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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ruining my day

Some Tuesday afternoons are meant for hiking, others for exploring by scooter or by train. Despite the constant rain generated by not one, not two, but three tropical storms/typhoons lurking in the seas not far off Taiwan, today was one of the latter. Less than half an hour by bike from central Fengyuan 豐原, in the mountains outside of the town of San'i 三義, lies what Rough Guide calls the Lungt'eng Broken Bridge 龍騰断橋 while Lonely Planet insists on referring to it as the Lung T'eng Viaduct. In any event, it's a viaduct originally built in 1905 (or 1908), but destroyed in the magnitude 7.1 (or 7.3) Hsinchu-T'aichung earthquake 年新竹-台中地震 in 1935. Even on weekends, when the tour buses and vendors descend on the area, the ruins are photogenic, but they were especially so on this lonely, wet Tuesday.

Close to the broken viaduct lie more ruins, the abandoned rail tracks of the old mountain line. These make for a great walk to the Shenghsing Train Station 勝興車站, which used to be Taiwan's highest railway station back when it was in service, and which is now a tourist zoo on the weekends. Having done the walk before (and in better weather, and without the badly scraped elbow I incurred slipping and falling on a slick set of stones), I elected to walk only part of the way today, and instead enjoyed the misty mountain scenery.

After a couple of hours in the area, I got back on my scooter and rode up to the Liyu Reservoir 鯉魚潭水庫. The spillways were working to siphon off all the rainwater, an impressive sight to be sure...

...but what really caught my attention was the Formosan Rock Macaque 台灣獼猴 I espied in the parking lot as I returned to my parked scooter.

A couple more stops to check out some more of the scenery...

...then it was back home to meet the wife, pick up the child from school and have dinner with the family. Thoroughly soaked shorts and bloody elbow aside, it was a pretty good excursion by scooter this afternoon.

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