Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Driving on the East Coast Highway

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.


Anonymous said...

Another excellent round of photos. I especially like the sea spray at the beach.

I've got a question: if you take so many pictures and the resolution is high, how long does it take you to load all of them up on your site?

It seems it would take some time la...

Michael Turton said...

I compress them down first to manageable size, usually either 750 pixels in width for my website, or 500 for mounting at Flickr or Blogger. Then uploading them is a snap.

Sometimes I cut or process them before processing, that's what takes time. You can easily find batch processing programs that you can specify compression and size in, then zip! process 100 photos in a minute.

Flickr has a bulk photo uploader but the frickin' thing won't work on my system. So I just upload two or three pages at the same time, six photos each, with the manual system. It goes real fast.

The pain lies in flickr's naming system, which assigns a long string of garbage to each pic, meaning that you can't just determine what each name will be by calculating, instead, you have to view each one individually if you want to link from another site link Blogger. That takes a lot of time.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos Michael. Sansiantai....go right over the bridge and turn right to the water... is a special place for me because it was there I asked my wife for the third and final time (in Chinese) to marry me.
Sansiantai looks a lot better in the late afternoon I think...
Cheers mate, Geoff

Anonymous said...

Answer to your trivia question: Cancer! Did I get it right?

This is quite an eye-opening site you have here. It's great to see someone with a clear mind take the effort to introduce the beauty of my homeland (well, the ugly truths as well). The view on the Chad issue was of great insight, loved it.

Hopefully you've enjoyed the east coast. I used to live in Hualien. Too bad I'm now stuck in Edmonton where in the winter there's nothing to do but blog-surfing.

Looking forward to more brilliant entries from you!