Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Smangus, an aboriginal Village, preserves the natural environment and its unique cultural heritage.

Smangus, 司馬庫斯
     This documentary film is directed by Dean Johnson, and Frank Smith for Taiwan PTS (Public Television Station) is about Taiwan's most remote mountain village which took 15 months to produce.  It will be broadcasted at 10 pm on June 30, Taiwan time.

"High in the mountains of Taiwan, is the village of Smangus, 
inhabited by a group of Indigenous people. This film takes 
the audience into the mountains of Taiwan to witness the 
passing of a year amongst the Tayal.
20 years ago, the tribe was amongst the poorest on the
 island, many were forced to seek low paid labor in
the cities, but the chief, Icyeh Sulung had a vision of
great trees that would ensure the tribe’s survival.
The tribe found a forest of Cypress trees that were
to change their future.
The rare Chamaecyparis formosensis Matsum forest were estimated to be more than 2000 years old, and the interest from tourists turned
Smangus into a thriving eco-tourism center. The sudden
wealth and pressures from outside played havoc with the
tribe’s unity, and the tribe made a fateful decision to
ensure their future – everything was to be shared.
 Smangus is the only place in Taiwan that now practices
common ownership of land and property.
Now, PTS tells the story of Smangus. As spring comes to 
the mountains, the chief is diagnosed with cancer, whilst 
a small group from the tribe rejects the communal system 
and tries to build a competing tourism business. By summer, 
a baby girl is born to the tribe, and by the time of the 
harvest,a wedding takes place. By winter, we have
experienced every part of the lives of these people, and
the bonds formed with the forest around them." 

Above information is from its Office website http://www.pts.org.tw/smangus/eng/Storyen.html

     Smangus now becomes a popular tourist spot for the outdoor lovers in Taiwan not because of this documentary. After the road was built in 1995, outsiders can assess this beautiful area easily and witness the giant secret tree forest which was discovered in 1991. Since, the word has gotten out. I have planed to visit this indigenous village for 2 years but still in a planning mode.  If you somehow happen to be in Taiwan for a leisure trip, it will be a good place for you to visit the primative  forest and the indigenous village. 
     Here is its tourist service center website in Chinese Smangus Tourist Service Center You can find the direction, hotel, and other service on the website.   

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Highly Recommended Taiwan Movie 《賽德克‧巴萊》- Seediq Bale - Theatrical Trailer - English Subtitled

This movie is directed by Wei Tesheng, a Taiwanese director, and all filmed in Taiwan with his international film crews. The story is based upon a true story which was took place in Wushe Township in the central Taiwan between the Seediq tribe of  Taiwan Aborigines and the Japanese. 

Please visit the Official Website for more details. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Best Impression of Taiwan --Friendly and Kind Hearted People台灣人的善良和友好,是旅客最佳的印象

I have been thinking about writing this article of the friendly and good hearted Taiwan people for a long time. Taiwan is famous for its foods, technology products, and natural resources; however without Taiwan's people they won't be so well known among all international travelers. According to Taiwan Tourism Bureau's surveys about tourists' impressions on Taiwan, foods and friendly people were above the other selections.  We have met a lot of friendly people during our traveling in Taiwan. Sometimes, we asked people to give us directions and we were amazed by their actions. They took us to the places, out of their ways with their smiling faces. We were so touched by their passions and good hearts.   
根據台灣觀光局對外國遊客的問卷調查中, 台灣的食物和人情是令這些旅客回味最深的. 如果没有善良和好客的人情點綴, 台灣的美食就不會有那麼大的好評.因為有心才會有好的料理. 
This route is our favorite and the most beautiful highway in Taiwan.     
Dayulin--the dividing place of Highway 8 and 14.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Hohuan Mountain Range on Highway 14 --台14甲線上的合歡山群峰

 Highway 14 which is connected to Highway 8 is the most beautiful scenic drive in Taiwan. It is also the highest highway in Taiwan. It changes its scenery every season. In Spring, planets start turning to green from yellowish and snow covers many of the mountain top. In May, rhododendron flowers covers most portion of the mountains. In Summer, the green-grass-like bamboo are all over the mountains. In Fall, the mountains prepare to embrace the winter with yellowish decoration. In Winter, the snow falls and the mountains dress in white. Sunrise, sunset, and the sea of clouds have been present since the beginning of the time.  
台14甲線自霧社到大禹嶺後,連接上台8線大禹嶺到天祥,太魯閣段, 是台灣最美和最高的公路.而在台14線的合歡群峰,隨著四季而變化;在春天,大地自黃色轉換成綠色而山頭有靄白雪點綴;5月份中旬,由玉山杜鵑登場;秋天,植被由綠變黃,準備擁抱冬天的來訪;冬天, 白雪為山群穿上了白衣裳;雲海,日落和日出自始以來長伴著山群.永不離棄.  

                                          Below pictures were taken at different time. 
There were not a lot of cars on the road. We found only this place still in business. It was time for us to taking a rest after a long driving. See what we were going to find here. 
沿路來, 路上的車子並不多, 我們好不容易看到這個休息站還有在營業,停下來看看有什麼好料來填飽我們的五臟廟, 尤其在這麼冷的天氣.
 Food stands offered hot food and snow chain service to travelers who are going to play in the snow on a cozy day at Kunyang Rest Stop, elevated 3070 meter high. Having snow chains to drive on the road is mandatory when it snows. So it sometimes brings a good business to the locals maybe once a year if it snows. There is a gate next to the highway if heavy snow falls, the gate will be closed and the road closed. Therefore, commuting east and west in Taiwan in the winter one must travel either north or south to get to the other side.
昆陽休息站是在海拔3070公尺,只要是一下雪,要上山賞雪,雪鏈是必要.所以當地的居民,一年當中只有下雪才能賺到賣雪鏈的錢.在這裏也設大門, 一但雪量太多, 整個公路即會被封鎖, 而使往來東西部的交通, 只能由南或北進.
 It offered hot Ginger tea, BBQ pork and sausage, and corn. These foods are very popular among
food stands in Taiwan. It is very nice to have a cup of hot tea and a Taiwan sausage on a chilly day.
通常,在山上的小吃攤不外乎就是這些小吃, 在這麼冷的天氣裏, 來一碗熱呼呼的湯是一種享受.
The stand owners lived behind their food stands. Their temporary house was built with very simple plastic surrounding as the walls and metal roofs which were good enough to stop the wind. They lived in their simple house without heater and only small lights at night. They were shy when I took the picture of their bedroom. They told us (my husband and I) that they only make living in this life style once a year when it snows in the mountain. They appreciated God gave them the chance to make living.  
為了在山上做生意, 他們用塑膠布圍成一個足夠遮風避雨的地方,讓他們暫稱為家的地方.
            One of my best friends standing in front of Taroko National Park sign at Kunyang Rest Stop.
Looking at Hohuan East Ridge (3421 meter high) from Kunyang 
從昆陽暸望合歡東峰主峰高 3421公尺:5月中旬有美麗的玉山杜鵑
This highway is almost at its highest point. It is the highest point on a highway in Taiwan.
 Do you know where is the lowest highway in Taiwan?
                                          台灣最高的公路, 那你知道最低的公路在那嗎?
Wuling, 3275 meter height  
After Wuling the road is mostly down hills to Taroko except for 3 point with small up hill sections. After Wuling it is the bikers' heaven to Taroko. They can just coast down the highway and appreciate the beautiful scenery.  They have to use their brakes all the time, otherwise their speed picks up very quickly.
                                  自武嶺之後, 大部分為下坡(由西到東), 是鐵馬勇士的最愛.

©2011 Google - Map Data - Terms of Use
 Hohuan Main Peak, 3417 meter high is not the highest peak among Hohuan Moutain Range. It used to be a military installation. Now it opens to hikers. It is the best place to see or take sunset pictures.
從武嶺眺望合歡主峰,高3417公尺;它曾經是軍事用地,裁撤之後, 原預定開設餐廳,讓民眾開車上主峯賞景用餐,後因大眾反對而做罷.而已舖設的道路成為主要上主峰的路, 讓山友省去了一大段的路,使登合歡主峰更加容易. 而此地點也成為最佳欣賞夕陽西下的地方.
There were a lot of people in Wuling parking lot playing with snow on a beautiful sunny day. 
                                  難得的四月雪加上天氣放晴, 大伙趕上山來賞雪和玩雪.
        Looking back along the highway, you can see the side road off the main highway to the main peak. The yellowish vegetation is not grass. It is called High Mountain Bamboo (Yushania Niitakayamensis (Hayata) Keng f.,) grown at the elevation of 1,000--3,900 meter.
自武嶺往回看來時路, 看到的是枯黃的玉山箭竹,生長在海拔1000--3900公尺之間.如果你到訪是在春夏,你看到的是綠意盎然的玉山箭竹. 看到分叉的小徑是往主峰的步道.
                                                           The highway covered with Snow
  From Wuling look down towards Hohuan Hostel and the military installation, it used to be the place for the army to train its personnel living in a snow environment. 
從武嶺欣賞合歡山莊及陸軍野訓基地的景緻, 陽光和煦烙印在白雪之上.
Hohuan Hostel provided food and lodging facilities for hikers for many decades. Now it becomes B.O.T Personnel Housing. The new rebuilt B.O.T lodging is called Song Syue Lodge.  Hohuan Jian Shan is the mountain behind the old Hohuan Hostel.  This picture was taken in winter without snow. 
合歡山莊曾提供便宜的住宿和餐飲給往來的過客和山友們, 如今成為公辦民營公司員工的住宿房舍. 那裏蘊藏多人的回憶.包含我和老公的記憶.如今,我們無緣再踏入那曾是多人記憶的地方. 
Snow View of Hohuan Hostel and Hohuan Jian Shan in the background
The road going to the east from Hohuan Hostel. Most people from the west stop here and then turn around going back to the west. Therefore there are only a few vehicles on the road to the east.  
台14甲線由西向東,自此以後車子稀少, 大部分的遊客只到合歡山莊即折返回西部.雖然蜿蜒曲折,但在少車的狀況下,我們可以邊開車邊賞景,很愜意.
                                The highway with snow offers different view and atmosphere.
Song Syue Lodge under construction--The trail to Hohuan East Peak is behind the lodge. The building to the left is the Ski Lodge where you start your hiking to Chilai Shan 
The lodge is opened to the public and operated under B.O.T contract with the Forest Bureau. The price is much more than the old Hohuan Lodge. It is no longer for the hikers to enjoy nature in a economic way.
民營下的松雪樓價格不再似從前的合歡山莊那麼親民. 而離主要幹道有些距離; 但對山友而言,那却不是一個問題.
The front view of Song Syue Lodge

The old and broken down snow lift which was operated before 1970.
The more far away Ski Lodge is economic for backpackers, NT$ 900 per person. You won't have any privacy. Everyone shares the big room. I am not sure if it separates man and woman. You can drive your car or walk there. 
                                                           The Sea of Clouds
Kenanguan is located on 34 K road mark. It was a tunnel built by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation in Taiwan for the purposes of commuting west and east and also for controlling the aborigines. After Japan left, the premiere Jiang Jingguo (the son of Jiang Kaishek) had workers blowed up the tunnel for extending the road for economic reason. Since it was blown up, it has been known as Kenanguan. It is famous for being dangerous due to extremely strong wind during the trade wind season in the winter. It was a glacial terrain millions of years ago.
克難關在日治時期為合歡越嶺古道的隧道,蔣經國為興建中橫霧社支線而將隧道炸開.在東北季風季風,這成為風口.因它的險峻而命名為克難關. 從這看到的是合歡東峯,合歡尖山及合歡溪谷.