Members of the Atayal community of Hagay (哈凱部落) protested outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei today. They called on the government to provide permanent housing to replace the temporary housing they have been living in for ten years. They also called on the government to take responsibility for the impacts of the construction of the Baling Dam in the catchment of the Shimen Reservoir.
The Hagay community originally lived in a remote location in Fuxing Township of Taoyuan County (桃園縣復興鄉). About twenty years ago the community decided to move to a new location near the Baling Bridge (巴陵橋) on the Northern Cross Island Highway to make it easier for the children to get to school. Continue reading →
I have just spent ten days accompanying John Seed on a trip around Taiwan. John is an environmentalist from Australia well known for his efforts protecting rainforests around the world and also as a philosopher of Deep Ecology. I met John at the Taoyuan Airport on the morning of 28 March. We then took the high speed train to Kaohsiung where we met Dr Lin Yih-ren who arranged John’s visit to Taiwan.
After lunch in Kaohsiung we went to visit the Qimei Community University and then went on a tour around the Meinong area. By the time night fell we were high in the mountains of Pingtung County staying at the Rukai village of Wutai. The photo at the top of this post shows Paiwan artist E-tan presenting one of his works to John. We met E-tan at the Autumn Moon Cafe (秋月e店) just above the town of Sandimen. The cafe is an amazing spot and is filled with great artworks. Continue reading →
Thousands of Thai people gathered at the Taoyuan Stadium today to celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year. The festival is also known as the Water Festival and often includes riotous water fights. It was a beautiful sunny day for the event in Taoyuan, although the water throwing was rather tame in comparison to what goes on in Thailand.
The event began with the monks chanting blessings before accepting alms. Here the people are lined up ready to offer food to the monks.
On my bike ride across the Northern Cross Island Highway I passed by the turn off to Lala Shan (拉拉山), just after Baling (巴陵). On Saturday I returned to the area again, this time via motorcycle, and visited Lala Shan. It is just as well that I didn’t make the detour on my bicycle. While the horizontal distance from Lower Baling is not so great, the vertical distance is. The road goes up and up and up. The photo above shows the view from about half way up.
The air was noticeably cooler up at altitude. Eventually we reached the car park and then set out to walk around the stand of ancient cypress trees. The trees are numbered and the signs also show the height, girth and age of the tree. Continue reading →
I set off at six o’clock on Monday morning to ride across the Northern Cross Island Highway. This road, which Taiwanese call the Bei Heng (北橫), begins at Daxi in Taoyuan County and goes across the mountains to Yilan. I stopped to eat breakfast somewhere on the road between Xindian and Sanxia. Once I rode through Sanxia the worst of the traffic and urban ugliness was behind me. The scenery on Route 7乙 between Sanxia consisted of small farms with bigger mountains off in the distance.
I've ridden the HSR, MRT and TRA, but there was still one train system in Taiwan that I had yet to ride. It was the skytrain at the Taoyuan International Airport. I was at the airport today and had some free time so I thought I would take a ride and take some photos too.
This little two carriage train shuttles passengers between Terminals One and Two of the airport.
The cars are self-guided running on concrete tracks, much like the Muzha line of the Taipei MRT.
And here is a view inside the carriage. As the journey between the two terminals only takes a couple of minutes it is barely necessary to sit down.