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Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year from the T'anyashen (Tanyashen) Bikeway 潭雅神サイクリングコース (or Walking Part 2)


I'm normally busy on Thursday mornings, but the student I usually teach during that time was occupied this week. So I used the unexpected free time that I had (not to mention the clear skies and relatively warmer temperatures today) to complete my walk of the Tanyashen Bikeway.

I began by riding my scooter direct to the old Shenkang (Shengang) 神岡 train station, a 15-minute drive from my apartment. After parking the scooter, I began by walking towards T'antzu (Tanzih) 潭子, and the temple where I turned back on my previous walk on this trail. It felt good to be out in the crisp, winter morning air.

Along the way, I passed by a new-looking house that seemed to hark back to Japanese colonial-era architectural styles, and a small enclosure that contained a sleeping pig and two ostriches ガチョウ. I also walked under the tracks to Taiwan's High Speed Rail 台湾高速鉄道 , the local version of the Shinkansen 新幹線. Several trains passed by in both directions during the 2 hours I was out walking this morning. It took only 15 minutes to reach the temple, whereupon I then turned around and headed back to Shenkang. From there, I started the walk towards the end of Tanyashen Bikeway, the old rail station in Taya (Daya) 大雅, 3.6 kilometers (2.2 miles) from Shenkang .

There were a few cyclists and walkers out on the trail in the middle of the morning, but the road was empty most of the time. The rapeseed アブラナ fields were a pleasant site, especially with all the butterflies flitting about.

At one point in the town of Taya, the bikeway crosses a busy street and then enters an old neighborhood. Here, bicycles have to share the narrow road with cars, scooters and residents. Fortunately, things were very quiet this morning, with the exception of the air force jets coming in for landings overhead. The noise was deafening. I tried to get some pictures of the low-flying planes, but my camera was just too slow. On the other hand, I did get a shot of a cat that wasn't going anywhere fast, just sunning itself on the seat of a scooter. Cats have been a bone of contention recently in the Kaminoge household. Ever since our old friend Chiou-chiou passed away last November, I have been wanting to get a new cat. In fact, I was hoping we could find one as soon as we got back from the States, but one month after our return, we are still a feline-less home. I had a line a couple of weeks ago on what I thought was an adorable black kitten with white paws, but my wife put the kibosh on that at the last minute, saying she wanted an all-black cat. I suspect superstition was involved, as cats and dogs with black bodies and white feet are considered unlucky in Taiwan, but Pamela denies that was the reason for her rejection of the kitten. In any event, she who must be obeyed has decided that we must wait until after the Lunar New Year 旧正月 before getting another cat.

Eventually I reached the terminus of the bike path. Here, a section of the old track has been left in place. On the platform marking the site of the old Taya station, someone was drying something that appeared to be daikon ダイコン, though I couldn't be too sure. I guess some people take "public property" literally.


On the way back to Shenkang and my scooter, I made a brief detour to walk through an adjacent cemetery. Some bemused obasans rode by, campaigning for a local Democratic Progressive Party 民主進歩党 candidate.

Back at the old Shenkang station, I managed to get a picture of a bullet train speeding by (look closely and you can see it), before getting on my scooter and going home. I can now scratch another bike trail off my list of routes to explore on foot.

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