Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lanyu Island part 3

After scooting around the southern half of the island we cut across it to get home via the central cross-island road which winds its way through the ups and downs of the mountainous central saddle of the island. Upon returning from our jaunt we were greeted by an alien visitor on the steps leading down to the church basement. He, or she, did not communicate in any language we understood and we could only guess at what it was trying to tell us.

I suspect that it had somehow detected our super-intelligence and was trying to contact us. Perhaps it was just lonely and was yearning for some good conversation.

After lunch we headed off again, this time to circumnavigate the top half of the island.

It was quite windy. You know it's windy when even my limited hair is windblown.

There are strange and interesting formations of rock strewn about the island and many of them have been given names, for example, Dragon Head Rock, Two Lions Rock, Old Man Rock, Helmet Rock, Tank Rock, Bear Cave, Lover's Cave, etc. This particular formation (in the photo) is called Virgin Rock, probably because... uh... well, I guess it has never been kissed.

The island abounds in nature's gifts of beauty rich and not so rare, like these goats. There must be thousands of goats on the island. You always see them wandering around, grazing, trotting down the street, and so on. You can also see them making their way up or down the mountain sides. I couldn't help thinking that there must sometimes be casualties: goats slipping on wet rocks and plunging to their doom; rocks underfoot coming loose and the goats standing on them plunging to their doom; other footing-related, plunging-to-one's-doom scenarios.

On our way around the northern shores of the island we passed by two large grottoes that seemed to be cemeteries. What you can actually see in the photo above is the mouth of a cave of the left, a fence around the entrance, and a few people standing near a cross down the pathway from the cave-mouth. Although other tourists weren't too shy to stop and take photos, we didn't feel that is was appropriate. I think we were also a little bit uncomfortable with the potential invasion of privacy our photo-opping might cause because we had been warned earlier that day by the lady managing the church sleeping quarters that a Taiwanese tourist had had his camera taken forcefully from him after taking photos of a Yami funeral. We had been warned to be particularly careful in three villages on the northern and eastern side of the island that were all holding funerals that day. Given the state of aboriginal-tourist relations, a photo shoot in the cemetery on the northern side of the island didn't seem like a good idea at the time.

We scooted around the northern half of the island then took the cross-island road back to base. Among other things we did a bit of reading while the Lanyu twilight emerged from behind the sky as the blue hues faded with the sun's plunge into the ocean. I read some more of my book, The Curse of the Viking Grave by Farley Mowat. This would be our last night on Lanyu and tomorrow we would be going home.

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