Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Zooming up to Nantou to see the Daily Bubble Tea

Todd waits for me to finish a shot as Cathy looks for bugs to photo.

Another gorgeous central Taiwan day dawned on Sunday, so my friend Drew and I motored up to Nantou to see Todd of The Daily Bubble Tea, a popular local expat blog, and his girlfriend fiance Catherine. I'm happy to announce that they are engaged to be married.

Leaving Taichung, I spotted this Graveyard of the Machines.

Crops ripening in the morning sun...

Not all betel nut people are hot chicks.

Nantou always presents stirring scenes of steep mountains and graveled riverbeds (composite of three pictures)

Todd and Cathy live in Chunghsinghsintsun, the town built as the "provincial" administrative capital and now full of retired government workers living in what was once plush housing on tree-lined streets.

On Sundays this park is crowded with families and children. Here vendors are set up with all sorts of balls and balloons for the incoming horde.

We decided to go motoring through the mountains, taking Nantou 17 from highway 14 over a low ridge, and then down the other side. Unfortunately I turned the wrong way and we ended up taking Nantou 22 back to Nantou town. But the ride was great....

Once you gained a little altitude, the views were excellent.

Here Todd gets ready to take a shot.

Nantou 17 was lined with graveyards along most of the opening portion of its length.

Here I panned one of the them, as Drew stops to inspect the tombs.

A burner.

We found this amazing tomb at a bend in the road. Tigers, lions, elephants, zebras, and pandas stand guard over it.

Here's a close up of one of the lions.

Another interesting tomb was this one. Connected to the famous Lin families of both Banchiao and Changhua? Or just a coincidence of names?

The mountains loom in the distance, range piled on range.

It's no exaggeration to describe the area as Land of Betel Nut. The ridges were covered with betel nut palms.

Cathy turned out to be a woman after my own heart, who loves to photograph bugs. Here she and Todd draw a bead...

...on this lovely bug.

It wouldn't be too bad having this view to contemplate for all eternity.

Here's a panorama from that spot.

A temple straddles the road.

Some of the countryside.

After the hard going, we retired to a local Hakka place for draft Tiger beer and some good fried food. Don't they make a cute couple? UPDATE: I meant Todd and Cathy, not the beer and food, you wiseasses.

Drew tells a story.

As we returned to Taichung, I grabbed this shot of the new highway running through the valley, inching toward completion in the distance...

Drew and I took Rte. 136 back to Taiping, one of my favorite local roads (last blogged on here). Plenty of good mountain scenery, little traffic, and lots of curves. The only thing that could possibly disturb you is a wasp flying into your helmet and stinging you by the ear as you cruised in a zone of utter contentment, making you slam on the brakes and then wreck with a loud shout and innumerable bruises. Fortunately nothing like that happened to me.


Anonymous said...


Hi Michael, maybe you could make a post about donation efforts for the recent Chinese earthquake? The above link directs you to the Red Cross site and it would be great if you could make some additional links as well.


Anonymous said...

From China nd the 921 Quake

"As usual for China, politics quickly took command. It was most unfortunate that Beijing decided to set no exception even at a time when the Taiwanese were sparing no efforts to rescue victims buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings. The following is just a list of selected outrageous reactions of China to the Taiwan earthquake:

1. China’s political meddling at the UN led to the delayed sending of a UN relief mission to Taiwan.

2. China informed Taiwan that Beijing’s prior approval was required for any United Nation assistance.

3. The Chinese Red Cross Society asked Red Cross branches of other countries to consult with it before they decided to offer assistance to quake-stricken Taiwan.

4. China’s Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan took advantage of an opportunity during a UN meeting on September 22 to promote China’s position that Taiwan is a part of China by expressing gratitude for international humanitarian aid " on behalf of the Taiwan people."

5. Beijing refused to grant the Russian earthquake relief mission en route to Taiwan to pass through the Chinese airspace. Forced to make a lengthy detour over Siberia, the Russian team’s arrival in Taiwan was delayed for 12 hours.

6. On September 27, Jiang Zemin renewed threats to take Taiwan by force in a speech he delivered to US business leaders attending the Fortune Forum in Shanghai.

In response to China’s actions, there was widespread Taiwanese anger with China’s slowing international efforts to help Taiwanese victims. An editorial of the CHINA TIMES of Taiwan lashed out at Beijing. "The Chinese Communist regime is so stupid," the newspaper said. "Instead of seizing the opportunity to win the goodwill of Taiwanese, it gained antagonism with irritating political language." A TAIPEI TIMES editorial of September 25 went even further. It stated "Beijing’s grotesque attempts to gain political capital out of the suffering of Taiwanese are an outrage that will not easily be forgotten or forgiven."

Taiwan’s official criticism was just as blunt. Foreign Minister Jason Hu said on September 24 that China is pursuing its own political agenda by taking advantage of Taiwan’s disaster and characterized the action as "a robbery committed during a fire." "Their behavior has violated international humanitarian principles," said Hu.

Presumably due to the Chinese politically motivated response to the Taiwan earthquake, Taiwan has refused to accept any Chinese offer of assistance except the $100,000 for earthquake relief. The Taiwanese Americans in the US were likewise very critical of Beijing’s politics-take-command approach toward a killer earthquake that killed more than 2,300 people, and injured more than 8,700. They started letter campaigns criticizing the American Red Cross, for example, for its kowtowing to China’s demand."

Michael Turton said...

I'll get a post up later today, probably a permanent link on the sidebar.


Anonymous said...

Your photos are simply stunning. Thanks Michael, you da Man.

Regarding the quake, there are a few image gallery links in the comment section of one of your previous posts. (daily links?) Also, here are four more (non-donation related) links if anyone is interested:

I think the first photo on this page symbolizes the earthquake.

A little girl named Li Yi who had to get her leg cut off without painkillers to be rescued. So sad.

In rubble, Chinese couple clung to each other, and to life

China faces economic aftershocks

Anonymous said...


The second picture in the set is from about the same place two weeks after the earthquake. The other qake pictures are from Dong Shih. Can't believe it's been 9 years.

Anonymous said...

Great seeing you again Michael! It was also nice to meet Drew... Hope to hang out again soon!

Anonymous said...

Looks great :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos Mike. You remind me how beautiful this place is. Thank you.

Chason said...

Excellent photos!