40 min.)+essential oil foot spa(10 min.)=50 min.

Price NT$500 Whole-body massage(60 min.) or foot massage(60 min.) (choose one of two) + essential oil foot spa (10 min.) =70 min.

Special Price NT$799 Whole-body massage(60 min.) + foot massage(30 min.) + essential oil foot spa (10 min.) =100 min.

Special Price NT$1,200 10% discount for services costing more than NT$1,000 (at Ximen and Guanqian branches) Except for special prices 20% discount for services costing more than NT$1,000 (at Jilin and Jilin II branches) Except for special prices

Guanqian Branch

NET

Chengdu Rd.

Minquan E. Rd.

Jilin Branch

Minsheng E. Rd.

Jilin Rd.

Ximen Branch

Hanzhong St.

Guanqian Rd.

Kaifeng St.

Ximen Station, Exit 1

Zhonghua Rd.

Hankou St.

Jilin Branch

Ximen Branch Add: 196, Jilin Rd., Taipei City Add:156, Hanzhong St., Taipei City (台北市吉林路196號) (台北市漢中街156號) Reservation Hotline: (02) 2521-0060 (24h) (Exit 1 of MRT Ximen Station) Jilin Branch II Reservation Hotline: (02) 2389-0828 (24h) Add: 155, Jilin Rd., Taipei City (台北市吉林路155號) Reservation Hotline: (02) 2521-1677 (24h) MRT Xining S. Rd.

Guanqian Branch

Huaining St.

Hsinchu City Glass Museum ( 新竹市立玻璃工藝博物館 ) Add: 2, Sec. 1, Dongda Rd., Hsinchu City ( 新竹市東大路一段 2 號 ) Tel: (03) 532-4834

Add: 12, Sec. 1, Hankou St., Taipei City (台北市漢口街一段12號) Reservation Hotline: (02) 2370-2323 (24h)

Jilin Branch II


INDIGENOUS ARTISTS

The Paiwan Tribe has a population of approximately 86,000, mainly distributed in Pingtung and Taitung counties in southern and southeastern Taiwan. Traditional Paiwan society was hierarchical, roughly divided into four levels: chieftain, nobility (chieftain’s siblings and other family members), shamans/artisans, and commoners. From objects in and decorations on homes, and from patterns on clothing and accessories, it was possible to identify a person’s social status.

Paiwan Pottery Passing Down the Ancient Pottery Traditions of an Indigenous Tribe Text: Cheryl Robbins

For example, the hundred-pace pit viper was (and is) a sacred animal, and its depiction, whether on clothing or on the lintel of a home, was strictly for the chieftain. In addition, the courtyard in front of a chieftain’s home contained a large stone carving of the ancestral image. Today, three art forms are considered Paiwan culturallegacy treasures: bronze knives, glass beads, and pottery vessels. In the Paiwan creation legend, the first members of the tribe hatched from eggs inside a protective pottery vessel guarded by the hundred-pace pit viper and incubated by the sun’s rays. For this reason, traditionally not all pottery vessels were used by the tribe for practical purposes. There was a type of vessel that was considered sacred, and displayed on shelves in designated areas of homes. It was taken out only during special ceremonies. Such pots were personified, and had male and female versions – the first decorated with hundred-pace pit vipers, the second with protruding bumps representing nipples. These vessels were not only important ceremonial items, but also essential betrothal gifts for weddings within the chieftain’s clan.

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1

Photos: Aska Chi


PINGTUNG COUNTY

“The elders of the village say that clay has a memory. It can keep a form and even the artist’s fingerprints”

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the tribe’s other cultural treasures, however, many of its pottery vessels have been “lost” in recent times – sold to, or taken away by, collectors and others outside the tribe – leading to a cultural crisis, until some artisans from Sandimen Township in Pingtung County stepped in. They researched how to make the traditional-style pots, including the technique used in firing them over an open hearth. One of these artisans is Oko Matilin, who opened the Oko Handicrafts Workshop to produce the pots for the people of the tribe, later expanding to serve a wider market and including other cultural products. Oko’s son Lavurus Matilin has opened a cultural-creative design company on the same premises to complement the efforts of the workshop, and helps to design its products. The workshop is located just off Provincial Highway 24 in Sandimen Township’s Sandi Village, down a narrow lane, which is home to a number of indigenous-run workshops. Lavurus, like his father, grew up in this village. He traces his artistic roots back to his grandparents, who were also artisans. He grew up watching his family members create pottery, wood, and metal artworks, and became interested in art and design at a young age. He has never entered formal fine arts studies, but has worked as an artisan’s apprentice and as an intern at the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute in Nantou County, learning the basic techniques of working with all three media. When asked which medium he prefers, he says that because they are so different, he has no favorite. He first worked with clay, and notes that, “The elders of the village say that clay has a memory. It can keep a form and even the artist’s fingerprints.”

For him, however, it is not the medium that is important but the ability to continuously create new works. This is the spirit of the Oko Workshop, which is divided into two distinct work areas: one for making pottery and one for woodworking. In the pottery area, traditional-style pots are made in different sizes: the larger conform to the actual size of the traditional pots, while the smaller are meant to serve as gift items. Molds are used for the smaller pots, but the larger ones have to be formed exclusively by hand due to their size and the detail of their decoration. Product development is currently focused on the integration of different media, such as clay and wood. Colorful ceramic coffee mugs are created, some fitted with wooden handles that are handmade in the adjacent woodworking area. The solid-color mugs are decorated with traditional Paiwan patterns. Some are crafted as a set of two that fit together vertically, creating a splendid gift to present to couples, notably at weddings, especially as they can be packaged in an elegant wood box. The workshop’s line of coffee mugs and other everyday-use pottery items is currently its most popular; in addition to being sold onsite, they can be found at gift shops around the island.

Lavurus

notes that the use of traditional Paiwan patterns is very important. “The advantage of indigenous peoples in producing products is our stories. These stories lead to different patterns.” Near the entrance to the pottery work area is a set of shelves lined with product prototypes. New products are constantly being designed and tested, and custom orders are also accepted, such 3

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1. Paiwan ar tist L avurus Matilin 2. Oko Handicraf ts Work shop 3. Color ful ceramic cof fee mugs

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INDIGENOUS ARTISTS

“The advantage of indigenous peoples in producing products is our stories. These stories lead to different patterns”

as from companies wanting to create an exclusive gift or commemorative item. Although he enjoys being able to create functional products based on Paiwan legends and motifs, his dream is to be able to spend more time creating pure, one-of-a-kind artworks. Several of his artworks have been exhibited around Taiwan, and are on display at the entrance to the pottery work area, including a set of three wood-carved books representing a record of stories. Stories told to him by people during conversations are the inspiration for his works, such as a pottery sculpture of a man sitting slumped over on a piece of driftwood. This is the depiction of a nowmiddle-aged man whose biggest desire in life is to study in junior high school, but after 40 years that opportunity has still not come. Another work is a vertical piece of driftwood with a carved representation

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of the Taipei 101 building on the top. Just below the skyscraper, on a piece of wood jutting out that represents a girder, is a pottery sculpture of a construction worker who had no idea that he was helping to create what would be, for a time, the world’s tallest building. The message of this piece is that we need to consider who great achievements really belong to.

Another

of his interests is developing tourism in his village. Part of the property has been transformed into a campground, and those interested in art can stay overnight and make use of the potterymaking and woodworking areas to create their own works. Lavurus encourages such exchanges, and recalls a visit by two artists from the Caribbean who came to learn traditional Paiwan pottery making and firing techniques. Other plans for the future are the development of a showroom and a space for DIY activities.

Getting There & Getting Around Self-drive: From National Freeway 3, exit at the Changzhi/Sandimen Interchange and connect to Provincial Highway 24, heading east toward Sandimen. Cross the Sandimen Bridge and continue on Provincial Highway 24. A few hundred meters past the intersection with County Road 185, turn left onto a smaller road. The workshop is about 100 meters ahead on the right. Public transport: Take a train to Pingtung Railway Station. Turn left on exiting the station and walk to the Pingtung Bus Station (www.ptbus.com.tw ; Chinese). Take bus No. 8227 to Sandimen (NT$68).

English and Chinese Lavurus Matilin 拉夫拉斯馬帝靈 Oko Matilin 峨格馬帝靈 Paiwan Tribe 排灣族

Yuan Gan Wu Jian Creative Culture Company Ltd./ Oko Handicrafts Workshop ( 原感物件創意文化有限公司 / 峨格手藝工作室 ) Add: 52, Sec. 2, Zhongzheng Road, Sandi Village, Sandimen Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣三地門鄉三地村中正路二段 52 號 ) Tel: (08) 799-5200


FOOD JOURNEY

Opening Up Taiwan's Clam Heartland Visiting a Shellfish Farm in Tainan Text: Steven Crook

Photos: Rich Matheson

Taiwan is – no exaggeration – a paradise for lovers of seafood, with clams being a particular favorite. They appear in soups and stir-fries, and can also be grilled or pickled. Curious why Taiwan enjoys such an abundance of clams, and eager to sample some of the island’s best, Travel in Taiwan recently headed to the southern city of Tainan in search of answers.

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Clams

Clams are

found around the world, in freshwater as well as salt. An Arctica islandica clam found in the sea off Iceland in 2006 turned out to be 507 years old, making it the oldest individual animal ever discovered with an age that could be accurately ascertained. Clams, like trees, have annual growth bands, although the ones enjoyed in Taiwan’s restaurants are seldom more than two years old. For as long as humans have been living on the island, clams have featured in the cuisine. Clam shells have been discovered in middens around the island. Even now, at many points along the coast, some members of the older generation still gather to cook wild clams. The vast majority of clams eaten in Taiwan nowadays, however, are cultivated in coastal ponds along the southwestern coast. With over 100 hectares devoted to raising clams, Tainan’s Qigu District plays a major role in local shellfish production. Outside Taiwan, Qigu is best known for the black-faced spoonbills and other migratory birds that spend their winters here. The presence of so many birds is no coincidence. The mild conditions in which clams thrive also support shrimps, snails, and small fish, staple foods for waterbirds.

Qigu’s

clam-raising heartland is utterly flat. Compared to other parts of Taiwan, the absence of buildings and greenery is striking. The region is crisscrossed by long, straight, raised roads and utility poles; at least three-quarters of the surface area is covered with water. It appears deserted at first, because when they can the workers shelter from the hot sun beneath tarpaulins. But as soon as we began talking with our guides for the day – among them Mr. Zhang Fengxu and Mr. Chen Jun-zhang, both third-

The region is criss-crossed by long, straight, raised roads and utility poles; at least three-quarters of the surface area is covered with water

generation clam farmers – we began to appreciate how much hard-work activity and diligence is involved in bringing tasty clams to the dinner table.

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1. Sor ting clams according to size 2 & 3 Work ing in the clam p onds

I asked Mr. Chen why his ponds lacked the paddle-wheel aerator machines that are a common feature of fish farms in Taiwan. He explained that as long as the ponds are big enough (20,000 square meters is an ideal size), waves whipped up by the consistent breezes from the nearby Taiwan Strait provide enough aeration for clams. Each pond is completely drained at least once every two years so the sun’s rays can disinfect the mud. The ponds are 30 to 50 cm deep, and have openings through which sea- or freshwater is added, and exit channels for draining excess water. The water’s salt content must be between 25g and 28g per kg (the seawater off Qigu has 33g per kg), and Mr. Zhang said this level is easy to achieve because plentiful freshwater flows into the area from rivers and streams.

If the water is insufficiently saline – a risk if there has been very heavy rainfall – the clams may die. These days, clam farmers use a pocket-size instrument to measure salinity, but in the old days highly experienced farmers simply checked by tasting the water. There are no industrial parks nearby, so water quality is of little concern.

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FOOD JOURNEY

The clams

raised by both men only spend about half their lives in Qigu. The shellfish are actually bred on the coast of Yunlin County, 40km to the north, then moved to Qigu for eight or nine months before harvesting. According to Mr. Zhang, usually 70 to 80 percent of the clams transplanted from Yunlin reach a saleable size, which for most varieties is around 3cm across. Clams, like most shellfish, consume plankton, but modern-day clam farmers supplement this diet with yeast and highprotein fish food. Piscicides are not used; in fact, Mr. Chen and his fellow farmers raise milkfish in their clam ponds, and not only because the fish can be eaten by the farmers or sold. Milkfish feed on a kind of weed which, if allowed to thrive, chokes and kills clams. Mr. Zhang and Mr. Chen work yearround, but an especially busy period is just before the Mid-Autumn Festival, which usually falls in September. Millions of Taiwanese families celebrate this important traditional festival with barbecues, and a large number of them add clams to the feast.

There can

be no doubting the popularity of Qigu’s clams with Taiwanese consumers, especially now that it is known that these shellfish are a lean source of protein, contain a useful amount of omega-3 fatty acids, and are high in iron. However, like most other forms of farming in Taiwan, few young people are willing to enter this industry. The authorities are endeavoring to introduce high technology to add value and make the business less laborintensive. Both Mr. Chen and Mr. Zhang have attended classes in which they have learned how to minimize chemical inputs and reduce disease risks. The two men agree that among the biggest problems now facing clam farmers are the difficulty they face hiring workers

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and climate change. None of the ladies sieving harvested clams (sorting them by size) at the time of our visit was under 45; those out on a raft collecting clams from the bottom of a pond with a vacuumcleaner-like device were scarcely any younger. Temperatures have fluctuated unpredictably in recent years, baffling even tremendously experienced clam farmers like Mr. Chen’s grandfather.

Just as

Qigu’s clam farmers are doing their best to make their industry more sustainable, consumers can help by minimizing “food miles” (the distance food travels from where it is produced to where it is consumed). An excellent way to do this is to enjoy Qigu clams and other seafood delicacies close to the source, at A-Food Alive Sea-Food Restaurant, a few minutes’ drive from Mr. Chen’s clam ponds. Decorated with blow-up photos of black-faced spoonbills, A-Food is delightfully unpretentious. The tables are of the circular sort favored by local banquet-style establishments. The staff wear matter-of-fact aprons. The fact

that this eatery was three-quarters full, though it is in the “middle of nowhere” and we visited on a weekday at lunchtime, speaks for itself. Like many seafood restaurants in Taiwan, the menu lists neither prices nor quantities. The former vary according to season and availability. As for the latter, customers can ask for larger or smaller portions depending on how hungry they are. It is best not to arrive with setin-stone opinions on what you want to eat, but rather come with a mind open to suggestions made by the chef, who always knows what is best and freshest. It can be assumed that A-Food has served a great many clams in its history, and the ones we enjoyed – in a soup, as well 2 as larger ones cooked to perfection and served by themselves without seasoning – exceeded our expectations of excellence. Good clams taste more like mussels than oysters, and anyone who associates shellfish with slimy or rubbery textures or gritty aftertastes will leave A-Food with a newfound appreciation for this food category.


Clams

Anyone who associates shellfish with slimy or rubbery textures or gritty aftertastes will leave the restaurant with a newfound appreciation for this food category

A-Food’s other standout dishes include fried grouper, salted giant tiger prawns, milkfish, and lobster. You will need a Chinese speaker, or a decent phrasebook, to order – but as is true with so much of the Taiwan culinary experience, fortune favors bold travelers, and rewards their palates and stomachs!

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1. Feasting on fresh seafood 2 & 3 Washing and insp ec ting the clams

Getting There and Around To properly explore Qigu’s clam-raising district, you will need a car, motorcycle, or bicycle. Two Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus services, #7702 Southwest Coast Route from THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) Chiayi Station and #99 Taijiang Route from Tainan Railway Station, go to Qigu’s Taiwan Salt Museum, from where you can take a taxi to the clam-farming area.

A-Food Alive Sea-Food Restaurant ( 阿芬海產餐廳 ) Add: 27-1 Haipu, Qigu District, Tainan City ( 台南市七股區海埔 27 之 1 號 ) Tel: (06) 788-2207; mobile: 0987-751-158

English and Chinese Chen Jun-zhang 陳浚彰 Qigu District 七股區 Taiwan Salt Museum 臺灣鹽博物館 Zhang Feng-xu 張峰旭

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ACTIVE FUN

When someone mentions the word “rollerblading” to you, you might remember a time when almost everyone you knew had a pair of roller skates or rollerblades, perhaps using them to train for the next ski season. Or you might remember people wearing neoncolored spandex, dancing to disco music on MTV spots during the'80s. This is a familiar part of the past for many Westerners, and although the memories or the knowledge of that era of high popularity may be ever fuzzier, some have continued with the sport and have pushed the boundaries of what is possible on rollerblades ever further. You might wonder, “Was it the same for people in Asia?” The short answer is: Yes, it was pretty much the same – the boom of rollerblading was indeed global.

The sport

has developed numerous disciplines in the years since, like speed skating, roller hockey, various recreational forms and, as dubbed in the ’90s – aggressive inline skating, meaning the extreme forms of inline skating. This is the kind of rollerblading I personally find to be the most enjoyable, and it is the type you will see most often in Taiwan. That doesn’t mean, of course, that other disciplines are not popular here as well. For example, when I go skating with friends at Taipei's Guting Riverside Park, we often run into others enjoying recreational inline skating – a discipline focused on endurance and fitness. Other times, at skate spots on university campus grounds, I’ve seen groups of students slalom skating for social or extracurricular fun on more than one occasion, smoothly weaving back and forth between little cones placed on the ground. There is also a substantial roller-hockey following in Taiwan, with regular matches happening in major cities and towns – sometimes even with cheerleading squads! Most notable, however, is that the Taiwanese are actively seeking out formal instruction in rollerblading, akin to people seeking out qualified private-sector guidance in music, mathematics, or foreign languages in the West.

oll e

When it comes to aggressive inline skating here in Taiwan, there are quite a few individuals who perform at its highest level. Wang Wei-chieh is one, and I have had the privilege to go skating with him as well as other advanced skaters on a regular basis for about two years now. Wei-chieh primarily makes his living by serving as a rollerblading instructor – getting people of all ages started, and teaching them how to keep advancing. The training he provides leans toward the extreme forms of inline skating, but also includes other forms. I often see him finishing up a class with a group of smiling enthusiasts when I arrive at a skate park for a little “blading” session, and sometimes the students will join us afterwards and continue practicing till the lights are turned off.

A few weeks ago we

went together to the recently built concrete skate park in Xinshi Park in Pingzhen City, Taoyuan County. While strapping on our skates and loosening up, I took the time to ask Wei-chieh about the best places for rollerblading in Taiwan, and if he himself chooses spots based on the specific things he’d like to practice. His reply:

“For me, a pair of rollerblades is just like a pair of sneakers: I will always need them no matter where I go. So, regarding the question of where to go rollerblading, Wang Wei- chieh jumping at a ver tical wall

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rb


a l b din Skati n with a g in Taoyu a Local n Accompl n ished Inline Tex t S k : Ha n a ter ré M al he rbe P h ot

os : Z

e ni t h

Lin

ROLLERBLADING

g

in

Taiwan

of rollerblades “For me, a pair ir of sneakers: a p a e k li t s ju is ed them no I will always ne g o” matter where I

L: Rollerblader Wei- chieh R: Rollerblader Hanré


ACTIVE FUN

He proceeded to do the most difficult trick of the day: Grinding on top of the tallest, gnarliest mountain of concrete the park has to offer

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the most important factor in your choice should be imagination. If you use your imagination, many locations are suitable for skating. Trying to skate at a place you would usually ignore will force you to think differently about how you skate, and ultimately bring about better advancement of your skills. For me it is extremely important to make rollerblading a free and creative activity – which is what the sport is all about. Obviously, skate parks will provide many of the necessary elements, but there are so many more obstacles out there waiting to be creatively explored in non-conventional locations.” I found this perspective inspiring, and now felt even more excited about the day’s rollerblading, so we got started right away. First, we did some simple 180s (jumping straight up and then turning 180 degrees in mid-air, landing backwards) over the

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spine that connects the deep and shallow ends of the skate park’s large bowl. Impressively, Wei-chieh can spin both towards the left and right in mid-air. Each time I flew over the spine with relative ease, but not nearly as stylishly as he did. Next, we went over to the street course next to the bowl to do some “grinds” on a big “box” in the middle.

It went

pretty smoothly for both of us regarding successful execution of tricks, although it took time refining the stunts, and after almost countless jumps we needed a little break. I asked Wei-chieh how rollerblading has influenced him over the years:

“As I think back over the past 10 years or so, one of the most valuable things I’ve learnt from rollerblading is how to be brave. Brave people never only

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4

1. Grinding on top of the tallest wall in the park 2. Pingzhen Sk ate Park 3. Rolling across a b ox 4. Jumping of f the b ox

say ‘I want to …’, or ‘I wish I could …,’ but instead think of a practical way to deal with a challenge. You are most certainly going to fall down or fail at some point, but you must stay optimistic, and think about what happened. Maybe your body strength is not enough … or your reaction time was not fast enough. Approaching a challenge this way opens your mind to search for a solution. In the beginning I wouldn’t try to find a solution; instead I’d just take off my skates and go see a movie with friends or whatever. But each time I regretted not having worked at it just a little bit more. The same goes for the many challenges life throws at you: If you don't figure out a way to deal with them, you will end up living a life filled with regrets. But if you choose to think of ways to solve your problems, you will become more and more confident.” His confidence shows. After our break he proceeded to do the most difficult trick of


ROLLERBLADING the day: Grinding on top of the tallest, gnarliest mountain of concrete the park has to offer – the coping on top of the more-than-vertical wall in the deepest end of the bowl. There was no way I would attempt the same, so I just watched him in awe for awhile, before deciding to finish off the day with some jumps off of the ramp-side of the box in the street course. you with Isomething ’ll leave one of my friends from the UK once said to me about the rollerblading scene here in Taiwan, which I think sums things up pretty well:

“From my experience, the community is alive and well in Taiwan, whereas in the UK it is more broken up and it’s harder to find people. Here, the simple fact that you like the sport allows you to make friends and skate, but back home it is more about who you know and what you can do.”

English and Chinese Guting Riverside Park 古亭河濱公園 Pingzhen City 平鎮市 Wang Wei-chieh 王韋傑 Xinshi Park 新勢公園 Pingzhen Skate Park ( 平鎮滑板公園 ) Add: 58, Zhongyuan Rd., Pingzhen City, Taoyuan County ( 桃園縣平鎮市中原路 58 號 ) Take a train to Zhongli Railway Station and take a taxi to Xinshi Park (5 min.). For more info on Taiwan's rollerblading scene, visit the following two Facebook pages (events, photos, Taiwanese rollerblade culture, etc.). They are mostly in Chinese, but don't be shy to post in English ... someone will answer you.

www.facebook.com/inlineriders?ref=profile www.facebook.com/ funboxrollerblade?ref=profile Also, feel free to contact this writer via e-mail: idetitakimasu@gmail.com. And finally, here is a webpage with a good reference list of rollerblading terms: www.rollerblading.com.au/skating_glossary.htm

Your Journey Begins Here


FUN WITH CHINESE

Illustration: Fred Cheng

The modern

version of the Chinese character for sun, 日 (ri ), doesn’t much resemble the sun, but in ancient times the character had the sun’s rounded shape. The curvature on the left side of the modern Chinese character for moon, 月 (yue ), is an indication of the original character’s depiction of a crescent moon.

ri

Both characters are quite common in Chinese; they also have the meaning of “day” and “month,” respectively. If you put the two together you get the character 明 (ming ), which means “light” or “bright.” Combine 明 with the character 天 (tian ; “day”) and you get 明天 , meaning tomorrow (as in “when the skies once again brighten”). Put two 月 together and you get the character 朋 (peng ), meaning “friend/companion,” which is usually used in combination with 友 (you ), which alone also means “friend.” If there should ever be a night sky with two moons shining down on you, make sure that a good 朋友 is at your side. Here are some other common characters containing either 日 or 月 : 早 (zao ; “early”), 昌 (chang ; “prosperous”), 唱 (chang ; “to sing”), 晶 (jing ; “crystal”), 有 (you ; “to have”), and 朝 (chao ; “morning”). One of the most famous tourist destinations in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake in the center of the island, is also written with the two characters for sun and moon in Chinese: 日月潭 (the last character, tan , means “lake”).

62

Travel in Taiwan

yue


Pineapple Cake

Round Nougat

Luckygift Bakery was established in 1988. The founder, Mr. Huang Yong-ji, is a first-generation apprentice of Mr. Tsuyama, a honey Castella cake master baker with renowned Japanese company Nagasaki Hompo. To prevent these handmade skills to be lost, Mr. Huang decided to establish his own company, Luckygift Bakery. He insists to use natural ingredients and keep the original taste and therefore, he won the major award such as National Quality Guarantee Golden award. Luckygift Bakery was named Excellent Business and noted as Famous Gift Bakery in Taipei. Recently, it is ranked No. 1 nougat in Liberty Times' fine food blog and No. 1 Mother's Day cheesecake in Apple Daily News.

Honey Castella Cake

Round Nougat (Rated No.1 by Fine Food Blogs)

Luckygift Bakery’s original round nougat is soft, aromatic, and chewy but not sticky to your teeth; it has become one of its star best-selling products. Each piece is made by hand.Enjoy now our six different nougats in different delightful flower packages.

Honey Castella Cake

Baked Shaqima

Civic Blvd. Lane 137, Yanji St.

Yanji Branch EXIT 1 MRT Zhongxiao-Dunhua Station

MRT Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd.

EXIT 2

Sec. 4, Ren’ai Rd.

Pineapple Cake (Star Product)

With the crispy crust and soft filling, the sweet Pineapple cake is beloved in Taiwan. It is also the best seller for visitors.

EXIT 4 ●

Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Shinkong Mitsukoshi

Guangfu S. Rd.

Yanji St.

Guangfu Branch

This house special cake with browned surface emits pure flower aroma and tastes delicious. This special skills to make it has been passed down over two decades.

ISSN:18177964

Taipei 101

GPN:2009305475

200 NTD

Customer Service Hotline: (02) 2694-2299 Yanji Branch: 4, Lane 137, Yanji St., Da’an District, Taipei City (台北市大安區延吉街137巷4號); Tel: (02) 2741-7457 Guangfu Branch: 422 Guangfu S. Rd., Da’an District, Taipei City (台北市大安區光復南路422號); Tel: (02) 2704-5157

www.lucky-gift.com.tw


Travel in Taiwan (No.63, 2014 5/6)