2013年10月1日 星期二

Blog Archive 27 很久很久以前的文章

1. Hello Again (August 2013)

Back from my LONG vacation in Seattle.  I'll probably be writing about this vacation AT LENGTH next time, but before then I thought I'd post something here, in case readers of this blog were beginning to wonder whether or not I was still alive.

We left Seattle on August 27, and despite it being 3 PM, despite our flight being 10 hours long, we arrived in Japan (where we changed planes) almost the same time we started.  Apparently this has something to do with the International Date Line, but I prefer to think that somewhere over the Pacific we crossed into a parallel universe.  This parallel universe - to all intents and purposes identical to our own in almost every respect - is inhabited exclusively by people who love and adore me, so that I never need be sad, lonely, or angry again.

Anyway, after a lot of foolishness with buses, taxis, and other vehicles we pulled in front of my apartment building, where I was glad to finally empty all my luggage and take a long, well-deserved rest.  The same day I had a meeting at work, which seemed very surreal due to an advanced case of jet lag.

All of which brings me to the present time, during which I sit here typing and drinking my terrible 7-11 coffee.  I am glad to only have two classes today, and I am glad that it's Friday.  If it was Monday, or if it was a day with more classes, I would be in trouble.

Hope you had a good summer, wherever you went and whatever you did.

2. Our Seattle Summer 在西雅圖的暑假 1 (September 2013)

Greenwood Car Show, Seattle

My wife, my two daughters, and I went back to Seattle this summer.  We were there for a little over two months, from the end of June to the end of August.  As I write this I have just returned to Taiwan, after a very stressful return trip through a typhoon. 

今年暑假我和我太太及女兒回去西雅圖。 我們六月底離開台灣八月底回來總共在那裡兩個多月。  我寫這篇文章的同時我們才剛回台灣不久, 雖然有颱風的阻撓還是安全地抵達台東。

Carkeek Park, Seattle

Going from Taitung to Seattle is generally not fun.  It involves taking either a train or a plane to Taipei, and from Taipei taking a flight to Seattle.  This sounds easy, but in practice it can grow quite complicated.  During my recent trip back, for example, I rode in two cars, two planes, two taxis, and one train.  There are also those in-between moments in which my daughters argue, in which I'm forced to wade through long lines, or in which I'm the surprise victim of random security checks. 

從台東到美國西雅圖的路程很遠 。 不是搭火車就是飛機到台北之後再搭機飛往西雅圖   聽起來很簡單實際上卻不是如此。例如這一次我們從美國回來我們坐了二次汽車二班飛機二次計程車和最後的火車。 除了交通工具之外還要歷經我兩個孩子吵架的時間很長的排隊的時間和被隨機攔下進行安全檢查的時間。

Green Lake, Seattle

But of course it's all worth it when I finally get there.  During this trip the weather was excellent, and I had the chance to visit many new places.  I can only think back to a couple days when I was truly bored, and this was because I was anxious to go camping. 

雖然去美國的過程很累可是到達目的地的時候就覺得很值得 。 那一陣子西雅圖的天氣很棒而且我們有機會去很多沒去過的地方。  期間只有兩三天覺得很無聊因為那兩三天我等著去露營。

Gordito's Mexican Restaurant, Seattle

We spent the first week hanging out in Seatttle, and visiting places that we missed when we were in Taiwan.  On the first day I walked around the local Fred Meyer in a daze, wondering how most Americans can make a decision when confronted with so many kinds of everything.  During the same day we visited my favorite Mexican restaurant, and also spent time catching up with my parents. 

在西雅圖的第一個禮拜我們都在西雅圖市區去我們在台灣最想念的地點。  第一天我走到我父母家附近的Fred Meyer, 那家店裡的每樣商品的選擇性多到讓人很難決定要買什麼 ,真懷疑大部分的人如何抉擇﹖同一天我們到我最喜歡的墨西哥餐廳吃飯並跟我父母聊天。

Discovery Park, Seattle

At the end of June we went to a lot of Seattle parks, especially Green Lake and Discovery.  The weather was terrific, but unfortunately it was still too cold for swimming.  We also visited the waterfront a couple times, wandering through the Pike Place Market and taking in the view from the piers. 

六月的最後那個禮拜我們去好多西雅圖的公園最常去的是Green LakeDiscovery。 雖然西雅圖的天氣很棒但還是沒辦法游泳因為那邊的水太冷了。  我們也去了二次西雅圖的海濱跟Pike Place市場看風景。

Museum of Flight, Seattle

In June I also visited the Greenwood Car Show, which was very crowded.  I visit this car show every time I go back to Seattle, mostly because my dad is obsessed with cars.  It is a very masculine event, and my wife and daughters had the good sense to remain home, watching television. 
六月時我也去熱鬧的Greenwood Car Show 。我每次回去都會參加這個活動因為我爸爸超愛汽車。 這個活動沒有很多女人參加我太太跟我女兒也不想去。 她們三個留在家裡看電視。

Money Creek campground, Washington

Then July arrived.  In July my brother came up from Oakland, and my sister came up from Los Angeles with her husband.  While my brother and sister were up in Seattle we didn't go out much, but we had a good time talking, remembering, and catching up. 

七月的時候我弟弟從Oakland回來我妹妹和妹夫也從加州開車到西雅圖 。 他們在西雅圖時我們很少一起外出大部分時間做的事昰聊天。

Money Creek campground, Washington

In July we also went camping three times.  During the first trip we drove up Highway 2 to Skykomish, and from there on to Leavenworth and the Lake Chelan area.  We had a great time, even though my daughters were suffering from TV withdrawal.  Shortly thereafter my friend from Taiwan stayed with us for about a week, and we took him and his wife camping in the same area.  After they went back to Taiwan, I ran the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon. 

我們在七月時去露營三次 。 第一次我們開車從第二公路到Skykomish, 之後到LeavenworthLake Chelan這個地區。  我們玩得很開心可惜我的孩子想回去看電視。 後來我台灣的朋友也到西雅圖跟我們住一個星期 ,我們也帶他們到這附近露營。   他們回台灣之後我參加了Tacoma Narrows半馬拉松。

Columbia River, Eastern Washington

The beginning of August was probably the highlight of our trip.  During this week we drove to Yellowstone, and camped between Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  This was my first visit to Yellowstone, and I was understandably impressed by the scenery.  I still think that Glacier National Park is a better choice for those first visiting Montana, but Yellowstone is certainly worth the drive. 

八月的第一個禮拜應該是我們暑假最棒的部分。  因為我們開車到黃石國家公園去一路上在華盛頓州愛達荷州跟蒙大拿州露營。這是我第一次去黃石國家公園所以我對那裡的風景印象很深刻。 我覺得Glacier國家公園是第一次到蒙大拿州的人的較好選擇只是黃石國家公園的景色值得你一路上開車的辛勞。

3. Our Seattle Summer 在西雅圖的暑假 2  (September 2013)

Pike Place Market

We spent A LOT of money in Montana.  Most of this money went toward gas and restaurants.  We usually cooked our own dinner in whatever campground we were visiting, but it was difficult not to eat lunch out every day.  I must add that I also spent a large sum on beer. 
我們在蒙大拿州花了很多錢, 大部分是油錢和去餐廳吃飯。 我們通常在露營區煮晚餐但是在外面煮午餐不方便 , 而且我也花了很多錢買啤酒。

Seattle Waterfront

Before we knew it the end of August was approaching, and it was hard not to count the days until we got back on the plane.  I found myself wishing for more time, especially because I could see that leaving would be hard on my mom.  She only sees us every two years or so, and no sooner are we reacquainted than we are in the airport - yet again - saying goodbye. 
八月快要結束時我越來越覺得回去的那一天快到了。 我開始希望在西雅圖的時間可以變長一點因為我知道我們離開以後我媽媽會很難過。她每兩年跟我們見一次面我們在一起的時間很短 一下子我們又在飛機場再一次說再見。

Chuck E. Cheese, Alderwood

During our last week in Seattle I attended my first Mariners game in Safeco Field.  I went to see Black Sabbath at the Gorge the day after.  To my surprise, I enjoyed the Mariners game more than the concert.  This might have been because I got falling down drunk at the Mariners game.  This might have been because I also saw Sabbath back in 1999, just before I first moved to Taiwan. 
八月的最後一個禮拜我第一次去Safeco Field看西雅圖水手隊的棒球賽 ,  我也去了Gorge AmpitheaterBlack Sabbath樂團表演 。 讓我驚訝的昰我喜歡棒球賽勝過於樂團表演 ,  可能是因為看棒球賽時我喝得很開心 ,  也可能是因為我在1999年看過Black Sabbath的表演了 

I-90, Eastern Washington

All in all it was a great vacation - maybe the best ever.  Of course it wasn't cheap to stay in Seattle for so long - even though we stayed with my parents - but I think the expense was worth it.  By the time August 27 finally rolled around, we had actually spent less money than we'd originally anticipated. 
這個暑假可能是我們有史以來最棒的假期了 ,當然去美國那麼久旅費不便宜 (就算是住在我父母家 ,但是還是很值得的 。 直到827我們在美國的旅費不如我們想像的多。

Lolo National Forest, collecting firewood

My only real complaint about our vacation is the traffic in Seattle.  We often encountered gridlock where I-5 meets I-90, and the combination of 520 closures, Highway 99 closures, and various sports events made for stressful drives.  There were a lot of drivers in Seattle with predictably short tempers, and one had to be careful when crossing the street. 
我暑假最討厭的事情就是西雅圖的交通 。 我們常常在I-5I-90交會處碰到塞車或是520或是99公路停用還是其他的運動比賽讓西雅圖的路況很糟糕 。 那裡的駕駛很容易生氣,  在那邊過馬路要很小心。

Gallatin National Forest

It's funny, looking over them now, how little the pictures here convey.  When I remember our trip, it is all the things that aren't in these pictures that I miss.  I miss the smell of the trees in Montana.  I miss the smell of beer in the breweries.  I miss the sound of people talking, and the taste of the food.  Mostly I miss the warmth of times spent with my family, and the excitement of driving off into the unknown.
我現在看這些照片覺得很奇怪 ,我最想念的東西都不在裡面我想念的是蒙大拿州的樹香啤酒廠的味道人們講話的聲音還有食物的味道。  我最想念的是跟家人在一起溫暖的感覺和開車前往陌生地方的興奮心情 

Yellowstone National Park

I wish that I could take you there.  Not only to Seattle, but to the moments spent in that place.  I wish I could explain how the sky looks from Orondo Beach, but these things have to be experienced, and words fail to express them.  Hopefully you can get out there yourself some day, if you haven't been already. 
我很想帶你們一起去 不只是西雅圖 而是我們旅程中去過的所有地方 ,我希望可以跟你們介紹Orondo Beach的天空可是這是文字或圖片都形容不來的感覺 ,  希望你們有一天可以去那裏親身經歷。

Cape Disappointment State Park

I wonder when I'll get out to Seattle again.  Two years?  Three?  However long it is, I hope it's sooner rather than later.  I still want to get out to Grand Teton National Park, and I'd like to spend more time around Grand Coulee.  I will also be missing my Seattle family and friends, and I look forward to a day when we can talk again. 
我不知道什麼時候可以再回去 ,  兩年還是三年﹖ 我希望不用太久 ,  我還想去Grand Teton國家公園也想再去Grand Coulee  , 我當然也很想念美國的親戚朋友,  我期待下次的再見。

Mariners Vs. Angels

Time goes by so fast.  I can't believe it's already September, and that I am typing this in Taiwan.  It's good to be back in Taitung, but I can't help but feel a little bit sad, looking at these pictures of places that I won't see for at least two more years, if not longer.  The world might seem small at times, but it's still a long, expensive way from here to there.  I don't think having good times in Taiwan will be a problem, but we all miss our hometowns now and then. 
時間過得很快 ,  不敢相信已經九月回到台東是很快樂的事情,  只是覺得在台灣的感覺很奇怪 看到上面的那些照片想到最快還要兩年才有機會回去我就開始有思鄉情懷 。 世界有時候看起來很小可是到西雅圖還是又貴又遠  。我在台灣的生活是美好的只是有時想念我的家鄉.

4. Taitung's New Movie Theater (September 2013)

It feels strange to write this, but as of this summer Taitung 台東 has a new movie theater.  This new movie theater is near the corner of Shin Sheng Road 新生路 and Guang Ming Road 光明路, in downtown Taitung.

The new movie theater, Showtime 秀泰電影城 by name, is the second cinema to open in Taitung.  The first cinema was on Da Tong Road 大同路, not far from the Seashore Park 海濱公園.  The old movie theater was about the size of my living room, and it burned down two or three years ago.  Some locals have fond memories of it, but I can’t say that I miss it all that much.

In the interim between the burning down of the old movie theater and the opening of the new one, they showed movies at the Cultural Center 文化中心 on Nan Jing Road 南京路.  This, in my opinion, was the best place to see movies.  It was never crowded there, the screen was huge, and the tickets were cheap.  The Cultural Center didn’t have the best selection of films, but wandering down there to see the latest blockbuster was enough for me.  I always felt that the ease of seeing movies in that place far outweighed the poor picture quality.

But of course not everyone felt that way.  A lot of people wanted Taitung to have a “real” movie theater, primarily as a way of attracting tourists.  The Taitung County Government, ever responsive when it comes to business, went out of its way to make this happen.  Almost before anyone knew it, they were digging up the old Guo Gwang Bus Station 國光客運, and laying the foundations of what was to be Taitung’s first true multiplex.

After I returned from Seattle this August, I had my chance to see this multiplex for myself.  My wife and I snuck out to see “Elysium,” and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I never imagined something so big and so modern sitting in the middle of Taitung City.  There were stores and restaurants on two floors, escalators that worked flawlessly, and on top of the building there was the multiplex itself, with more screens than I could readily comprehend.  Not only were they playing “Elysium” in this multiplex, but also several other films at the same time.  Not only could I see a movie there, but I could also visit Mister Donut, buy clothes at Uniqlo, or enjoy the most expensive hot pot yet seen in Taitung.  It was all a little hard to process.

And as you might imagine, most of the people there were tourists.  There were tourists from Taipei, tourists from Japan, and (I'm sure) at least a couple of tourists from China.  As I stood there, waiting for the movie to start, I reflected on the growth that Taitung's tourism industry has experienced, and how much things have changed since I first moved here in 2006.  Back in 2006, if anyone had tried to build this kind of multiplex they would have been laughed out of the county.  Back in 2006, it would have been a no-win proposition.

Yet then again, it might still be.  I can’t help but wonder how many people frequent this multiplex during the weekdays, and I can’t help but wonder what their business will be like from September to January.  It will take a lot of money to keep that theater open.  It will take even more money to keep those clothing stores and restaurants profitable.  Can the tourists really sustain that place?  The 200,000 or so people in Taitung City sure can’t.

I guess we’ll just have to see.  Similar places stay open in Hualien City 花蓮市, but then Hualien City has at least three times as many people as Taitung.  It might be that the place is closed before next summer.  It might be that the whole thing was a scam from day one.  In Taitung you never know.  Often a building project like that starts out with the best intentions, and then someone higher up gets their hands on it, and finds a way to launder cash through the project.  I’m not saying this is the case with the movie theater, but one never knows.

I kind of hope the place stays open.  It will be nice to see the big blockbusters on the day they come out, and to have another shopping center with air-conditioning.  At the same time, I wouldn’t be so sad if it closed down.  In the event, I could just go back to Kaohsiung’s Dream Mall 高雄的夢時代, a place where I prefer seeing movies anyway.  No matter what stores Showtime has, it will never have screens as big as Dream Mall, or as many stores and restaurants to choose from.  You can easily spend a day in Dream Mall, while half a day in Showtime is already pushing it.

I realize that the attraction of a place like Taitung is the slower pace of life, and the lack of development.  With this in mind, the idea of a multiplex in Taitung can be kind of depressing.  It helps to remember that one person’s “east coast paradise” is another person’s crushing poverty, and there were a number of economic reasons behind building this movie theater.  While I can’t say that I favor this kind of development, at least it’s not another coral jewelry outlet, or something even worse for the environment.

Wherever you are, happy Moon Festival 中秋節快樂.  Perhaps I’ll be seeing you at the movies.

5. Moon Festival/Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節 (September 2013)

Happy Moon Festival!!!  中秋節快樂!!!

The Chinese here was written by 張青史, while the English was written by me.  This version of "Taiwanese Holiday Stories" (台灣節日故事) was published by Windmill Illustrated 風車圖書 in 2012. 


Mid-Autumn Festival

(15th Day of the 8th Lunar Month)

農曆八月十五日是我國傳統的中秋佳節.  這時候是一年秋季的中期所以稱作中秋.  農民曆裡一年分為四季每季又分孟季三期因此中秋也稱作仲秋.  八月十五日的月亮又比其他月分的月亮更圓更明亮所以也稱為秋節仲秋節八月節女兒節或團圓節是全國眾多民族共同的傳統文化節日也是僅次於春節的第二大傳統節日.  The 15th day of the 8th lunar month is the Mid-Autumn Festival, our country’s traditional holiday.  This time falls within the middle of autumn every year, so it is called Mid-Autumn.  In the lunar calendar, a year is divided into four seasons, and each season is divided into periods called “Meng,” “Jong,” and “Ji”.  Because of this, Mid-Autumn Festival is also called “Autumn Jong.”  During the 15th day of the 8th lunar month the moon is fuller and brighter than in other months, so this day is also called Autumn Festival, Autumn Jong Festival, 8th Month Festival, Daughter’s Festival, or Reunion Festival.  It is a holiday unique to our country’s people and culture, and after Chinese New Year it is the most important traditional festival.

這天夜晚人們仰望天空玉盤般的明月自然而然會期望與家人團聚.  遠在異鄉的遊子也藉此寄託對家人和故鄉的思念之情所以又稱為團圓節”.  During the evening on this day, people look up to the sky, and see the moon hanging like a great jade plate.  During this time families are also reunited, and those living in the most distant places return home to enjoy their families and the memories of the places where they grew up.  For this reason Mid-Autumn Festival is also called “Reunion Festival.”

中秋一詞最早見於周禮一書而真正形成全國性的節日則是在唐朝.  周代在中秋夜要舉行迎寒和祭月.  祭品中月餅和西瓜是絕對不能少的.  在月下將月亮神像放在月亮的方向點燃紅燭全家祭拜燃後由當家主婦切開團圓月餅.  切的份數要先算好全家的人數不論在家裡或在外地的都要計算在內不能多切也不能少切大小也要一樣.  The earliest record of the phrase “Mid-Autumn” occurs in the book “Jhou Li,” and the earliest description of this nationwide holiday goes back to the Tang Dynasty.  During the Jhou Period they held a “welcome the winter and worship the moon” activity, and during this activity they made numerous offerings of moon cakes and watermelons.  During the following month, it was thought that the moon god was present on the moon, and they lit red candles, the whole family made offerings, and afterward the family was reunited and the women would cut the moon cakes.  Before they cut the cakes they had to calculate the number of people in their family, regardless of whether these people were in the house or in some other place.  Everyone had to be counted, it was not permitted to cut too many or too few pieces, and the pieces had to be the same size.

在北宋八月十五夜不論貧父老少都要穿上成人的衣服焚香拜月祈求月亮神的保佑.  南宋時民間以月餅相互餽贈.  清以來中秋節的風俗更加盛行許多地方形成放天燈走月亮舞火龍等特殊的風俗.  During the Northern Song Period, on the night of the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, no matter one’s wealth or age, all had to wear adult clothes, make offerings to the moon, and seek the moon god’s protection.  During the Southern Song Period, people gave moon cakes to each other.  After the arrival of the Ming and Ching dynasties, the customs surrounding Mid-Autumn Festival became more firmly established.  In many places they hung lanterns, strolled beneath the moon, engaged in the “fire dragon dance” and other special customs.

台灣早期在中秋節流行吃月餅柚子闔家團圓賞月最近十多年來則盛行在這一天夜晚舉行烤肉大街小巷香味四溢令人垂涎三尺.  說不定哪一天人們會把中秋節稱作烤肉節”.  From the earliest times it has been fashionable to eat moon cakes in Taiwan during Mid-Autumn Festival, and also to eat pomeloes and walk with one’s reunited family beneath the moon.  In the past few decades it has become popular to barbeque during the evening on this day, and from every street and alley comes the mouthwatering smell of food cooking.  It may be that one day people will call Mid-Autumn Festival “Barbecue Day.”

台灣從前流傳著偷著蔥嫁好尪偷著菜嫁好婿的諺語因此未婚女子會在中秋節晚上去別人的菜園偷拔蔥或蔬菜只要成功了表示很快會嫁個如意郎君.  這種說法其實沒有科學根據而且偷拔菜是違法行為所以現在已經不流行了.  In Taiwan has also persisted the “steal an onion, marry well, steal a vegetable, marry a good husband” superstition.  Because of this, on the evening of Mid-Autumn Festival unmarried women will sneak into other people’s gardens and steal onions or [other] vegetables.  If they succeed, it means that they will soon marry their “Mr. Right.”  This superstition has no scientific basis, and it is also bad to steal vegetables, so this behavior is not so fashionable now.

6. Moon Festival and Typhoon Usagi (September 2013)

How was your Moon Festival?  If you spent it in Taiwan, hopefully it was suitably festive.  If you spent it outside Taiwan, hopefully you had some kind of fun.  I'm not sure how big a deal Moon Festival is in China, Singapore, and Hong Kong, but perhaps it was equally festive in those places too.

Those of us in Taiwan spent most of our Moon Festival indoors.  Typhoon Usagi arrived last weekend, so Moon Festival for most Taiwanese people was WINDY.  The rain didn't really start until Friday, the day after Moon Festival, but it was still difficult to get barbecues started with the wind whipping around like that.

On Moon Festival my mother-in-law came over from Kaohsiung 高雄, and she stayed with us for the entire four-day weekend.  There are certain contexts in which I enjoy my mother-in-law's company, but it is definitely a love/hate relationship.  She has a way of asking the same questions over and over, and being stuck inside with her for three days started to wear on me.

We did manage to barbecue on the roof of our apartment building Thursday night.  We have a pretty good view of Taitung City and its environs from our roof, and aside from the wind it was a pleasant place to barbecue.  The weather was very cool that night, and I got pleasantly drunk while I was eating.

Friday and Saturday, however, were beset by rain.  We weren't really able to go out on either of those days, though we did manage to visit the new (old) steak house on Friday night.  This is the former "Bulls" 公牛隊 steak house, which has recently been renamed and reopened under new management.  I was never fond of "Bulls," and I think their food is much better now.

Saturday was a journey into the darkest heart of boredom.  It rained and rained and rained, and the wind was very strong all day.  I spent most of this day reading Frank Herbert's "The White Plague," which is a truly awful book.  I would have read something else, but "The White Plague" is the last of Frank Herbert's novels I had yet to read, and I was determined to get through it.  I enjoy reading as much as anyone, but getting through that book was like cramming for a particularly unpleasant exam.

By Sunday the typhoon was subsiding, and I was able to get out a bit more.  My mother-in-law also left on Sunday morning, so there was less tension in the house.  We ate hot pot at this place on Shin Sheng Road 新生路, and I was surprised at how good it was.  I also had a chance to go swimming in the Flowing Lake 活水湖, and even though another thunderstorm rolled up at the time it was still great to be in the water.  Swimming in the middle of thunderstorms isn't the safest thing to do, but I found it exhilarating.

By Sunday night Typhoon Usagi was on the way to China, and the weather was growing calm.  I got into bed at a reasonable hour, thankful for the four-day respite from work.  I felt very refreshed and ready for the coming week.

Hopefully you had other good experiences on your last weekend.  It is good to take a break now and then.  Taiwan's next holiday is Double Ten (10/10), and I'll be getting the day off for that one as well.  Have yourself a great week - or at least have yourself a better week.  Perhaps I'll see you during the next barbecue, holiday, or typhoon!

7. Sporting Events in Taitung County 臺東縣: Fall 2013 (October 2013)

I went swimming in Taitung's Flowing Lake 活水湖 last Sunday, and watched some of the "Beauty of Taitung" 台東之美 triathlon.  I think it was the "sprint" competition.

I joined this event two years ago.  Can't say it was the best triathlon I've ever been to.  At the time a typhoon was on the way, and the whole thing was a mess from start to finish.  Hopefully they've learned how to do it better.

The Runner's Market* 跑者廣場 site says there's a Super Ironman coming on 10/12.  I don't attend "super ironmans" myself, owing to the fact that they are incredibly exhausting.  I do enjoy watching them though.  You've never seen Tired until you've seen the LAST guy to finish one of these things.  It's late, maybe eight hours or so after he's started, and he's in serious pain.

There are also many local soccer, table tennis, and badminton competitions during this time.  Most of them will be held in Taitung's Athletic Center 體育場.  These are primarily directed at elementary, junior, and high school students.

On 10/20 there's a running activity in Taitung's Forest Park 森林公園.  To join you are required to bring receipts for charity.  It would best be described as a 3K "fun run."

On 10/26 there's a strange "Dentist's Race" in Hai Duan Township 海端鄉.  I didn't study the rules all that closely, but I think you need to be a dentist to enter.  They have a marathon, a half marathon, and a 10K.  10/26 is also the day that the Taitung Urban and Rural Association 台東城鄉運動協會 hosts the third leg of a round-Taiwan bicycle race in Taitung's Forest Park.  There is also  an associated bicycle activity during this day.

The Taitung Open of Surfing is from 11/15 to 11/17.  I'm not a surfer myself, but I have heard many things - both good and bad - about this competition.

On 11/17 Chr Shang Township is hosting the Taitung Lohas Marathon 樂活馬拉松.  I'll be joining this one for the half marathon.  There are also marathon, 10K, and 5K divisions.  This race will be held on the scenic "Mr. Brown" road 伯郎大道, just south of downtown Chr Shang.

On 12/1 there's the Super Marathon in Chr Shang.  333 KM!  In six days, they run from Chr Shang to Hualien City 花蓮市, then from Hualien City down the coast to Taitung City, and from Taitung City back to Chr Shang, averaging 56 KM a day.  Lord knows why anyone would want to run that far, but I'm sure someone will show up for it.

There's also another, more reasonable marathon in Chr Shang on 12/7, the following weekend.  This marathon also features a half marathon and a 10K.  It starts from the Papago Resort 日暉度假村 in downtown Chr Shang, not far from the train station.  I'll probably go if I'm free that weekend.

And after this marathon there are no races scheduled until March 2014.  Perhaps I'll see you in Chr Shang!

8. Double Ten Day 雙十節 2 (October 2013)

The Chinese here was written by 張青史, while the English was written by me.  This version of "Taiwanese Holiday Stories" (台灣節日故事) was published by Windmill Illustrated 風車圖書 in 2012.

Double Ten Day (Taiwanese Independence Day)
(National Calendar, October 10)

滿清自入關統治中國以後, 對漢族採取婒酷的壓迫政策.  到了清朝末年, 官府腐敗無能, 官吏肆意搜刮人民的財物, 百姓生活痛苦不堪, 因此內亂四起.  加上列強不斷的侵略中國, 清廷屢戰屢敗, 只得割地賠款, 堂堂的中華民族受到如此的侮辱, 不僅使國人的自尊心大受打擊, 甚至連國家也面臨覆亡的命運.  After the Manchus* took administrative control of China, they imposed very oppressive policies upon the Han people.  By the end of the Ching Dynasty, the officials had become very weak and without ability, and these officials wantonly plundered the private property of citizens.  The lives of many people were difficult, and for this reason there was unrest in many places.  Added to this were the incursions of foreign powers into China, and the many reversals suffered by the Ching army.  The Ching court was forced to either partition the country or pay reparations, and the noble Chinese people were insulted by this.  It was not only a heavy blow to the people's pride, but the country also faced extinction.

國父孫中山先生看到這種情形, 知道民族已經面臨存亡關頭, 如果不推翻滿清政府, 中華民族將會陷入萬劫不復的地步.  於是毅然決然的集合許多愛國同志, 秘密進行革命工作.  When Dr. Sun Yat-sen witnessed these developments, he knew that the people faced a life-threatening crisis.  If the Ching Dynasty was not resisted, the Chinese people would approach a point of no return.  For this reason he gathered many patriots together, and secretly planned a revolution.

公元1894年, 中日爆發"甲午戰爭", 結果清朝戰敗, 被迫簽訂不平等的"馬關條約", 將台灣與澎湖割讓給日本.  在這件事情上, 滿清政府的腐敗無能展露無遺.  於是孫中山先生組織興中會, 倡導國民革命.  從那時起, 轟轟烈烈的革命行動便一次接一次的展開.  In 1894, the Sino-Japanese War erupted between China and Japan.  The Ching Dynasty lost this war, and was forced to sign the unfair Treaty of Shimonoseki, thus ceding the islands of Taiwan and Penghu to Japan.  In this matter the corrupt and inefficient nature of the Ching government was made obvious to all, and at this point Dr. Sun Yat-sen convened the Revive China Society, advocating a nationwide revolution.  From that time, revolutionary activities increased.

革命行動前後共有十一次 , 其中以第十次的廣州起義最壯烈, 犧牲也最慘重; 不過, 促使滿清皇帝退位, 建立中華民國的則是第十一次的武昌起義義.  因為這次起義是發生在辛亥年, 所以又稱作"辛亥革命".  There were 11 revolutionary activities in all.  Listed tenth among these activities was the most heroic of all, the Guangzhou Uprising.  This uprising was also the most costly, but it led to the abdication of the Ching Emperor and the establishment of the Republic of China.  The Wuchang Uprising was the eleventh revolutionary activity.  Because these uprisings happened during the same year as the Shinhai Uprising, they are called the "Shinhai Revolution."

清宣統3年(公元1911年)8月19日, 駐守在武昌的新軍工程第八營熊秉坤等人首先發難.  接著, 各營相繼響應, 革命軍氣勢如虹, 人人奮勇向前.  武漢三鎮首先光復, 不久, 各省也陸續被革命軍佔領.  清朝皇帝見大勢已去, 只好宣布退位.  During the third year of Emperor Puyi**(1911) on August 19, the eighth battalion of the new army was ordered to Wuchang.  The revolutionary army met the Ching forces, and everyone fought courageously.  Wuhan municipality was the first to be liberated, and the other provinces were slowly occupied by the revolutionary forces.  After the Ching Emperor saw these these disasters unfold, the only thing he could do was to abdicate.***

武昌起義是在農曆的8月19日, 換算成陽曆正是10月10日.  這是一個特殊而且直得紀念的日子.  因此, 政府特別訂定這一天為"國慶日", 又稱作"雙十節".  The Wuchang Uprising occurred on the nineteenth day of August in the lunar calendar, which is October 10 in the solar calendar.  This is a special and worthwhile day that ought to be remembered.  Because of this, the government has proclaimed that this day is "National Celebration Day" [Independence Day], and it is also called "Double Ten Day".

現在, 每年雙十節, 總統府前廣場都會舉行盛大的慶祝活動, 有時還會舉行閱兵典禮.  At the present time, during Double Ten Day every year, there is a big celebration in front of the Presidential Manor.  Sometimes there is also a military ceremony.

9. Hualien County, Fu Li Township 花蓮縣富里鄉 (October 2013)

Fu Li Township is in Hualien County, between Chr Shang in Taitung and Yu Li Municipality.  It is sparsely populated, and there are no cities in Fu Li, only towns.  The largest of these towns is Fu Li Town, which is the major transit point for the area.  富里鄉位於花蓮縣, 在台東池上鄉與花蓮玉里鎮中間.  富里的人口很少, 其中並沒有城市, 只有鄉村,  富里鄉最大的村莊是富里村. 它也是富里鄉最大的交通運輸點.

We have driven through Fu Li many times, while we were on the way to Jade Mountain National Park, An Tong Hot Springs, or places further north.  It is a very pretty area, relatively flat, and good for bicycling. 我們往玉山國家公園, 安通溫泉, 和其他較北邊的地方時都會經過富里, 所以我們開車經過富里好幾次.   這個地區很美也很平坦, 很適合騎腳踏車.

The church above is in Fu Li town, near the Fu Li train station.  It is probably the most interesting building in Fu Li.  There are many interesting old churches in this part of Taiwan, and Christianity is particularly strong within the aboriginal communities here.  上面照片中的教堂在富里村, 靠近富里車站, 應該是富里村最有意思的建築物.  台灣東部地區有很多特別的老教堂. 而且基督信仰在原住民社會中很強烈.

Aside from this church, there's really not much to see in Fu Li town.  The tourist information placards in the train station list several historic sites (an old fire engine, various temples, and a few old buildings), but none of it looked especially old or important.  除了這所教堂之外, 富里村的景點不多.  火車站有些地圖跟海報介紹富里的歷史遺跡(一輛消防車, 廟宇, 和其他的舊建築物), 只是所有文化古蹟的年代看起來並不久遠或重要.

This is the view from Fu Li High School, which lies on a hill behind the church.  As you can see, Fu Li is a very rural place, and very undeveloped.  It was Sunday morning, and it seemed like the whole town was either inside their homes or inside the church.  上面的照片是在富里國中拍的.  富里國中位在提到的教堂後面.  你應該看得出來, 富里是個很鄉下的地方, 沒什麼城市發展.  我們去到那裏的時間是星期天 , 感覺好像大部分的人不是在教堂, 就是在自己家裡.

Fu Li is probably best known for the rice it produces.  Like Chr Shang to the south, it has its own brand.  The facility where they package this rice can be seen from Highway 9, though I'm not certain whether or not there is anything for tourists to see within this facility.  I have already visited a similar facility in Guanshan, so I was less than interested in exploring another such place.  富里最有名的產品是富麗米.  他們跟池上一樣有自己的米.  從台9線可以看到他們的米廠, 可是我不知道觀光客可不可以參觀米廠.  我已經參觀過關山的米廠, 所以我對富里的米廠沒有興趣.

After entering Fu Li from the south, the first thing you will come across is the Luo Mountain Scenic area.  In my opinion this is one of the nicest places in east Taiwan, and I have already visited this place more times than I can count.  Taking a right off the highway, a wide road leads you to the Luo Mountain Visitor Center, where the above picture was taken.  I didn't visit the building in the background, but I know they sell lunchboxes and local products within.  從南邊進去富里之後, 你會先經過的地點是羅山遊憩區. 我去過好幾次.  我覺得羅山是東部最好的景點中一個.   從台9線右轉進去以後,順著寬大的馬路開,  你會經過羅山遊憩區遊客中心.  上面的照片就是在那邊拍的.  我沒有去過稻田後的建築物, 可是我知道他們裡面賣便當跟當地的名產.

The highlight of this area has got to be the waterfall and the river below it.  Signs tell you not to enter the water, but everybody does so anyway.  On a hot day this place is wonderful.  They also make tofu in this place, and just below the trail leading to the waterfall there is a restaurant that sells food.  羅山最棒的部分是瀑布跟瀑布下面的小溪. 那邊的牌子警告遊客不可以下水, 但是還是有很多人下去.  天氣熱的時候在這裡很舒服.  羅山這裡有泥火山豆腐.  在步道的起點也有個餐廳賣臭豆腐跟便當.

This is Luo Mountain, from a pond further south.  You can just make out the waterfall in the top right corner.  I have yet to see any tour groups from Mainland China here, and it is largely the haunt of Taiwanese people.  I have never seen any other "foreigners" here.  這是從羅山下的魚池看到的羅山. 羅山瀑布就在右邊山坡後面.  我在這裡沒看過大陸的旅行團, 也沒看過其他的外國人士.

Just up the road from Luo Mountain there is a sign directing you to Luen Tien Conservation Area, but this area was damaged during the last typhoon.  We asked a local policeman about it, and he said not to bother going there.  從羅山往北開, 有個指示牌標示崙天遊憩區, 只是當地的警察說那裏有點荒廢了, 因為之前的颱風把路吹壞了, 所以不用去了.

The most famous place in Fu Li has to be "Sixty Stone" Mountain, at the northern end of the township.  I wish I could put some pictures of it here, but we didn't go up there that day.  We were tired, and the sky was too cloudy.  I've been up there twice before, and I can tell you that the view - on a clear day - is stunning.  富里最有名的地點應該是北部的六十石山.  我很想把六十石山的照片放在這裡, 可是我們那一天沒去那裏.  我們很累, 而且當天也是陰天.  我去過六十石山兩次, 晴天時, 那裡的風景真是超棒的.

Just before you cross into Yu Li Municipality (before the rainbow bridge), there is a sign directing you towards the Yu Chang Highway, which connects Jade Mountain National Park with Chang Bin Township in Taitung.  Along this highway lies the An Tong Hot Spring Area, which I have written about elsewhere.  The picture above was taken there last year.  快到玉里鎮(那個彩虹橋前面), 你會看到玉長公路的路牌.  玉長公路是從台東縣的長濱鄉貫穿到玉山國家公園的南安遊客中心.  玉長公路的介紹是在另外一篇介紹安通溫泉 的文章. 上面的照片是去年在那裏拍的.

10. My New Car (October 2013)

A couple weeks ago we bought a Nissan Tiida.  This is the first new car I have owned.  Prior to buying the Tiida, we were driving a Ford Festiva.  This Festiva was very, VERY old - so old, in fact, that after buying the Tiida we sold it for scrap.

It makes me both happy and nervous, owning a new car.  I am happy because the Tiida is a real pleasure to drive - especially compared to our rusting Festiva, which could barely make it over the next hill.  It has a lot of room inside, and it gets great mileage.

I am nervous, however, because I am continuously worried about speeding, or just plain wrecking the thing.  It is very easy to speed in the Tiida.  I also worry about leaving it in parking lots or on city streets, where it would be easy to scratch.  After the Tiida is paid off, I will have spent more than 400,000 NT, and I'd like to keep it in good condition.

I love the Tiida.  This might sound ridiculous, but it's true.  I was driving that broken down Festiva for so long that I almost forgot what a pleasure driving can be.  As it is, I can only drive it once or twice a weekend, but I look forward to those one or two times every day of the week.

I'm sure that after a while I'll get bored of the Tiida.  It will become just another thing that I own, even if it is the most expensive thing I have EVER owned.  I'll drive it around and forget how much it cost me, or how much worse the Festiva was, or how nice it is to have a place to put my legs.  It will be like any other possession - and then, one day, hopefully far in the future - it will get worn down and I'll have to think about buying yet another car.

But for now I love the Tiida, and I am happy to think about the Tiida as I sit here, typing this.  If I have the time I'm going to drive the Tiida to a hot spring this weekend, and as I sit in the hot spring I'm going to think about the Tiida, and how pleasant it was to drive the Tiida around.

Ah, my Tiida.  I should have bought a new car much sooner.

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