Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Extra Day in Dongju/東莒のおまけ/東莒:買二送一


I originally was supposed to be in Matsu from Saturday morning (when the Taimaru ship arrived in Dongyin) until the next Tuesday, when I would head back to Formosa by plane.  However, the weather took a turn for the worse, and the waves were so big on Tuesday that all the inter-island boats got cancelled and I was stuck on Dongju for all of Tuesday.  Heavens!  Forced to take an extra day of vacation!  Oh the humanity!



Here's the view from the balcony of the room I was staying in.  I stayed at Chuan Lao Da, one of the more successful hotels on the island.  They deserve their success.  The rooms were nice, the scooter they rented me was nice and new, and--most importantly--the food was great.  Every day there was fresh seafood, and they were very clever in preparing it.  Even if you don't stay there when you're in Dongju, see if you can get dinner there at least.  It's well worth it.  It's a family-run hotel, and they were all very friendly and helpful as well.


I saw this bird in a tree nearby.
Fish at the local shopping arcade in the main town of Daping



While the waves were big, and the boats all cancelled, it was not actually raining at the time, so I headed out to do some hiking.  There aren't any major trails on Dongju (it's not that big an island after all) but there's a nice one on the hills on the east side of the island.  (The Huanshan Budao 環山步道)  It starts near this cemetery.



The cliffs are incredible.


These poor guys were out doing training exercises or something.  It was pretty chilly too.  It was only in the low 50's probably on this day.  I had to borrow a sweater from the hotel to even think of going out.  I knew that Matsu was cooler than the rest of Taiwan, but I was still unprepared for how cool it could get in early April.

The lighthouse again



Watch out for strong winds, especially if you got out fishing in your underwear.



They built this strange platform out at one end of the trail.  I guess it beats having people walk out onto unstable rocks to get a nice view and falling to their deaths.



Yet more military structures



Just as I got down from the path it started to rain.  These goats knew what to do.



Because the path is near the island's visitor center, I went there to wait out the rain.  While I was there I got to watch a video introducing Dongju and Xiju.  I didn't even know that there was a video, but the guy sitting around working at the center suggested it.  He was probably bored and glad for the chance to do something.  While I'm not entirely sure, my travel partner and I may have been the only tourists on the island that day since there were no boats and it was the day after a four-day weekend, meaning everyone else had probably headed back the day before, before the boats all got cancelled.  Do the people at the tourist information center a favor and stop by if you ever visit the island at an off-peak time.  They could probably use the excitement.



At this point, I'd seen just about every corner of Dongju, so the photos below are kind of a repeat.  I'm standing just above Fuzheng, under the lighthouse, looking down.


Xiniu Island, connected to Dongju now while the waters are low.


This is actually maybe the best shot I took of the lighthouse of all of the many photos I took of it.
There was this fancy tunnel entrance nearby.



"There is no enemy on earth who cannot be defeated."

"There is no job on earth that cannot be completed."

I want to show you how strong the winds were.  You see this glass plane?  Just the previous day it was still on top of the bricks there.  There's a tunnel below, so the glass is there to stop morons from falling down the hole.  I'm pretty sure the glass was attached, not just resting on top of the bricks, and yet here it is blown away onto the grass.



I heard a story (I wasn't clear if this was a sarcastic joke, or actually the real deal) that the road here, the Fuxing Road, was built this way because they couldn't afford to bring enough concrete to the island to pave it all the way across, so they filled in the middle with rocks.  Regardless, it's actually a nice effect and makes the road prettier really.



Part way along Fuxing Road, there was this lookout point that gave a head-on view of Xiniu Island.  You can see the low strip of land connecting it to Dongju quite well in this photo.


The island in the distance is Xiju.

Why did I take this strangely angled photo?


Looking back at Fuzheng and the lighthouse from Fuxing Road.


A tiger design at an abandoned base.


This appeared to be some sort of plaque, though I couldn't read anything clearly.



Now I'm back at Meng'ao harbor where the boats come into the island.



While I was looking at this temple, a helicopter came in low and landed nearby.  (There's a small airport near here.)  It turns out that on days when the boats are cancelled, they run a helicopter service between Dongju, Xiju and Nangan (the main island in Matsu).  A woman actually got off of the helicopter and walked by, so I asked her what she had been doing that required getting on a helicopter.  "Just some shopping" was her nonchalant answer.  That's right, she got on a helicopter to do some shopping!  Island life!



That's pretty much it for Dongju.  The boats were running again the next day, so I got on the first one of the morning and headed to Nangan to get a plane back to the Formosan mainland.  I had a couple hours to kill in Nangan, so I'll post some photos of there next time.



1 comment:

  1. Ha ha! "the guy (sitting around) working at the center"