Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In Kinmen with FTV

Another trip with Michella and FTV, this time a brief night in Taipei followed by a trip to Kinmen. I really enjoyed Kinmen's completely different atmosphere and its interesting and well-preserved old buildings. Hoping to get back there soon for a few days of cycling around the island. Click on READ MORE for photos and commentary on the visit.

In Shulin we stopped at a night market to shoot some shots of a BBQ scallop place.

I grabbed a pic of this innovative pot drying technology.

Michella does some stills.

The next day it was off to Kinmen. Here is a shot of the bed and breakfast we stayed in near Jingcheng town and a small port on the southeast corner of the island. A Si He Yuan house from the 19th century, it is different from the Taiwan island San He Yuan style in that the courtyard is surrounded on four sides instead of three. This style produces interiors of startling intimacy.

My room. Lovely inside and out, the place lacked stable Wifi and privacy. Everything said in any of the nearby rooms could be clearly heard. My verdict was: spend a night for the atmosphere, but the rest of your stay should be spent in a modern hotel with plenty of amenities.

Plenty of old furniture and bric-a-brac in the house.

Exterior. The pavements consist of the evocative stonework. If you purchase an old house and want to renovate it back to its old style, the government, wealthy because it owns the kaoliang factory, will subsidize your restoration. However, the inspect it four times a year. The girl at the bed-n-breakfast told us upkeep is expensive.

B-n-B by night.

The tilework is really great on old houses. This one is Qing Dynasty.

In Kinmen the two-story buildings are called Yang lo (lit: foreign/western buildings) and are a sign that the family made $$ overseas. Prior to the war with Japan Kinmen people used to go to SE Asia to make money, since there was little to be had on Kinmen. When they came back wealthy, they put up a home like this.

An unrestored house rots.

Some fantastic alleyways on Kinmen.

More excellent tile work.

Apparently these miniature altars come out during Ghost Month.

One lovely sight: the sun reflecting off ice crystals in the upper atmosphere at dusk.

Michella photos the phenomenon.

Tour groups everywhere.

More tilework.

Our first morning we visited a ceramics factory where they make the bottles for kaoliang. Here's the showroom.


Finished bottles drying.

Cutting handles.

Setting up a shot.

Affixing handles.

Finishing touches.

Bottles drying in the second building we visited.

On the second floor there are workshops where art work is created.

We next visited a place where they grew some medicinal plant and marinated it in kaoliang. I'm sure everything feels more medicinal after dipping in kaoliang....

Looking dubiously at what we are about to receive.

We drove around and collected more atmospheric shots. Here Michella makes friends with dinner.

This house has a clock face painted on the peak.

Pink + ROC.

Our next stop was a set of military tunnels.

The tunnel park contains WWII and 1950s vintage military equipment.

We visited another military park to climb a tower and take some panoramic shots. Here is one of my favorite armored vehicles of a bygone era, the M18 Hellcat tank destroyer (Wiki). A handful were sent to China during WWII and eventually ended up on Kinmen.

We clambered to the top of the tower for our cameraman to get some panoramic shots. I had always imagined Kinmen as pancake-flat, but it turned out to be surprisingly hilly. Off in the right distance is the famed kaoliang factory.

Then we rock-climbed for more panoramas.

Like this one.

...and this one. I didn't get a chance to wet my toes on the beaches of Kinmen. Hope to report on that next time.

The next day we visited Guningtou Military Park, where the ROC repulsed an invasion shortly after the KMT fled to Taiwan.

We visited the museum with all the propaganda paintings.

Then out to the coast where the propaganda loudspeakers barraged authoritarian China from authoritarian Taiwan.

Michella listens as Samsung, our cameraman, works in the background.

We then drove our little electric vehicle around some older homes in the Guningtou area. Michella (and I) wondered why so many houses were black. "It's not an auspicious color," she pointed out.

A modern strongpoint, seemingly archaic, adds a fortress-like touch.

Hectares of old buildings. Many still have shell marks from the artillery duels of the 1950s.

A local takes a break by the lake.

More amazing tile work.

Noodles dried as they should be, outside in the sun.

House? Shrine? Nope. Bus stop. Kinmen bus stops are cool.

Jingcheng town, like so many others, but at least no McDonalds.

Really want to thank Michella and the FTV crew for a great time. Looking forward to the next one!
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Anonymous said...

The the top pic, showing pearls of the bubble-milk-tea stall, are they unique to Kinmen? or new breeds? I did not see them before.

Michael Turton said...

No, they were from the night market in Taipei we shot before we went out to Kinmen.

Andrew said...

How did you get to Kinmen?

Michael Turton said...

flew to Kinmen, Andrew. It's $1600-2000 depending on the airline.

Michael Turton said...

one way that is.