Day two of my trip to Lamay Island. We woke up bright and early (well, sort of) and I took a couple of photos of the camp area.
我們這天騎腳踏車順時針地環繞島。最初靠「花瓶石」看看了。It's called "Flower Vase Rock", and it is pretty neat.
So why is this cool? There was a Lewchew Kingdom, which you surely already know about since I wrote about it in previous blog posts about my trip to Okinawa. You have committed all of my frighteningly interesting posts to memory, right?
At any rate, the character for country in this sign is related to the fact that the public elementary schools in Taiwan are controlled at the national level, so the school is a "national" elementary school. The "Lewchew" that appears before that is because this island is known as "Small Lewchew" in Chinese, perhaps because the island is made of coral, like many of the islands in Okinawa which were part of the Kingdom of Lewchew, or perhaps in reference to the fact that way back when, many Chinese, and by extension European, maps referred to the Taiwan area as "Lewchew Minor" and the Okinawa area as "Lewchew Major". This despite the fact that the island of Formosa is way bigger than all of the Okinawan islands combined. (It was because Okinawa had a Kingdom with a king who lived in a palace and wore fancy hats, while the inhabitants of Formosa belonged to smaller groups who did more hunting and were therefore considered less civilized and therefore less important. Though they did wear fancy hats too.) I actually don't know why the island is called "Small Lewchew" in Chinese.
So basically, the sign says "Small Lewchew National Elementary School", but if you cut off the small at the front, it looks like it is a national school of the independent country of Lewchew, a country that no longer exists. That's what I thought was cool. And yes, I did drag my travel buddy here twice just to take pictures of the sign. She was very patient with me.
Another interesting thing I noted during this trip: While you do see the occasional helmet-less scofflaw in Tainan, the majority of scooter riders do wear helmets. When we got to Donggang (covered in the last post) I noticed way more people riding without helmets. When we got to Lamay Island, I saw almost no one wearing a helmet. Apparently the police on Lamay don't enforce helmet laws. Is there generally a correlation between traveling south in Taiwan and disregard for scooter helmet laws? Further study is warranted.
Below: The author of this blog, possibly engaging in risky photographing-while-riding behavior, or perhaps taking photos after having stopped his bike by the side of the road. More cool rock formations and more law-breaking on view.
We wanted to visit the international lighthouse on Lamay. Of course, since it has to be very visible, it's on top of a tall hill, probably the biggest hill on the island. This is a photo from the middle of our death-ride up the hill. I'll admit, we walked a lot. You would have too. I didn't even have access to all of my gears on my bike because the front shifter wouldn't shift out of the middle gear.
この灯台は1929年に建てられたので、これも日本政府が作った施設だ。And here's the view we saw on the way back down the hill from the lighthouse.
There was some large ship in the distance.
And here we are at the port waiting for the last ferry of the day, which we were able to get on.
小琉球はあまり大きくないので、南台湾に住んでいる人なら、二日間をかけて見るのはちょうどいいだろう。自転車じゃなくて、バイクを運転する人はもっと余裕が有る。チャンスが有れば、是非行ってみてね。Lamay Island is a pretty nice weekend trip if you're in southern Taiwan and can get there in a reasonable amount of time. Two days is plenty of time to see the island too, especially if you rent a scooter instead of a bicycle.