Sunday, October 26, 2008

On an island of many names: Xiao Liouciou, part 2

We eventually found the Hsiao Liouciou Ecological Camping Area. There it lay below us, between the cliffs and the sea, idyllic in all its ecological grandeur.

(picture from )

Actually I don't know what makes it ecological. Perhaps the use of the term in this context derives from a meaning of the word that I am not familiar with. However, the cabins did look very nice and the views were fantastic. The cost of renting a bicycle from the campsite, however, was prohibitive and so we deferred that course of action until a more reasonable offer presented itself. We were limited to purely pedal means of transportation, for example: walking, loping, striding, running, jogging, etc.

The ecological camp provided all the camping gear, which was fantastically, but not surprisingly, terribly convenient. The cost was middling verging on steep but the convenience this option afforded us when compared to what we would have gone through to bring our own gear made the financial sacrifice worthwhile.

Here I am, able to claim transient ownership of this wonderful piece of coastal real estate with genuine ocean views and breezes. Lovely.

Once the tent was up and our belongings organised, we began the long trek back towards the harbour with a view to being able to claim transient ownership of a wonderful piece of mechanised transportation. We ended up renting a scooter from a woman at the harbour, probably the same woman who tried to rent one to us as soon as we walked off the ferry.

This is a good time to provide a little more information about Xiao Liouciou (from the Dapeng Bay website: ):

Liouciou island as a result of the northwest orogenesis occurred in Taiwan is the only island nearby with the coral reef terrain. And being affected by Japan Current influence in Pacific Ocean, the ocean water around is limpid and the fishing production is rich. The total area is 6.8 square kilometers and all the scenery spots are all in line on the island-round road. Water and electricity are transmitted from Taiwan by water pipe and the electric cable on the seabed.
As a coral reef terrain island Liouciou has all the advantages of the marine resource. To experience the fishing village life with unique scenery, pure sea, rich seabed landscape as well as exciting surfing activity is fantastic for all the visitors.
The sea was indeed relatively "pure" and "limpid" in contrast to the dirty, garbage-ridden beach we were used to in An-ping.

Here's Andrea enjoying just being here. We realised once we were half-way back to the sand that we were walking on little starfish for which evolution had chosen an unassuming, black, mossy appearance. Incidental for us; unfortunate for the starfish.

Rocky cliffs. By the sea. Nice.

Rocky grottoes. By the sea. Nice.

Cage aquaculture. ... I guess that's nice too. While checking out what Wikipedia had to say about cage aquaculture, I stumbled upon the fact that off the coast of Newfoundland lies "Dildo Island". Interesting.

Andrea enjoys ocean views Tainanians (people who live in Tainan) can only dream of. In the background another bus-load of mainland-Taiwanese tourists discover the coastal pagoda. We chose not to be in the same place as the other tourists at the same time as them. It was much quieter and nicer.

A little bit more about the island, this time from Wikipedia (

There are no rivers on the island, and farming is very difficult. Most residents make their living by fishing, and in recent years the island has become noted for cage aquaculture. Efforts for planned development received a boost after the island was included in the Tapeng Bay National Scenic Area in 2004. Some of the best known local sights include Black Ghost Cave, Beautiful Maiden Cave, Houshih Rock Formations, and Venice Beach.

We never did get around to checking out Black Ghost Cave but upon returning to Tainan and my beloved internet connection, I found this slightly disconcerting article about the history of the place and the island in the online X-Pat Magazine ( ). In short it appears from the article that the island was cleared of its original aboriginal inhabitants by Dutch forces. I don't know if this act counts as genocidal but it's pretty horrible. Hundreds of women and children burned in a cave? The remaining aboriginal males enslaved in Batavia? The female survivors sent to the mainland to serve as concubines for Dutch officers? You'll have to read it for yourself. It is a dark ending to a weekend away on a tropical island for two burned-out teachers.


Richie said...

"Dildo Island" - you just made that up!
I'm at work and don't dare to google "Dildo Island" to check though, so will take your word for it!

Adrian Brown said...

Ha! I googled it for you. Here's a link.,-Newfoundland-and-Labrador


Richie said...

Okay, fair enough. You do get the feeling that it's all a joke though (sailing up Dildo Arm?)

I did like the "Some residents have tried to change the name several times but to no avail. One person stated, "It was good enough for our forefathers so it's good enough for us."

Although the next comment (that it was featured on the Rove "What the..." segment) makes me feel a little less unique in knowing about it!! Anyway, thanks again for the knowledge!