2017年9月17日 星期日

The Monkeys and the Dogs 那些猴子跟那些狗

You might be familiar with the monkeys that live on Li Yu Mountain.  They are often visible on the parts of the mountain near Chang Sha Street, close to Tung Hai Elementary School.  你應該對鯉魚山的那群猴子不陌生.  牠們有時候出現在靠近長沙街東海國小的區域.

Sometimes they come down to the road.  I've seen them walking on the embankment behind the Tu Di Gong (Earth God) temple just off Jeng Chi Road, and also further down, toward the skating rink.  They don't seem to worry much about people, and taking pictures of them is fairly easy.*  牠們有時候會下來路邊.  我看過牠們在正氣路的土地公廟後面, 也看過牠們在溜冰場附近.  牠們好像不怕人, 也很容易拍到牠們的照片.

In the area where they live, there is also a pack of semi-wild dogs.  These dogs try to catch the monkeys at every opportunity.  I often see the monkeys sitting up in the trees, with the dogs barking up at them from below.  The monkeys never seem very concerned about this situation, perhaps because they know that dogs can't climb.  牠們住的那個地區也有一群野狗.  這些狗都很想抓到猴子.  我常常看到在樹下的狗對著樹上的猴子大聲地汪汪叫.  猴子好像對這個情形一點也不在意, 也許牠們都知道狗不能爬樹吧.

The other day my coworker was wondering (aloud) what those monkeys eat.  As far as we know, there are no fruit trees on Li Yu Mountain, though there are some in nearby fields.  My guess is that they mostly eat bugs, and supplement their diet with a some edible plants we don't know about.  Or else they come down at night, and then venture out into adjoining streets for food.  有一天我的同事懷疑那些猴子吃甚麼.  鯉魚山上好像沒有果樹, 雖然附近的地有些果樹.  但我想他們的主要食物應該是昆蟲, 並也吃些其他的植物.  或許牠們天黑的時候才下來吃在路邊的食物.

These are the monkeys in Dong He 東河, but the ones on Li Yu Mountain are the same type.

Those dogs sure do hate them though.  I wonder if it's some instinctual dislike, of if the dogs - in their own minds - are protecting us (and our imaginary fruit trees) from the voracious monkeys.  You'd think they'd know better than to try to catch the monkeys - but then again they're dogs, and not given to that level of introspection.  那群狗非常討厭牠們.  我不知道那是種直覺的討厭, 還是狗想要保護附近的人(及想像中的果樹).  狗應該知道牠們抓不了猴子, 但是狗是不會想那麼多的.

Whatever the reason, I sometimes ask myself what sort of lesson, moral, or metaphor one could draw from this continual struggle between dog and monkey.  Could we say that certain people are monkeys, and that other people are dogs?  Could we draw some kind of philosophical conclusion from their antipathy?  I'm still not sure what to think about it all, but I enjoy the sight of the monkeys, way up in their tree, smiling down at the barking dogs.  不論是甚麼理由, 我有時候想人們是否可以從猴子和狗的衝突中得到道德啟發還是學到隱喻.  我們是否可以說有的人就像當中的猴子, 有的人就像事件中的狗?  我無法從牠們對立的行為上為整個事件下一個標題?  但是我喜歡看到這個景象: 猴子在樹上微笑著看著樹下狂吠的狗.

And what about you?  Would you rather be one of the monkeys trapped on the mountain?  Or the one of the dogs chasing after them?  I'm really not sure which of those animals has a better deal, or if either is pleased with his or her lot in life.  那你呢?  你覺得當困在山上的猴子比較好?  還是當追補的野狗比較好?  我不確定哪一種動物的生活比較快樂, 也不知道那兩種動物覺得這樣的生活是好還是壞.

I suppose that if I could choose, I'd instead choose to be one of my house cats.  Sleeping all day in an air-conditioned room sounds pretty good to me.  I don't imagine cat food is all that delicious (even to cats), but it would be a small price to pay for free room and board for the rest of my life.  Just remember to clean my catbox and change my drinking water.  I'll be just fine while the rest of you head off to work.  我想如果我可以選的話, 我比較想當我家裡養的貓.  整天睡在冷氣房裡聽起來不錯.  雖然貓應該不喜歡每天吃貓食, 但這是一輩子免費住宿的小小代價.  只要記得清理我的貓砂和換乾淨的飲水!  我會在你們上班的時候好好的!

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Shopping Around Taitung City 在台東市逛街
What's Going on with the Taitung County Government 台東縣政府最近動向 2
Paradise on Vacation 天堂在放假
Driving from Taitung City and Back Again 從山區開回來台東市

*Of course I say that, and yet this week they have evaded my camera!  If it makes you feel better, I saw them a week ago.

2017年9月13日 星期三

Kaohsiung, According to the MRT and My Faulty Memory (Yellow Line)

The Yellow Line.  I used to take this line a lot more, but since Taroko Park opened we usually drive into the city, and work our way north from the 88 Expressway.

Fongshan 鳳山.  It's easy for me to get lost in Fongshan.  I've driven through there a few times, and it rarely goes well for me.  

If you're unfamiliar with Kaohsiung, Fongshan is divided from downtown Kaohsiung by the freeway.  A lot of people who work in Kaohsiung live in Fongshan because it's slightly cheaper.  If I was going to live in Kaohsiung, I'd probably live in one of the suburbs further east/northeast.  Da Shu ("Big Tree") maybe, or Da Liao.

Feng Yi Academy

I once visited one of the old "academies" in Fongshan, the Feng Yi Academy, which dates back to 1814.  The Feng Yi Academy and others like it were the Ching Dynasty equivalent of the American one-room schoolhouse, where the youth of their day learned the basic skills needed to advance through the Confucian hierarchy.  Of course the American version was a more democratic affair, but there are many parallels just the same.

There are other Ching era relics in that area, but nothing that's likely to make an impression.  If you're in the neighborhood I suggest visiting the Feng Yi Academy, but be warned that it's been "Disneyfied" a bit, and that the parking situation is terrible.

Martial Art Stadium 技擊館.  This is the first MRT stop you encounter after exiting the freeway.  We used to park in the lot behind the stadium, and take the MRT into the city.  Easier than fighting your way down Jong Jeng Road 中正路.

Intersection of Jung Jeng Road and Jung Shan Road.  (MRT Formosa Boulevard Station).

You would think there'd be a lot of good restaurants on Jong Jeng Road, but I haven't found many.  There used to be a really good Italian/pizza restaurant not far from the freeway, but they closed it down for lack of customers.

Formosa Boulevard 美麗島.  As said in the previous entry, Formosa Boulevard is where the Red Line and the Yellow Line come together.  It's a big, noisy intersection, and also one of the ugliest parts of downtown Kaohsiung.  I remember it being a more happening area before the advent of the (K)MRT, but these days most of the businesses in that area are dying a slow death.

Yenchengpu 鹽埕埔.  This is the stop for the Kaohsiung Zoo, and also one of the most pleasant parts of Kaohsiung to walk around.  There's a Caves Bookstore in the area, and also a lot of bars.  I've never been there at night, but it's probably very lively.

The one Formosan black bear unfortunate enough to be trapped in the Kaohsiung Zoo.

If I were you, I wouldn't bother with the Kaohsiung Zoo.  That place sucks.  It's old, and all the animals there look unhappy.  The area around the zoo can be interesting, but you'd want to avoid it during the middle part of the day.

Shidzewan 西子灣.  This is without a doubt the most heavily touristed part of Kaohsiung.  Nothing there is half as awesome as stuff you'd find in Taipei, but if you lower your expectations it can be a fun day trip.

From Shidzewan you can take a ferry across to Chi Jin 旗津 Island.  Chi Jin Island is NOT Kenting (not even close), but it's still much better than Syiaogang to the south.  You can rent bicycles there, watch boats, and have some good seafood.

The Old British Consulate.

For that matter, Shidzewan itself has some points of interest.  The old British Consulate 打狗英國領事館 features some interesting exhibits and a nice teashop, and there's an excellent view of ships passing in and out of Kaohsiung Port.

Shidzewan is also close to Kaohsiung's Love River 愛河, which boasts - in my opinion - the best Lantern Festival in Taiwan.  Just don't try driving a car into that area during the festival - you'll sorely regret it.

One place to avoid is the Kaohsiung City History Museum 高雄市立歷史博物館.  Definitely one of the most boring/irrelevant museums in Taiwan.

Kaohsiung Port.  Chi Jin on the far right, the 85 Skytower in the middle, and Shidzewan in the left foreground.

If you really want to learn about Kaohsiung's history, and if you really want to know what makes that city tick, look no farther than the Kaohsiung Port.  The rest of Kaohsiung grew up around that port, and prior to its construction Kaohsiung was little more than a fishing village.  It was the port that brought industry to Kaohsiung, and it's still the mainstay of Kaohsiung's whole economy.  It's little wonder that they built the 85 Skytower 高雄85大樓*, Dream Mall 夢時代, the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center 高雄展覽館, and Jung Shan University 中山大學** within easy reach of this important place.

But is it interesting?  Only if you like boats.  Lucky for me I'm fascinated by boats, so of course Kaohsiung Port has its attractions for me.  

Then again I am kind of weird, so yeah, maybe give it a miss?

Related Entries:

Kaohsiung, According to the MRT and My Faulty Memory (Red Line)
台灣西方文明初體驗 The Influence of Western Civilization on Taiwan (1 of 4)
Shopping Around Taitung City 在台東市逛街
The Airport MRT

*The 85 Skytower is the tallest, most famous building in Kaohsiung, although many people would be at a loss to tell you what its name is.  You can see this building from just about anywhere in Kaohsiung, and it's located near the Sanduo Shopping District MRT Station.  Don't bother going there.  It's more a landmark than a functional space.

**There's a surprisingly nice swimming beach near Jung Shan University, though who knows what's in the water there.  I can only tell you that it hasn't killed me... yet.