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Monday, June 28, 2010

On the Taiwanese Range

Taiwan isn't the first place that comes to mind when thinking of wide-open spaces. This is one of the most-densely populated places on the planet (668 people per km²/1730 per square mile), especially when taking into the account the fact that 90% of the population is crammed onto the west coast, as a result of the Central Mountain Range 中央山脈. Therefore it's always something of a surprise when coming across a relatively vast expanse of land. Thanks to my friend Thoth, Amber and I visited one such place this afternoon, the literally named 19 Hectares Grassland (19 hectares = 47 acres), in the city of Hsinchu 新竹.

Due to the uncertain weather (there was one bolt of lightning that struck uncomfortably close to where we were resting, with a corresponding loud-as-a-cannon peal of thunder) and my little girl's four year-old legs, we were only able to cover a small portion of the grasslands. But there aren't too many places in Taiwan where open land is just that, open and (refreshingly) uncluttered, and Amber was especially excited when a goat-herder and his flock came along to feast on the grass:

In addition to goats, there were bugs to check out, but Amber's enthusiasm evaporated a bit after she took a fall and skinned both of her knees and one elbow (not too seriously, fortunately), so we took a drive into downtown Chunan 竹南. There we met up with Thoth's partner Sharon, and trouped off to a small Vietnamese restaurant for something to drink before getting back into the car for the drive home. All in all, it was a pretty pleasant afternoon, and I wouldn't mind going back to see more the grasslands sometime.

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