- Wulipu, Jiaxian District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Xiang Zhu 向竹 or “Magic Bamboo” — a Plains Aborigine totem. At the Siaolin Plains Aborigine Night Ceremony I was told the seven rungs of straw attached to the bamboo represent the steps to heaven. I had previously heard they represent the seven sisters worshiped as Taizu 太祖, a Plains Aboriginal Goddess.
My friend Richard from Barking Deer Tours has some nice posts and pictures that are worth checking out. I’m still trying to find time to write more about our last trip.
I finally made it up to Namasia on Sunday and Monday with Richard from Barking Deer Tours. We were expecting to stay longer but (more…)
We drove into Jiashen with some food for the villagers who are still in Namasia today. The road is rough from Jiashen to Namasia, so the supplies will be carried the rest of the way on Friday. It will be transported by blue truck convoy or, possibly, a jeep club from Taipei who volunteered for the job.
We dropped the stuff off quite early in the day, so had some time to drive in to Shiaolin.
I was struck by two things. One, how good shape the road was in.
Most of the repairs of damage caused by Typhoon Kalmaegi earlier this year were still intact.
The second thing that struck me was how horrible Hsiaolin was.
It was a very large landslide.
Having driven that road regularly for ten odd years and nearly weekly for the past three, I have never seen one quite that big. Up the South Cross Island Highway however, there have been a number of that magnitude.
But nothing compares to this as it landed right on top of a village causing massive loss of life.
Will post some pictures soon.
Namasia Township villagers are now being housed in two barracks. Ming Tzu, the worst hit, is with Taoyuan County villagers in Yanchao and Ming Chuan and Ming Shen villagers are in Jiuchu (九曲) in Da Shu Township.
We were in Jiuchu today. Simple, clean(except the toilets), and comfortable. The buildings are certainly built a lot better than their tin houses(for the most part) in the village. People were happy and well fed. Even the public announcements were in Bunun language just like in the village and I can imagine it could be disconcerting to the military personnel being unable to understand. (more…)
Here are some more posts and pictures from Dave’s Landslide blog:
The comparison photos really show the extent of the damage.
And some aerial photos:
An interesting article by Tainaner Matt Gibson of his experiences during Typhoon Morakot.
And Richard from Barking Deer keeps us updated on the hiking trails in the area.
While I’m busy linking, here is Steven Crooks fact filled article and on his Bradt travel guide book page some lovely photos by Craig Ferguson
And finally a site I always go to for very thorough, but very green politics; Micheal Turton’s View from Taiwan. Scroll down for insight into the Dalai Lama’s visit and Morakot.
As for Namasia, lots of people have driven out of the mountains now. They say the road is rough, that is probably an understatement as these people are used to rough roads. Only little blue truck access. I was planning to be on the road by now but another typhoon is on it’s way and you don’t want to be on any mountain roads in heavy rain, much less ‘rough’ ones.
Here is some info from Department of Roads dated 8/30, followed by a loose translation:
台21線(甲仙~小林~民生，長約35.7公里)目前由甲仙(237K)可經替代道路方式行駛至小林地區(224K)，小林以北道路遭土石淹沒及沖毀，無 法確定道路位置，正評估是否依原路線或另尋替代道路搶通。另有關民生(那瑪夏鄉)聯外道路部分，規劃由民生村附近之青山產業道路~鄉道嘉129-1線(嘉 義、高雄縣政府刻正搶修中，預計9月7日搶通)~嘉129線~台3線轉往嘉義大埔地區。另民權(那瑪夏鄉)聯外道路部分，規劃由鄉道南179-1線~平坑 產業道路~雙連堀~民權為替代道路，目前高雄縣政府已搶通至雙連堀，預計98年9月6日搶通至民權。
About Hwy 21 from Jiashen to Namasia.
They can get to Hsiaolin but north of Hsiaolin is buried too badly to find the road. Discussing whether to continue using this route or find another route.
To Namasia(Ming Shen) the plan is to go in via Chashan(Chingshan farming road, 129-1 to Chashan then 129 to Provincial 3 at Dapu, Tsengwen reservoir). They say they are working hard to open the road by Sept. 7th.
To Namasia’s MingChuan they are opening a road from Tainan’s county road 179 (I mistakenly wrote 178 yesterday)-Guanshan, up to the ridge (an area called Shuang Lian Chu) where, rather than dropping down to Holy Mt Zion, a new road is being made that will follow an old road to Labinia and then presumably they will drive through the river to Ming Chuan.
I added my own interpretation at the end, but we just got a call and that road is already open, Monday 31st. The site above says they will try to have it open by September 6th.
The villagers were working from their side. The Americans flew in diggers for them.
Lots of other stuff going on. Especially the fate of Ming Tzu. Ming Tsu is now too dangerous to live in and they need to figure out where to live.
Every day I hear a different time frame for access to Namasia. Usually one two two years, sometimes never but rarely anytime soon.
My wife has just been talking to her brother Vaji who is still in Ming Chuan. He says the first road will pass through the Alishan range, but not as I expected via Alishan’s Cha Shan (which already has limited road access). Vaji says the road will go up from the Labinia area and connect with 178 (which follows the eastern shore of Nanhua Dam) via an ‘old route’ . I considered 178 from Guan Shan over the Alishan range and into the Namasia Valley near Holy Mt. Zion, but this (very small) farming road is usually the first to go and then there are two Nan Tzu Hsien river crossings to contend with.
Vaji says they are working hard on the route and it should be open in 3-4 days. I hope he is right. If I can get a truck in, I can start hauling stuff out.
There are lots of rumours. One particularly frightening one was if the villagers accept the free government houses (which I wrote about here) they would have to give up their land. This can’t be true, but shows why some aren’t coming down from the mountains, they just want to get clear answers and guarantees before comitting to anything.