Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day II-- The North-East Coast

     After one good night of rest, we were ready for our 13-day trip around Taiwan. But, according to the weather broadcast, there was a torrential rain warning in the north part of Taiwan. Also, the unusual rain pattern had caused some damaged on the roads and some scenic spots which we were to visit. 
     Our driver called me two days prior to the trip started and gave me a suggestion which was to change our itinerary. He asked me if we could start from the west coast instead of the east coast due to the weather situation. It sounded to be a good idea but it also meant that we had to compromise our hotel reservation, a none refundable cancellation. If the government closed down any transportation methods, it would be another story. Hence, I was not comfortable with the weather situation and also worried about our driver situation. At that point, the only thing I could do was to keep my fingers cross for our trip.  
This was the bus, a 9 passenger mini bus including the driver, that we hired. 
Everyone would have a comfortable seat and roomy luggage space.   
The front view of our mini bus.  
     Our driver was not familiar with Taipei city and was lost in Taipei city for at least one hour and the miscommunication caused a delay in our schedule. We  stopped by Tamshi Fisher's Wharf for a short break. 
     Tamshi is sits on the end of Tamshi river. It was an very important port for the world trade route between the South Asia and Japan in the 17th century. It was occupied by Spain, who first built Fort Santo Domingo, then it was taken over by the Dutch. After the second Opium War in 1868, British set up a trade consulate in Tamshi. So, Tamshi has a long history accompany Taiwan history in the beginning. Therefore, it is one of the most popular tour places in Taipei with many cultural traces, its beautiful sunset, and food.   
The bridge cross Tamshi River at Tamshi Fisher's Wharf
It is a good place to see the river entering the ocean during the sunset.  You will see people who are in love holding hands on the bridge waiting for the beautiful sunset. I think it is romantic for everyone who has a peaceful mind.   
It is a cruise ship shaped hotel.
The weather was bad and the rain was on and off.  The sidewalk was wet and one of our friends fell to the ground. I just hoped he would be fine for the entire trip due to the accident.  

Wedding Photo Plaza near Shimen
It was set up for people to take their wedding pictures. We stopped by here because one of our friends had a mission to to take some pictures for his friends who had been station in the US Military at the near by radar site at Shimen. 30 to 40 years ago.  
I admit it would be a beautiful place for wedding photos on a clear day.
                                    Yehliu Geopark
     It is a must visit place for any travelers who visits the northern part of Taiwan or planning to drive on the north coast. It is formed by the orogeny and the erosion of the ocean wave and the trade winds in the winter for thousands of years. More info, please visit its official website: 
     By the time we arrived at Yehliu it was about lunch time and it was raining. We decided to have our lunch first. We just wished it won't rain after lunch. So we could enjoy the scenic area without the rain. It is not a good idea to come to Yehliu when the weather is bad because it will increase the danger of falling down by walking on the wet ground. 

Legend  VS Imagination 
      Long ago, there was a turtle monster that came to the Yehliu area to disturb the locals and steal their crops and animals. The locals were in fears and asked for the Jade Emperor's protection. So, the Jade Emperor dispatched a fairy to help the locals. She came to the earth by riding an elephant with her sword.
     She fought with the turtle for a while and stabbed her sword into the turtle. The turtle then lost its power and couldn't do any bad things to the locals.       

The picture was taken by our friend Ted & Anne  
The picture was taken by our friend Ted & Anne
It was another experience for walking in the rain for sightseeing.   

                Below pictures were taken on a sunny day in 2008. 


Marine Bird Rock
     There was a Dutch ship sinking and a bird was on the ship and cried for help. After all sailors died, the bird remained on the rock and waited for the people to rescue the sailors. The skin rock looks like a bird skeleton lifting its head up.  
The fairy left her slipper here. 
Elephant Rock:
The fairy forgot to ride her elephant back to the heaven. 
Queen Elizabeth Head

     The web site said Queen Elizabeth's Head, but I believe it is wrong and it should be the Egyptian Queen Affinities
     This is the most famous rock. Due to the weathering situation, its neck is gradually diminishing. The park predicts the head will fall in the near future. So the park duplicated this rock and put it at a small park near by the entrance. 
                                           After the sea erosion, it formed a small poor.
     I heard children would dive into this small pool for picking up coins when some tourists threw coins into the pool just for fun in 60-80 era's.    

     It rained like cats and dogs after we left Yehliu. Our next destination was the Zhongzheng Park on the hill of Keelung city. It is famous for the bird eye view of Keelung Harbor, which is the second largest harbor in Taiwan. Well, because of the rain, we couldn't see the harbor very well. Below photos were taken in 2008.  

Guanyin is an obvious object that you see as soon as you get off the bus.
Keelung Harbor 

     The rain just followed us everywhere. We had cancelled the trip to Jiufen, the most famous tourist town in the northeast coast because the ground would be wet and slippery. It was not good for our safety. So, we decided to visit the King Car Whiskey Plant, the first whiskey plant in Taiwan in Yilan County. We drove through the Xueshan Tunnel (12.942 km or 8.042 miles, the longest tunnel in Taiwan and the fifth longest tunnel in the world.  
     Elan County is famous for its plain which is called the Lanyoung plain. It was created by the deposition of sediment by the Lanyoung river and other small rivers for a long period time. It, therefore, cultivated a very rich soil for the agricultural harvests. One of its famous agricultural products is green onions. The residents use the fresh green onions to make the green onion pancakes, which is delicious and is a well-known dessert.  
     Also because of the surrounding mountains and its special geography location, it is well-known for its hot springs and cold springs. Its water quality is good for making the wine or liquor. Therefore, King Car company chose Elan to be its plant location. 
Whiskey barrel in the tasting area.
     After we toured around the product lines through the clear windows, we were led to the tasting area to had several sips of different kinds of whiskey. Next to the area, there is a gift shop for people to buy souvenirs. There is also a small coffee shop on the second floor for people who don't drink liquor.  
The Gate to the Tasting Area 
Product Line
                              Saint Mary's Hospital Luodong
     Rain was heavier in the evening than the daytime. It bothered me a lot due to the next day schedule. I discussed our schedule with our driver and worried about the Suhua Highway condition which might be closed due to the landslide situations. Meanwhile, our friend's right knee was swollen. I convinced him to see a doctor since he was insured during the trip. So after supper, we went to the emergency room of Saint Mary's Hospital in Luodong. 
     The hospital was established by the brothers and nuns in 1952. They settled down in the small and isolated village and helped the local poor residents for free. At that time, the medical quality in Taiwan was extremely poor and people couldn't afford to receive proper medical treatments. The hospital offered free service to the poor and it spread out to the neighbor villages. Miners, farmers, and loggers were its main clients from the northeast region. People called it " Adoi Binyin."    
     I do really appreciate all sisters, brothers, and pastors who offered and served the people in Taiwan all their life time. Because of their contributions in the medical fields, Taiwan medical qualities have improved a lot. We benefit from their sacrifices. and thank them for their contribution.  
The Wall of the X-ray Room
     It was the the first time I visited this hospital. (Well, no one likes to visit or shop in a hospital.) I was amazed by the decoration of the walls. It made me feel that I was not in a hospital. It is warm and filled with life instead of the feelings of cold and death.  

Receptional Area 
     After a few minutes waiting, my friend was diagnosed as having a bone fracture on his right knee. The doctor put a splint on his right leg and told him that he should rest for two weeks. Well, that shut off the idea for his travel plan. But we were here talking about an American which meant he was going to keep his journey going. So now, the uncertainty of his situation was solved. We just had to prayer for our journey on the next day. 
    That night we stayed at the Dongshan Villa in Taiwan Traditional Art Center.    

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