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. 
There are a lot of bicyclists and hikers in the morning and afternoon. Moderate traffic is during the weekends and holidays. 
The map of the Songboling recreational area
There is a parking lot at the end (bottom) of the winding road for hikers to park their vehicles. This is the entrance of the temple hiking tail to Shoutian Temple from the parking lot. 
This is a warning sign to ask visitors to not feed monkeys or leaving their children alone. 
This is a well maintained trail. My mom told me that she had to carry two buckets of water on a each end of a bamboo pole from Ershuei to Songboling by this primitive trail during her pregnancy with my older sister in the old days. This trail was for the farmers in Songboling to carry their agricultural products to sell or to purchase their daily necessity in Ershuei in the old time. This trail is filled with all the hard life for my mom in her young years.  
After leaving the parking lot, I followed the road crossing the railroad tracks and turned left toward the train station. The first scene that interested me was two steam locomotor displayed which was a Taiwan Railway CT-278 and a Tai Sugar steam locomotor in a small park next to the railroad track. ( Instead of the current picture that I took this time, I placed old pictures for more details.)
F-5 Displayed in the park
This is one of the most important history in Ershuei during the Japanese governing Taiwan. Because it played an important roll for the transportation purposes, it caused a severe bombing by the United States military during the WWII. My mom remembered when she was young, she and her family heard the siren in the farm. They had to find a place to hide. She said she hided her head under tea trees and her body was exposed outside just like an ostrich. She made us laughed hard. It was a funny story for us when we were kids. But as we grew up and understood the horrible of the war, we had more sympathy for what she had encountered when she was only a young kid.    
Ershuei Train Station 
Tourist Center outside the train station
Street View from the train station
I asked the railroad personnel if I could walk to the platform for taking some pictures. He was very friendly and opened the gate for me. This was the small town's friendliness which I love and enjoy the best when I travel around Taiwan. 
This was the train schedule of Ershuei-Jiji-Checheng line starting from Ershuei. Also there are a few schedules starting from Taichung. The most popular place on this line is the town of Jiji which will be a future blog.  
Visitors could rent a bicycle for touring around this town. It offers good bicycle trails. It is nice to explore this historical and quiet town in a leisure way. 
This is a traditional market on the main street to the train station with the Baroque architecture which was build during the Japanese governing period.  
This is just an ordinary country picture. But to me it is very important because I could see my hometown on the top of the mountain. 
Most farmers in Taiwan believe the Earth God which is the lowest officer position in Taoism, but it has the vastest territory to oversee the earth blessing and watching over their crops and lands. So they worship the Earth God on its birthday on their farms. However, the worship time varies depending on the areas. The farmers put up bamboo sticks with paper money as a cane for the earth god when it walks around their farms to check the crops growing situation.  
Ershuei is also famous for producing inkstones because Zhuoshui River flows through which brings a special rock from the upper river to Ershuei. I met this gentleman who picked stones and his friend who picked grasses for his horses. They told me that I should not visit this place alone because some people come here and use drugs. I now know where to pick rocks for fun after talking to them. It was time for me to leave.    
Because of Zhuoshui River, Ershuei Township has one of the three oldest irrigation systems which was built in 1709 for irrigating 8 small villages. This irrigation system has made Chunghua County a great rice producing county. 
An old man was taking his wife home for lunch after working on their farm. I was touched with this scene. It reminded me about my parents who used to have the same sweet moments. Also it is nice to have company when we get old.  
An old tree hung up many lanterns in front of a family temple. If a tree is surrounded with a red fabric, it means the tree is over 100 years old and it becomes a tree god. People respect this tree for its longevity.   
This was the most famous bakery in Ershuei. The baker used rice to replace flour. Also the bakers baked their pastries with wood fire which made their pastries have a special flavor. I was there too early for the fresh pastries. So I had to come back another time.
This was an interesting brick old house which I had no idea for what it was, a chewing tobacco factory or just a regular house?  
This alley was called Sibian Lane which was near the tradition market in the center of the town. I was amazed by farm trucks or cars driving through. It became my target which I was going to drive through the alley to see what was there. 
I entered another part of town which I was never been before. I followed the irrigation canal to unknown places. 
At this point I was paralleled with the bicycle trail and Jiji railroad toward Formosan Macaque Educational Center in the outskirt of Ershuei. 
Here I was at the Formosan Macaque Educational Center. After the 921 Earthquake in 1999, monkeys migrated to this area. These migrated monkey brought local residents a surprise but also some problems for the farmers. Monkeys also attracted tourists to the surrounding areas especial in Songboling area and the hiking trail to the Shoutian Temple. Visitors fed these wild monkeys. So educating people to dealing with monkeys was an essential way to protect these monkeys and human beings. 
Student's field trip at the educational center
Outdoor Classroom and Butterfly Attracting Area with shorts walking trails. 
     My travel alone journey ended up here. It was time for me to head back to Taichung. It was a great experience as a loner. But it was also good to have a company to share life together. Chow! 


  1. One more detail you might want to look into.

    Ershui is the site of the traditional defensive withdrawal village of the plains aborignes from Davale village (Peitou). The population of Ershui are likely descendants of subgroups of Davale plains people who failed to retail land in Peitou. There are several pingpu graves around there as well.

  2. Andrew:
    Thank you for your recommendation about the prehistory of Ershui which I have never looked into or known about it. The best introduction information which I could find is this website in Chinese:
    Again, thank you for the information.


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