23 June 2008


Friday morning, we woke up and had to have our packed baggage and our sleepy selves on a bus embarking for the central mountains of Taiwan. We may have grumbled at the time, but a small sacrifice of sleep has never been so worthwhile.

Exchanging inside glances with 
a feathered incarcerated friend

7:15 Leave ShiDa
7:45 Arrive at Taipei main Station
8:06 Embark on High Speed Train southbound
9:06 Arrive at Taichung Station
9:30 Board private bus and embark for 啊里山 National Park.

Upon arriving at Ālǐshān and getting our stuff to our rooms, we went on the first of many wanderings in the woods. Ālǐshān is a beautiful place, with beautiful trees. So beautiful in fact, that the Japanese cut all of them down and shipped them to Japan. The Red Cyprus is all over in Ālǐshān, but all of the great trees save 20 or so are younger than 100 years. That may sound old, but factor in the 20 or so that are well above 1000, and your perspective might change. 

Mystic Trees on Ālǐshān

The Chinese believe that a tree has a special spirit after being alive for 1000 years. I'd agree.

As you can see, the woods around Ālǐshān have other interesting sights...

A lake-centered pagoda shrouded in mist

Again I'm having a bit of difficulty when it comes to autofocus, but the colors in this one have me whistling trills. 
Another stealth shot

After getting into bed, some of us had a rough night. One of us got altitude sickness and had to go to a clinic. Thank goodness, she is ok, and bounced back quite quickly, considering. The next morning, despite the complications of the previous night, we arose to embark on Ālǐshān's famous Cog Train to a beautiful, if chaotic vista to see 阿里山的日出 (ālǐshān de rì chū):

Peaceful as this appears, just outside of this shot were two men on either side with megaphones informing droves of visitors about the time, angle, and ideal camera settings of this vista. Amazing what a little cropping can do.

Sleepy street pooch

More to come, but now, I'm sleepy.

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