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 →
The journey began with an early morning train ride on Tuesday from Taichung to Tainan. In Tainan Ben and I got the motorbikes ready and hit the road. We were soon beyond Tainan’s city limits and riding through verdant countryside. After a few hours passing through towns like Qishan, Meinong and Gaoshu amidst the rolling hills, we reached the edge of much more substantial mountains and the entrance to the Maolin National Scenic Area (茂林國家風景區) in Kaohsiung County.
Slate house in Duona village, Maolin Scenic Area, Kaohsiung County.
We had lunch in Maolin before heading further up the valley to the Rukai village of Dona (多納). This village is one of the few places in Taiwan where you can find slate houses. Slate is used as a building material in the village for constructing fences and the walls and rooves of houses. It is a traditional building method of the Rukai and Paiwan peoples. Continue reading →