Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day III--Train Ride from Yilan to Hualien

      Last night, the rain continued. If I didn't have a mission the next day, I might feel it was romantic listening to the sound of the rain falling on the bamboo trees and into the puddles. Today, my main job was to insure that everyone load their suitcases into the bus and find taxi's to transport us to the Luodong Train Station in order to catch the train at 13:26 pm to Sinchen, Hualien on time .  
      Our driver showed up at the villas on time. After we loaded our luggages on the bus, I wished him good luck for driving down the Suhua Highway safely.  Our schedule was free for us to walk around the park this morning. 
The Park Map From Its Official Website 
     The center has 24 hectare lands of traditional Taiwanese architect, Art training, learning center, and visitor area etc.      
A bunches of students standing in the rain to see a dragon dance in front of the Traditional Theater.
The most enjoyment for those kids were buying traditional toys and snacks or DIY (do it yourself) their own souvenirs. In fact, it was not just for kids but also for adult to shop around the Traditional Handicraft Artists Studios of 33 stores along 
the street which hosted the imitated architects of the early 20th century of Taiwan on both sides of the street. It is a great place for travelers to pick up souvenirs for families and friends . 
Definitely Taiwanese which is the name of this compound, offers traditional Taiwanese food, desserts, and snacks. 
There is a famous restaurant located on the second floor. It offers gourmet traditional Taiwanese  food. Personally, I liked the food it served.
PS. Above 3 pictures are contributed by our friends Ann and Ted.  
     The rain seemed to lessen and our driver called and told me that he arrived in Hualien safe and sound while we were walking around in the park. He also told me that the weather was better in Hualien than Yilan. I was half relieved. There was one thing left that I had to worry about for the rest of the day it was to catch the train on time.  
      The art center is about 10-15 minutes driving distance to the Loudong train station. We had 3 taxes to pick us up at the center. Due to the constant landslides and the damaged to the road, the government restricted and allowed traffic flow to pass at the control points at certain times. Also the government requested Chinese tourists who are hosted by any travel agents should take trains between Hualien and Yilan. Therefore, I purchased the train tickets the first day they were available for sale to insure we all had seats.   
Our Brave Friend's Leg: He insisted on continuing this journey.   
Using the Lift at the Sinchen Train Station
    Two of our friends had trouble to walk through the underground walkway, so I asked the service lady for help. She let us use the lift on the platform.  When we took the lift, everyone laughed hard because we had never seen this kind of lift for handicap people and had never taken one. Everyone was surprised for what we had experienced so far on this trip.     
     Most individual travelers who want to visit Taroko National Park will get off at this train station. But we didn't plan to visit the national park that day. We would take our bus to see the famous cliffs, called Qingshui Duan Ya. 
We stopped at the Chongde rest stop, 176.4 KM on the Suhua Highway or Hwy 9. There is a 320 meter long trail. You can access to the pebble beach below, listen to the sound of the wave from the Pacific Ocean, and look up toward the Qingshui Cliffs.   
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The is the famous Qingshui Cliffs. It is within the Taroko National Park boundary. I have over heard a story that when the Japanese occupied Taiwan, the Japanese government had naval ships shooting their big guns into the cliffs along the coast making construction much easier for the workers in making the basic Suhua Highway.  
The history of constructing the Suhua Highway (Hwy 9) was starting  in 1874 through the Japanese era; however, cars were allowed to drive on the highway in 1932. It was only one way traffic. Over years, the weathering condition caused the falling rocks, hitting many vehicles and people were injured. So, the Taiwan government constructed tunnels through this section. It is no longer exciting or as extremely dangerous as before. But it is still dangerous now.
PS. After our visited, the heavy rainfall caused muds and rocks slides blocking the entrance of this tunnel.   
This one was taken in April from Huide Tunnel, north of  Chongde Tunnel. You almost couldn't see the evidence of the road.
Jian Chinxiu Temple 
     During 1895-1945, the Japanese government colonized Taiwan encouraging its people to move to Taiwan especial on the east coast because of the similarity of the geography conditions and the shortages of foods in Japan. The Japanese government set up some  Japanese style villages in Hualien and Taitung counties. The town of Jian, Hualien was one of them.  This temple was built in 1917 for comforting the immigrant Japanese. 
The Entrance of The Temple

Entering the Japanese temple, you can see the standard set up for people to wash their hands before  their worshiped the gods. 

This is the major architectural form of the traditional Edo style.  
There are a total of 88 Buddha stone statues in this temple. According to the ritual custom in Shikoku, Japan, its pilgrims who lived in Hualien went back and visited the 88 temples in Shikoku for a ritual custom. At the same times, they brought back one statue from each of the 88 temples.  It was not only a believe but also a comfort think of their homeland. 
After 1945, Japanese left Taiwan. Its pilgrims worried about the new government or new comers who were from China would destroyed its possessions. So, they buried the statures. Now, you can see some restored and old statues with some in need of paint and new statues. 
The Display of the Statues

This is the Japanese style gutter. It fits into the entire atmosphere of the temple. 
You can see the idea of Zen Buddhism everywhere from its decoration in the temple.  
One of its landscape

The temple is closed at 5 PM

The TV program made a special report on the Japanese Immigrant Village remaining in Taiwan. I learned about the temple from this television program. 

MIT台灣誌 吉安日本移民村5 1v

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