Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Update: Suhua Highway Condition!

Update on 12/28

***Suhua Highway will be opened for cars which weight is under 3.5 tons at 1 pm of Dec 28 to Jan 2 for the new year. It will be closed after Jan 3 till lunar new year. 
*** Wulin Farm is limited to 5000 visitors per day. Visitors who are planing to stay overnight at campsites or hotels need to grant permits from the hotels or the campsites. The overnight visitors are limited to 1800 people per day.
Individual visitors for one day visit are required to take public transportation. The number is 3200 people per day. Visitors can take Kuokuang Bus at Taipei station and Ilan station, Capital Bus at Taipei City Hall Station, and Fengyuan Bus at Lishan Station.  

Update on 12/24
***Suhua Highway is set to open on Dec 31 for the 4 day new year holiday with one lane traffic control .  Although it will be opened, the land and ground are  still saturated with water from the recent intermittent rains and occasionally with falling rocks. Your safety is your responsibility for driving on this highway. 
*** There were landslides or massive falling rocks on Highway 8 close Toroko National Park on 12/24 afternoon. There was no news posted in Taiwan newspapers or TV news. A photo which was posted on FB friend's page and the author didn't authorize me to share it here is scary. As the note in the Toroko National Park website states: Travelers should check the road condition before they travel to the national park because the constant rains cause the landslides and falling rocks.    
*** Snow chain is required when drives to Mt. Hohuan due to the icy road condition. 

     Recent rain (33 days rain) has caused massive landslides on Suhua Highway which is from Suao to Hualien in Taiwan. It is closed for repairing. It is expected to reopen on Jan 13 2013. If you plan to drive or ride through this section, you probably have to change your plan. 
Photo was taken from one of my FB friend'd page.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holiday Season To You All

Wish all our friends a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah!
Recently we adapted this kitten which is now more than 2 months old. I share most of my time with it and ignore my blog. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ershuei-- The Town Of The Beginning Of Jiji Railroad Line

     Staying one night in the Songboling area which has only two B&B nearby, I drove to the town of Ershuei on a local farm road which is also a hiking and a bicycle trail with an extremely challenge grade for bicyclists. 
This is the farm road to Ershuei from Songboling with sharp turns. The difference in elevation is about 282 m (924 feet) within around 3.5 km long. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Visiting A Historical Tunnel and Water Bridge on Nantou Hwy 131

     After a couple hours staying in Checheng, I decided to visit some forgotten historical sites which were built by the Japanese along the highway 131. 
Looking back at the Mingtan Reservoir from hwy 131 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Checheng Village at the End of the Jiji Railroad Line

     This night I escaped from my husband and home and arrived at this small remote village that I had visited more than 30 years ago. This was the first time I traveled alone in my entire life. It was a challenge for being independant and a mind testing for being a brave female traveler. Also I experienced the disadvantages of being a single female traveler in Taiwan.  
     Arriving at this small village after 8pm, there was no one walking on the streets. I was totally not oriented with this village. The image of this village was out of my memory. I tried to drive around this village to get my memory back, but it was difficult for searching the out of date database in my brain.  
     It was not easy to find a safe and reasonable hotel or bed & breakfast place to stay here. I was rejected because I was a single female who asked for a single room. I found there were only 3-4 bed & breakfast in this village. They charged for a standard 2 people room. Even if I was only one person, I still had to pay for a 2 people fee. So what choice would I have?
After visiting the police office and getting some information, I decided to take a walk on the trail along the lake. Sometimes there were some wood cutting and woodworking sounds from somewhere in this village. Other than that, it was a quiet night. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Ten Drum Cultural Village-Tainan Metropolitan Park

     Our schedule for the day would be light and easy especally for my mom who is 70+ years old and still picking tea leaves or doing farm works. Traveling to her was of time and consumed money. She likes working on a farm all day and without complaining but traveling for some distances was unbearable. She complained that she could not walk too long because her knees were not good. Some of my sisters had a tendency to spoil her instead of encouraging her to take a walk as an exercise. The definition of enjoying life is totally different between me and my mother. 
     However, I understand her past and appreciate her working hard to raise 6  children. She grew up in a generation which women were less educated or received no education at all. They were also asked to work hard and sacrifice themselves for glory and to respect their husbands and their husbands' families without any questions. There was not gender equality in her time. Also when they get old, they have to embrace the change of the social norm and the society. The younger generations are not taught to work hard or have to sacrifice themselves to respect their husbands and husband's family. The young generations receive more education. There is more gender equality in the younger generations. So for my mom's generation, they have to learn and adjust their thinking to accept the ways of their daughters in laws' thinking at home. Also they lose their absolute authority as a mother-in-laws for governing their sons and sons' families.
The view of Tainan city in the early morning from our hotel room.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Portion of the Southwest Coast in Tainan City

     While I was vacationing in the States this summer, one of my sisters asked me to plan a two or three-day-trip for her and other sisters in Oct in Taiwan. It was a precious girls' trip for my sisters without their husbands and kids. I had to accept the invitation to take them traveling around Taiwan. In fact my husband and I had become my family's tour planner and driver since we retired and resided in Taiwan. 
     Of course this trip was also included my husband's mother-in-law. My poor husband had to endure 6 women yelki yelki for more than a 2 hours drive. Planning this trip was a little bit of a headache to me because my mother didn't want to visit mountain areas and also I had to avoid places that some of my sisters had been before. So I came up with the idea of visiting Tainan for its famous traditional food which no one would reject it. 
Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields:
This was the first sight when we arrived at our first stop at the Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields in Tainan. This was a small seafood restaurant which emphasized freshness. It is probably opened during Weekend not on weekdays.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 9 Scenic Byway 12 , Utah

      This was the last day of our 9 days trip. Being honest, I missed our sweet home a little bit and also enjoyed this trip a lot. Would it be a way to have a comfortable homey living environment during our trips? Sigh, I understood that I couldn't have both things in my life. I should be happy to have the great trip while others are suffering from unemployment and trying to find a way to survive in Americas bad economic situation.  
We had changed our plan for the day after we found more information from the Torrey Visitor Center the day before. We decided  to drive on the Scenic Byway 12 back to Las Vegas. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 8 Side Trip to Fishlake National Forest, Utah

     Since the scenic drive was closed in Capital Reef National Park, we decided to drive to our hotel in Torrey which was outside of the park. The hotel location was not too far from the park. We asked if we could check-in early. The answer was no because our room was not yet cleaned. So, now the question was what could we do for the entire afternoon? We found there was a tourist information center next to our hotel parking lot. It was time to get information for killing our time in the afternoon. We were introduced to Fish Lake which was not too far from the park, was a popular place for visitors and a beautiful scenic drive.      
This was another RV from Europe. I personally liked the color contrasts . The black color made the vivid yellow stand out more. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 8 Capital Reef National Park

     Our 9 days trip had entered the last two days. I felt a little bite tired but was still enthusiastic in visiting new places. These new places would be pined on my maps once I had finished. It was a sort of travel and life achievement. Our journey for this day was to visit Capital Reef National Park. You might have guessed this. It was not as attractive to me as Arches National Park. I had no idea about this park before we headed on the road. My husband told me it was formed by water erosion geologically. I was totally depended on my husband when we traveled in the States. It was a carefree travel experience and I enjoyed it. 
West of I-70 near Green River
There was still a lot of moisture in the sky. We didn't have any complaint about the weather because we had good weather for the past 6 days. We were lucky even when  it rained on the prior day. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 7-2 Island in the Sky-Canyonlands National Park

     We left Arches National Park at 2:30 pm and drove to the Island in the Sky section of the Canyonlands National Park. The choice of staying more time in the Arches National Park was after asking the Canyonlands park service employee in the Needle District, Which we did.  The travel distance from Arches to Canyonlands was about 42 miles and about a one hour drive away.   
The Island in the Sky District Map 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 7-1 Arches National Park, UT

     Taking sunrise photos became an incentive for me to wake up early during our trip. It was too early at 6 am for the sunrise. However, the breakfast had begun to be served. At this point I was tired of the continental breakfast. I realized I was lucky and appreciated Taiwan style breakfast which offered buffet (salad, eggs, and sausages etc.) and descent coffee.  I just grabbed a few pastries and coffee and headed to our journey of the day. 
A Mormon Church and a Mormon Temple were behind our hotel room in the early morning. The farmland looked like it had just been plowed recently. 

CNN Outlook Taiwan Series

CNN has conducted a series about Taiwan starting on Oct 2 which includes food, culture, and economic.  Click the hyperlink below will direct you to its website. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 6 The Needle in the Canyonlands National Park

     Our trip for the day was straight to the southeast part of Canyonlands National Park which is called Needles. It was less popular than the norther part (the Island in the Sky) of Canyonlands according to my husband research. It was an unknown new park to me. 
Park Introduction:
"The Needles District forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. The district's extensive trail system provides many opportunities for long day hikes and overnight trips. Foot trails and four-wheel-drive roads lead to such features as Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, Elephant Hill, the Joint Trail, and Chesler Park. "
"On US Highway 191, drive 40 miles (60 km) south of Moab or 14 miles (22 km) north of Monticello, then take Utah Highway 211 roughly 35 miles (56 km) west. Highway 211 ends in the Needles, and is the only paved road leading in and out of the district." 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 5 II-Mesa Verde National Park

"Mesa Verde's Largest Cliff Dwelling
This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing five, 8-10ft (2.6-3m) ladders, on a 100ft (30m) vertical climb. Total walking distance is about 1/4-mile (400m), round-trip. The tour begins at Cliff Palace Overlook, an 8-mile (13km), 20-minute drive from the Visitor Center."
It was a quick lunch for both of us. We
arrived at the entrance of the cliff. We
saw a small gate on this stair. These
archaeological sites were well protected
by the park service.    

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 5 I- Mesa Verde National Park, Co

     This was the fifth day that we traveled on the road. I didn't miss home at all. Actually, I was very excited and expected to see more new things and places. Staring from this day to the rest of our trip, we were going to visit national parks. Our journey for the day was to visit Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. 
     According to my husband's research and plan, there was not a lot of things to see in the park. Also, it was not too far away from our hotel. Since we had more time for the day, we would take our time to drive to the park. (My thought: it should have more things to do in the park because it is in the scale of the national parks. Well, we would see and play it by ear.)

Our driving distance

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Super Typhoon Jelawat Watching

     Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau expects to announce sea warning between Wednesday night (26) to Thursday morning(27). Typhoon Jelawa path will be close to Taiwan on the 28th and 29th.  

Below two images were taken from http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/tc_pages/tc_home.html

American Southwest Trip: Day 4 II- Historical Silverto, Co

     After we left Durango, we entered San Joan National Forest on Highway 550 to Silverton. It was a winding but enjoyable road. The highway from Silverton to Ouray is also called the Million Dollar Highway which was also interesting to me. My husband said "no time" to me  when I asked to drive to Ouray.  
Our first rest stop was at the Coal Bank Pass Summit
which elevation is 10,640 feet (3,243 m.) We saw
motorcyclists on the highway. They definitely had 

a lot of fun poseing for their pictures.

American SouthwestTrip: Day 4 I-Historic Durango, Co

     It used to be painful to wake up in the early morning. But my traveling seemed to change my sleeping pattern. I automatically got up at 6 am and waited to see the sunrise. Maybe it was the sign of getting old. Probably my husband was the most happiest man to see the change in me. Ya, I should pat myself on the back and say, "good job or good girl." Also my sore and aching muscles were fine after soaking in the pool and hot tub. Although the breakfast in the hotel couldn't compete with Taiwan buffet style, it was still descent than other hotels in the States.   
Our travel plan was to visit Durango and Silverton in
Colorado. It was about a 51 mile drive to Durango on
a mountain road. We didn't stay in Durango because
of the high hotel rates.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 3 Four Corner and Farmington NW

     The first night I tried to take night sky photos alone in the parking lot. I failed because I was afraid of any human surprise while I was taking photos. Maybe I watched too many horrible movies that depicted some psychics appeared and kidnapped women who were alone. I knew ten minutes exposure was not long enough. I didn't have a great return for the ten minutes shooting. I was very upset. So I discussed with my husband the night before for waking up early to take sunrise photos at Horseshoe Bend. 
     I had no problem to drag my husband to go with me in the early morning. He likes the freshness of the early morning air and weather. He was surprised that I did get up right away without asking ten more minutes in bed. 
Comparing to the prior day, only my husband and
I were there. We enjoyed the tranquil morning.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 2 Horseshoe Bend-Page

Travel Tips: 
  1. I brought along my ipad and signed up for the AT&T data plan. Th cost for 250 MG was US$15 per month. It allowed me to check the map or estimate the arriving time when driving on the road. (Any tablet which has 3 or 4 G can perform this function too.) 
  2. Also I used free GasBuddy app to check and compare gasoline price in different cities that we would drive through or stay for a night. It was handy for saving money on gasoline. Only problem was some update were old in some cities. 
  3. Good paper maps covering the entire trip are necessary.    

     After one night of good rest, my prince became a frog which is always a pain in my butt in the early morning. I was required to wake up early and my ten more minutes rule was not in his dictionary when traveling in the States. I could understand his reasoning that the distance to the next destination requires a lot driving time when traveling in the States with a lot of stops for me.
It wasn't far to drive 149 mi from Flagstaff to Page
directly. But when we planed to visit some scenic
spots along the way, it took us more time to drive to 

our destination. Also I constantly asked my husband 
to stop when his driving speed was up to 65 mil per 
hour for taking pictures. I knew I suddenly became his 
pain in his butt. I appreciated what he had done for me.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day1 Flagstaff Area Arizona

     The hot and humid weather in Taiwan has driven some people who are use to a dry summer weather to fly out of Taiwan. My husband and I are two of those people. Each summer we come back to Las Vegas and travel in the States. 
     After all medical issues were solved. We just wanted to escape our Las Vegas life. Our original idea was to drive up to the northwest coast to Canada to see the massive and colorful fall foliage. The massive and vivid leaves are not commonlyseen in the subtropical environment of Taiwan.
     Sometimes, things do not always go as planed. We didn't have enough time to go up to the coast as one of my husband's friend might visit him in Las Vegas. So, my final notice to my husband was that I wanted to visit Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and the Arch National Park. Well, he did all the research and came out with this 9-day-trip plan.
My husband used Google Earth to do our trip planing.
He calculated 9 days to finish this circle tour crossing
4 states. It sounded very good to me. My job was to
find and book a reasonable rental car and hotels.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Songboling- Unpopular Place with Fulfilled of Agricultural Spirits

     Songboling does not sounds like a famous or familiar place, right?   Most foreign tourists don't know this place, even people who live in Taiwan have never heard about it either. Only people who are tea lovers or Taoism know this place. It is located on the south end of Bagua Mountain Range Plateau with an elevation of 430 meter.
      It was an early settlement for Han immigrants from Mainland China during the Qing Dynasty around 1657. In the early time, these settlers endured a tough life style and dealt with diseases
and illness. They found their consolidation from religion aspects. 
They built the temple which hosted the same deity as their hometown and wished blessings from their deity. Over time it became one of the most important Taoist temples in Taiwan. Starting from the Lunar New Year to Lunar March, it is packed with its pagans and religious ceremonies. 
The Shotien Temple has been rebuilt due to an arson fire after
the 921 earthquake. It mainly hosts Xuan Tien Shandi.
Photo was taken by Jeff Ou who is the local resident. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Enough Typhoon Tambin Report!

The railroad system in the south is effected by the typhoon. Some schedules have been changed. The entire island is under the thread of typhoon Tembin, especial in the southern part of Taiwan.  The Alishan Scenic Area is closed.
Info: TCWB official website  http://www.cwb.gov.tw

Info: TCWB official website  http://www.cwb.gov.tw

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Ghost-Like Typhoon Tembin

     As the tropical Storm Tembin regained its strength  and became a typhoon again, Taiwan Central Weather Bureau announced the sea warning at 11:30 AM on Aug 26 again. The weather bureau would probably issue the land warning again. Tembin is most likely to make landfall in Pintung County and then go north along the east coast which would effect the entire island. The south crossing island railroad has been shut down since its first landfall and still is under repair. Also many areas are still without a power supply, phone and internet services. So be precaution when traveling to Pintung County and Taitung County. 
TCWB predicted Tembin's Path 
The regaining strength of Tembin at 9 AM, Aug. 26
Via 鄭明典's Photos  
The precised typhoon path prediction has became a
competition among international weather bureaus like
CNN, Japan, Hong kong, the United States, and the 

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, 
and Taiwan. It was interesting to study their predictions.
Photo Source:陳旭昇  
Fujiwhara Effect: Most weather experts worried about Typhoon Tembin and Bolaven would create the effect which was discovered by the Japanese Dr. Fujiwhara during 1921 to 1923. These two typhoons have influenced each other which would bring more damages to Taiwan and Okinawa which Typhoon Bolaven is heading towards. 
Picture Source: 氣象達人彭啟明

     In meteorology, 'Fujiwhara effect' applies to the interaction of two tropical
     cyclones. In general, two tropical cyclones may start to affect each other when
     the distance between them is around 12 latitude degrees (about 1350
     kilometers). When this occurs, The tropical cyclones will rotate around one
     another in a counter-clockwise direction (in Northern Hemisphere) about their
     geometric centre. The centre needs not be the middle of the axis. The stronger
     cyclone tends to have a dominant effect on the track of the weaker one. The
     interaction will end when: there is a stronger influence of a large scale weather
     system from outside, one of the tropical cyclones weakens or the two
     cyclones merge. Research by the Observatory shows that if the distance
     between the two tropical cyclones is 1200 kilometers or more, the chance of
     merging is slim.

The interaction of two tropical cyclones
Above information is from : http://www.hko.gov.hk/education/edu01met/wxphe/ele_fujiwhara_e.htm

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Aftermath of Typhoon Tembin

     Typhoon Tembin was no predicted to make landfall in Pintung County. Its damage to Taiwan was smaller than the expectation. It caused major power and flood problems in Pintung County (Kenting) and in Taitung County. Also agricultural product prices are being driven up because of crop losses.   
     But, it also caused some political disputes over the county governor's and city mayors decisions of announcing a day-off  during the typhoon period in the media and the public. Only the governor of Tainan made the right decision for not issuing a day-off when the typhoon hit Taiwan because Tainan was not in danger. 
     The strength of Tembin has weaken, but many weather experts predict it would make a circle and pass by the east parts of Taiwan to north. It could cause some problems in Taiwan again. We will have to wait and see, so be cautious.
Source: Taiwan Central Weather Bureau
Damages in Pintung County: 

Above Picture Source: http://news.msn.com.tw/news2795099.aspx
Picture Source: CTS

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Typhoon Tembin

8/24 Update:
Pingtung Peninsular has already accumulated more than 350 mm (138 inch) of rain within 3.5 hours. Some places are flooded. So be cautious when you are in the south of Taiwan. (The news was from my FB friends.)
Taiwan Railroad is cancelled its partial service toady. The government offices, including schools which are in the south of Taichung except Tainan City are closed. 


8/23 Typhoon Tembin is moving slower than expected.   Its route is also changed. Typhoon Bolaven is behind Tembin which may effect on the northeast.  

This info was issued by TCWB at 8:30 AM, Aug. 23

The sea and land warning area by TCWB 

This prediction just came in from my FB friend who
is an expert about weather. According to this prediction
which was issued this morning, Typhoon Tembin would
effect in Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pintung areas for more
than 108 hours.
Picture Source : https://www.facebook.com/StevenChen66
If Typhoon Tembin goes as  the European Centre for
Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF, the Centre)
prediction (on 8/22 15:00 PM), it would be a big disaster 

for Taiwan.
 Picture Source : https://www.facebook.com/StevenChen66

Monday, August 20, 2012

What Is Going On With The Weather Pattern In The Pacific?

This photo was posted by the director of Weather Forecast Center of TCWB. It is not a good sign to see this pattern near by Taiwan. I just hope it will bypass Taiwan. 
Picture Source: 鄭明典's FB Page on Aug 19
     Typhoon Tembin Prediction by TCWB: 
TCWB doesn't issue any warning on Typhoon Tembin 
yet. It is under observation by TCWB.  

Typhoon Tembin is now Category 4. Picture Source: 陳旭昇's FB Page on Aug 20. https://www.facebook.com/StevenChen66

Picture Source: 鄭明典's FB Page on Aug 20.
Another typhoon Bolaven is formed. It is busy in the sky's of the Pacific Ocean.