Saturday, October 16, 2010

Walking in Old Taichung

What a great Saturday, the perfect day to go with the perfect weather. My partner in climb Drew is in the States so I squired his wife around the Dajia River today, a leisurely 70 kms of wetlands and rice fields. Then a friend called and invited me down to a tour of one of the oldest areas of Taichung city, the Jenping Village area, for food and what turned out to be a walking tour.

Taichung city. Plans to demolish all the old buildings in the area and put in luxury high-rises are already under review. Lots of money to be made, it is claimed, selling the new buildings as speculative investments to monied Chinese.

Light and shadow in a ditch.

Our tour guide says settlement in this area dates from 1710. There are still several buildings dating from the end of the 19th century in the area.

Adobe but not Photoshop.

This structure dates from the latter half of the 19th century. Unfortunately many of the oldest buildings were destroyed in the massive floods of Aug 17,1958, which made Morakot look like a kindergarten wading pool.

A view from inside. Our guide on the tour grew up in this building.

Puppet shows are common offerings to the gods; here everyone gets in on the fun.

This district is located off Yungchun Rd a block from the intersection of Liming Rd and Huanchung Rd.

Children of the Corn.

An ingenious water-assisted device for husking rice. The water flows into the holder at one end, raising the club at the fore.

Close quarters.

Farmers were having a busy Saturday.

We stopped at a little temple shoehorned into the rice fields.

Our guide shows the route in red. The area, with its small, pleasant roads and evocative old houses, has become a popular jogging, strolling, and light biking destination. Unfortunately the designations on the map are informal as the government has plans to destroy it to help millionaire developers get even more cash. Note also the inevitable political effect: when local histories are wiped off the map, local identities suffer.

Objects of worship.


Some of the owners really put money into making their homes look nice.

We stepped off the path to examine these deliberately cemented in stones. Can you guess what they were used for?

In many older houses the mud bricks are faced with a plaster of rice husks and mud.

An old brick wall, now exposed.

I want this house!

A pigeon cage, nearly as big as any local home, which may house hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of valuable racing pigeons.

Giving a lecture.

I'll bet you eat this common vegetable frequently. Can you guess what it is? Or is your heart just too empty?

This very interesting old house had a symbol on the wall. Note how it is offset from center -- for good fengshui. The principle is that the yang side is bigger than the yin, I was informed.

Heading out the gate, which was deliberately made small for defense.

With dusk approaching beautiful clouds rolled in from the mountains to the east.

Taiwanese can think of endless uses for old doors.

This was the first two-story building in the area, a fact noted with pride on the sign there.

Irrigation facilities.

Would you like to grow up here?


Resting at the local earth god temple.

Sure wish I knew enough about flowers to identify this one.

Fishing in the Jenping River. The fisherman were all trying to catch Tilapia (wu guo yu), a commonly farmed fish and now an escapee found in every creek and irrigation ditch in the land.

Local cyclists enjoy a road ride on their mountain bikes.

At sunset thousands of bats came out to feast on the clouds of gnats.

With darkness falling, it was back to the base for eating, drinking, and image comparing.
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INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

Fantastic Mike, your photography is very pleasing to my eye. What were the cemented stones for then? And is that a golf driving range behind the objects of worship?

Anonymous said...

Those stones are for washing clothes.

Helen said...

The flower should be some version of Heliconia (Heliconiaccae). There is wide variety of them and they are related to bananas :)
your looks a little like heliconia psittacorum cv Sassy ( or Heliconia psittacorum cv. Savitri ( your picture is much better than theirs, so it is kinda hard to decide by the picture. but it seems to be from the psittarcorum branch of heliconias. There is about 30 varieties of them here in Hawai'i also.

Michael Turton said...

@INCOMING, I wondered if anyone would catch the golf range there.... thanks. The stones are for washing clothes.

@Helen, thanks. It's really a breathtakingly beautiful flower.

Barking Deer Adventures said...

Seeing the pigeon loft photo I was reminded of a conclusion Steve Crook and I came to a few years ago while riding through Tainan County. 'You know you've been in Taiwan too long when - your pigeon loft is larger than your house.'