Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 12: Touliao and Cihu Mausoleum, Good Bye Sunshine

     This was our last day for traveling around Taiwan and we were going to head back to Taipei city today. Also we had to say goodbye to the sunny weather which we would miss when we were in Taipei. Our schedule was to visit Touliao and Cihu Mausoleums which hosted Chiang, Kaishek and his son Chiang, Chingkuo's bodies. 
     Who were they? They were Taiwan's presidents. In 1949, Chiang, Kaishek and his troops retreated to Taiwan after losing his war to the communist in China. After he came to Taiwan, he announced martial laws and started his dictatorship. He prosecuted a lot of innocent  Taiwanese elites and took their lives away. Until the day he died, he always though about taking back China from the communist. Taiwan was just a temporary place for him and his people to stay. He died in 1975. His body was placed in Cihu for people to pay their respect.  
     His son, Chiang, Chingkuo, continued his policies; however, Chiang Chingkuo realized that going back to China was impossible due to the China geting stronger, losing the support from the United States government, and the poor relationships with other countries in his life time. He started his Great Ten Projects which was to construct Taiwan infrastructures during the worldwide economic crisis in the 1970's. Because of the correct policies in the 70's, Taiwan economics improved extremely and transformed Taiwan into a industrial country from an agricultural country. He also constructed the most difficult and beautiful highway through the Taroko National Park. 
     Facing the stronger democracy request from people all around the island, Chiang, Chingkuo understood the changing of the political environment in his later years. He announced that his sons wouldn't take over his throne and also lifted the 38 years long martial laws in 1987. He started appointing Taiwanese for the high level and important government jobs. For example, he appointed Lee Tenghui, a Taiwanese, as his vice president. In 1988, he died and Lee Tenghui became the Taiwan president. Taiwanese elected their first president in 1996 and Taiwan became a real democracy country. 
We took leisure day traveling from Taichung to Taoyuan county. Our first stop was Touliao Mausoleum which hosted Chiang, Chingkuo's body.  It displayed the story of the Black Cat Squadron which flew U2 spy aircrafts over Chinese territory and took pictures from 1961 to 1974 under the support of the United  States' government. (No picture for the display.)
Taken by Ann
The guard was a real person who had to stand at the entrance of the mausoleum for 1 hour. He couldn't move even when there was a mosquito on his body. Therefore, the unite had another person stand by him to drive away mosquitoes or wipe off his sweat because of the heat, etc.  A lot of tourists didn't believe he was  a real person, especial tourists from China. They tried to poke or touch them or using many ways to make them move or laugh. Their behavior was stopped by the person who stood by the guard.   

Taken by Ann
Every hour, the guards would change their shift with their standard procedure. It was sort of a performance to me. It was worthy to see the guards became alive again and it also proved they were real people.  It was raining. They were limited to perform in a small area.    
Taken by Ann
This place used to be one of Chiang Kaishek's 27 houses. Most of his houses around Taiwan were very simple but the views were excellent with the best of Fengshui being condisdered..  
Taken by Ann
This was Chiang Chingkuo's coffin. No one knew if  his body was real inside there. There were some controversial theories about him being buried. Bury or not to bury was a question and their decedents seemed not to have the power over this issue. It became a political issue in Taiwan society.      
Taken by Ted
The character of longevity was placed at the corridor of the mausoleum. It was ironic.   
Lunch at the restaurant 
     It was about lunch time after our visit at the Touliao Mausoleum. We headed to a restaurant to enjoy a moment of relaxing and also gourmet Taiwanese food. Because of  the rain, we couldn't sit in the outdoor area.
Our Lunch location
After the meal, we were taken to this place for coffee or tea and desert which were included in the meal.  We all had a good conversation and enjoyed the early tea time.  
The parking lot of the Cihu Mausoleum  
Cihu Map
There was a museum which displayed Chiang Kaishek life. It took about 15 minutes walk from the museum to Chiang Kaishek Mausoleum. Also there was a secret military site which was built in 1962 due to China's first successful nuclear test. Only the government and military personnel could visit this place which was located at the back side of Cihu. It was opened to the public in recent year; however, the county government set a limit for people to visit this place. People can apply by  visit through its website or go to Cihu service center to sign up the tour but it only takes 50 people at one time.  The hilly trail is about 3.85km, 2.5-3.5 hours walk.  Its scenery was well preserved. 
Next to the parking lot was a sculptural park which collected  Chiang Kaishek's statues from the entire island. It was the symbol of all dictatorships which massively produced their figurative statures and let its people to worship them like worship gods. But once their regimes were overthrown, their statures were also torn down and destroyed. Chiang, Kaishek's statures encountered the same fate. Most of his statures were gradually torn down from the public areas and were left in corners. In 2000, the Kaohsiung county donated the first statue to the park which was established in 1996 by the Daxi Township. Other branches of governments started donating their statues to the park.  Now it has more than 152 statues in the parks. 
This giant statue was cut to 117 pieces and some pieces had already been melted down for recycle. Some people rescued the rest and donated them to this park. I though it was the most significant statue for demonstrating its fate in this park. It was originally displayed in Kaohsiung City Cultural Center.   
These figurative sculptures has many different poses and gestures.   
Again mountains and rivers or lakes were the most important elements for Chiang, Kaishek in choosing his house locations.  

     After visiting this place, we headed back to Taipei and stayed at the same hotel. We would freshen up and were ready for Mongolia B.B.Q. at the Genghis Khan BBQ restaurant which opened in 1971 when the American military was stationed in Taiwan.  

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