Another installment in the continuing series of my parents' vacation in Taiwan.
At the suggestion of Ryan of The Lost Spaceman fame, we proceeded up the highway along the coast, rather than going through the east coast rift valley between Taitung and Hualien, as we did in 2004.
We left Taitung early in the morning.
And got on the highway headed north....
A park by the sea.
The mountains come right down to the sea, and views along the coast are spectacular.
The east coast highway was empty that day.
The area is populated by heavily Christianized aborigines, who became converts in the 1950s after the Japanese
left and the KMT came in.
A small town along the way.
For some people, the air in Taiwan can never be too dirty.
My father gathers the morning news.
We stopped at the little park called Sanhsientai, or Sansiantai, where a beautiful bridge goes out to a small island. The sun was harsh, but the views were wonderful.
Catching some Zs in the shade.
The English on the signs was wonderful, for a change.
Here's a good illustration of a common problem faced by translators: the underlying Chinese idea is alien to what we say in English, so that the sign looks weird even though the English itself is fine. Few English signs would advise people to use their better judgment; that would be considered patronizing.
The beach was beautiful...
...but very windy. The camera lenses were instantly covered in salt spray.
Here the kids pose in front of the bridge. The camera had trouble with the bright sky and bright ocean...
My wife and my mother.
The kids had a good time playing among the rocks.
Another view of the island and bridge. Quite photogenic, I'm sure, in the right light.
And of course, the totally unique souvenirs had to be carefully browsed.
This obelisk marks the spot were the Tropic crosses the island of Taiwan. Trivia question: which one is it?
As tropical storm Bilis was due, the big ships were fleeing out to sea.
The little fishing boats meanwhile headed for the shelter of the small ports that dot the coastline.
Once you climb away from the sea, the views are amazing.
All in all, we enjoyed the ride, but I prefer the rift valley, with mountains on either side. Really a question of taste. Although there were a couple of extremely dangerous areas on the east coast highway -- one-lane tunnels that trucks roar right down and woe to anyone who can't back up in time.