Friday, July 24, 2015

A short coast ride: so much has changed

It seemed like just another gorgeous day in Hualien. Started off the right way... click on read more to read more...

Now here is a man who knows how to start the day...

A proper breakfast a real local breakfast shop.

Because I had to pick up my bike at the train station, I didn't get out of town until almost 9. The heat was on.

The coast is now overwhelmed with lots of this ridiculous kitsch crap.

The Cidal Hunters School teaches?

The climb up Niu Shan was an ascent into the furnaces of hell. I overheated like crazy a couple of times, had to rest until I stopped being dizzy. So glad to reach the peak and this flat area.

One of the most photo'd places in Taiwan, I took this obligatory photograph.

Loveliness everywhere.

What is this?

The east coast still has a few places where you can enjoy the views, but the pace of destruction is quickening.

Oceanic fish farming going on inside these nets.

At Shitiping, the quaint little fishing port I used to like, both swimming holes have now been destroyed by tour group crap. And buses everywhere. So demoralizing...

Tourists flooding this area...

You can still get some iconic old photos, to be sure.

And the mountains still have their moments.

But hurry up and see the coast. It's vanishing rapidly into the maw of the Chinese tourist madness. If you could only do one route and you asked me for recommendations, I'd say, do the Rift Valley. The coast ain't what it used to be.


許老師 (Jonathan Schmidt) said...

I did this ride in '94 with my wife (then girlfriend) and another friend, at this exact time of year. Started at the top of the old Cross-Island Highway at Dayuling, coasted down to Hualien, then down the furnace of the coast to Kenting. It was a great ride, we met so many fantastic people along the way, really saw the best of Taiwan during that week or so.

StefanMuc said...

I searched a bit, Cidal is an Amis word, meaning "sun" and "mother". Which would explain the sun-like logo. "Besides sharing passion and vitality, the Cidal Hunter School wishes to watch over the land and the people just as a mother looking after her children."

The hunter school teaches indigenous traditions and survival skills like net fishing and making fire using bamboo.

Michael Turton said...

Maybe I'll go to that school next year....

Cary said...

I spent 6 years in Hualien in the early to mid 90's and had many idyllic bike (and motorbike, and VW van) trips along the coast. Sleepy, pristine places like Yan Liao, Ji Qi, and Shi Ti Ping were so lovely and inspiring. I went back a couple of years ago and was dismayed like you are at the careless 'development' (I would say, degradation), and lack of oversight to preserve what makes these places worth visiting. Luckily, as you say, if you move off of the beaten track a bit there is much to appreciate, but there are only so many miles of coast that can support visitors. A little planning and preservation would go a long way.