Sunday, April 25, 2010

Random Stories and Photos on a Warm Sunday

Went out to Taiping yesterday to climb to Hsinshe with my man Karl, and this group of cyclists put me in their group picture as I waited.

Been on the road for the last three weeks, with only a couple of days of a few hours at home. Feels great to finally settle back into a rhythm and have my wife back at home. Get my life, and this blog, back to normal.

The traffic circle there is also a big meet up site for hikers headed to Ta-ken trails 1-4, lovely hiking.

Went out riding today to Dongshih, and coming home, stopped to get one of my favorite local snacks, roasted corn with garlic sauce. The vendor lady popped a trio of her finest ears of corn on the grill and then we compared notes about raising teenagers. A couple of men rode up on bikes and asked her the price of an ear of corn, their accent identifying them as foreigners. She weighed the ones they selected and told them: $50 NT. Declining, they thanked her and rode off. "Hey!" she yelled at them. "This isn't your country! Things aren't cheap here!"

And...they're off!

As a teacher, students are always flattering me; it is their way of managing teachers and they do it to everyone. But one student actually was able to locate my ON button. The other day I was chatting with T. and asked what she had done over the weekend. "Went bike riding!" she announced proudly. We discussed that for a few minutes, and then I asked her what kind of bike she rode. "A cheap steel one," she replied, "But I want one just like yours!"

Some people just know how to get an A.

Not a good day for viewing.

This weekend didn't offer much in the way of views, but the Ma-Tsai debate on ECFA was held today. More on that tomorrow.

Still, lots of attractive young people out on motorcycles enjoying the Saturday after exams.

An unanticipated side effect of the city-county mergers is a leap in official....expenditure. The local county chief here in Taichung has come under fire for trips abroad financed, so it is said, by local taxpayer monies. Since he, a KMTer, is not running again for county chief -- it seems that current Taichung mayor Jason Hu will have that honor -- some of the locals accuse him of simply ignoring county needs and spending the cash on trips abroad.

We went over 129 and through Hsinshe. Looking at the fog, we decided not to climb 21 to Guosing. Instead, we detoured north to the only working bridge in the area, and went back to Dongshih.

The hills around Dongshih are filled with vineyards.

One of the suspension bridges over the river. Karl displays his camera.

This collection of signs is one of my favorite spots in the area.

Today I headed out Donglin Road in Dongshih to see if I could reach Jhoulan by going along the river. Google, it turned out, lied to me.

Another hazy day, but warm.

Plenty of people out fishing.

A beautiful area of farms and orchards.

As well as temples and graveyards.

A good climb through the forest.....

....Brought me to this relic guardhouse for a rest.

Bugs everywhere.

An odd grouping of tall straight objects.

A relatively empty road through rolling farmland, this one runs out to Dongshih Forest Park, a place I put on my ALP list (Avoid Like Plague). Unless you have thing for kitsch dinosaurs at high prices.

After I reached the peak, there would have been excellent views over the river, except for the haze.

Although Google maps said the road went through, at Dongshih Forest Park they told me it didn't. I rode down here...

...and along the dike for a couple of kms but that road had been wiped out by a typhoon, the fellow at the gate to Four Corners Forest Park told me when I reached its terminus. The frustrating part was that as I rode along the dike I could look up and see the road on the bluffs above which the Dongshih Forest Park people told me did not exist.

So it was back over the hill I'd just climbed.....
Daily Links:

Horrific landslide buried at least two and as many as four cars on Highway 3 outside Taipei today. Pic above from TVBS. What a terrible way to go.
FUN: Via Ballon Juice: more cowbell + Obama
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Anonymous said...

The Reuters correspondent must be moonlighting for Xinhua

Anonymous said...

The Reuters article on the debate--again the Taiwan-hating Ralph Jennings giving over 75% of the article to Ma's exhortations, a few brief mentions of Tsai, and then a final and pointlessly irrelevant swipe at TV "pundits" who, according to the foully-biased Jennings, are and continued to be divided, leaving us with this as his last and most remembered thought.

les said...

Luckily noone in Taiwan gives a damn about the Reuters spin on the debate, or making a decision on demanding a referendum or not, based on that article.
Someone needs to get out there and do a new poll while the debate is still fresh in everyone's mind.