Friday, May 6, 2011

WuLai

Last week I visited WuLai, which is a beautiful aboriginal village. To get there we rode the MRT to the end of the line and then took a 40 minute bus ride up curvy mountain roads. If I was new here the bus ride would have been a frightening adventure but I've gotten used to crazy rides.

The bus drops you off near this red suspension bridge. It is for pedestrian traffic only. We were on a short time schedule so didn't get to try it, but I would like to take my family back one day and MAYBE go up there. I like the idea in theory, but my fear of heights might kick in. Beautiful though, don't you think?


Not far from the bridge is the ubiquitous temple.


Throughout the day I noticed many crosses. A rather unusual sight in Taiwan. I asked Sylvia, our Taiwanese friend, if there was a strong Christian presence in this area and she told us that yes, some of the first missionaries to Taiwan bypassed the cities and went to the mountains, to the aboriginal people. The percentage of Christians is higher among the aboriginals than amongst the rest of the Taiwan population.





Sylvia translated this sign for us but I cannot remember exactly. It was something like Jesus loves you and is the Saviour of the world. How cool!


I could take this picture on practically any street in Taiwan, but since I took it in WuLai I will include it here. This is called "Pearl Tea". It is tea with tapioca in it. I am constantly told that American's love it. I have not tried it of course! I only know of one American who tried it and he was a little freaked out by the tapioca. Of course he was 11 so he is probably not a good judge, but I eat sort of like an 11 year old so neither am I!


Honestly I took the next picture just because I thought the stuff looked so cool - black and white. Sylvia told me is it something like mushrooms - basically some type of fungus. The locals steep it in water and drink it. It is supposed to work miracles in your body.


Ditto the next picture - miraculous if you drink it. The locals say that about everything.


We walked past this 3D painting on the side of a building. I loved it.






A larger than life statue that I loved. I guess I like folk art.


Next we had to climb many stairs...


...and take a "logging train" a little further up the mountain. The scenery was BEAUTIFUL!






The train was a tiny bit like an amusement park ride. As we neared the end of the ride and I saw the destination station ahead the train very suddenly veered to the right and entered a tunnel. The point of the turn was simply to turn the train around so that it would be ready to return to the starting point.


On the wall near the tunnel there was a large mural - a sort of advertisement for the train. More folk art I suppose.






Now we found ourselves in the main tourist trap area. As I was admiring some girls in beautiful costumes, a woman came out of a shop and asked if we would like to watch a show with native costumes, dances and explanations of the native handcrafts. We all decided it would be fun.

The dancers all had many bells on their costumes and I really enjoyed the sound. Overall I enjoyed the performance. although I told my friends no American man would be caught dead in the outfit the lone man was wearing. (He is the one in the pink skirt!)






There was no translation so I'm not sure what was happening in the next 2 pictures, however my feeling was it was a depiction of a marriage ceremony. If I am correct, then I think I married some Chinese man because after this dance I was pulled out of the audience (of about 15 people) along with a Chinese man, dressed in some sort of head dress and made to dance around and eventually do what you see these dancers doing.





When the performance was over we were shown to the restrooms. Instead of signs that said "Men" and "Women" these figures were over the doors!



Next we were encouraged to visit the shop where women were weaving some traditional cloths. They were later sewn into placemats and table runners which they were hoping we would buy. It wasn't extremely high pressure, but they were really encouraging us to buy something. Since I didn't want to purchase anything I said perhaps next time I would bring more cash. Normally vendors in Taiwan work on a cash only basis. But the woman quickly told me they take credit cards!




Finally we went to view a waterfall in the distance. It was pretty but not amazingly so; therefore I am including this picture which focuses on the old fence rather than the waterfall in the background. I liked the fence!



On our way back down we stopped at a charming outdoor coffeehouse.





The coffeehouse appeared to have a resident cat.



I had an iced coffee with caramel and ice cream in it! A lovely surprise.





Finally, a picture of our small group back at the waterfall:


This was the most enjoyable day I've had in a long, long time. I hope you enjoy the photo tour!

1 comment:

Elizabethd said...

What a fascinating country it is. Your photos really made me see the journey that you took, and I felt I had climbed the heights with you!