Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 35: December 13th, From Taimali Township to Taimali town center.

This was the first time I actually flew down to go on my trip; a bit pricey but much faster than the lumpy old train. Taidong Airport is a bit challenged in terms of bus options, so I walked from there to the highway, through a rural neighborhood where they either had been or were in the process of burning the dried remnants of the rice crop. They were also seeding it with grass to restore the soil.

After the harvest, let the stalks dry out and then burn them.

Then, seed with grass to protect and improve the soil for the next crop.
At the highway, I found myself on ground I had covered on my last trip. The bus stop information sign promised an hour’s wait, so I stuck out my thumb and got a lift within 5 minutes with a nice young couple from Taidong. They were off to Kaohsiung to find out the sex of their unborn child.

They let me off where I had finished last time, and I was once more on the move! I found a road that led to the sea, though an old graveyard where many of the headstones had been damaged and not repaired. This was no doubt a sign of some problems in the family, and to the superstitious, a good reason to expect an unhappy ghost to visit relatives in their dreams.

Lovely, calm seascape
By the sea, all was again sunny, breezy and fresh. I carried on along the beach for several hours until I decided to cut inland for lunch. Soon thereafter, dark clouds threatened serious rain. I found myself in the town of Taimali, so I thought I’d just hang out here for the rest of the day.

Tying on a rice bag

I checked into a rundown hotel, and wandered around the town, hiding under bridges or awnings when the rain pelted down, exploring the small, mixed aboriginal and Han village when the going was good. It was a bit decrepit: not destitute, but not prosperous either. It was untouched by tourism, as far as I could see, so it was authentic. There were lots of repair shops for farm equipment and motorbikes, simple shops for clothes and groceries, and many simple restaurants. An old woman scolded her husband on the street; another old man dozed in a doorway. Some kids hung out in a tiny Internet café, playing computer games. Along the highway just east of the town, there were dealerships for farm equipment, and other types of businesses that suggested this town was a hub of sorts for the local area.

I walked up the hill west of town a bit, and saw lots of signs of aboriginal culture in the paintings outside the local high school. But other towns I had been to were much more quaint than this one.

I went back to my hotel, only to realize how shitty it was: it had a dull background stink of years of cigarettes; there was no hot water and the toilet leaked at floor level when flushed! But the bed worked.

Between cloudbursts

Yo man, check it out!

No comments: