Sunday, April 23, 2006

Part 2 of First Road Trip: Shifen

Ok I'm a little slow...but you're in for a real treat!
After we left the tea museum in Pinglin, we drove to a small town called Shifen. "Shi" means "ten" in Chinese. The town was named "Shifen" because there used to be ten families working together in this town. It was once a town for coal mining. The nearby Pingshi Branch Railroad was built in 1918 for coal transportation, but was selected to be a tourist trail railroad in 1992. We had lunch at Shifen Station which was full of beautiful and nostagic scenery and artifacts.
On the way to Shifen, we noticed what I thought were "burning kites" in the sky. We later found out they were sky lanterns, which is "a paper lantern with a combustible element attached to the underside. When the element is lit hot air rises into the lantern sack and the lantern floats into the sky like a hot-air balloon." (Thank you Lonely Planet Guide to Taiwan!). They looked SO cool. I couldn't get a good shot of them, unfortunately. Paper lanterns were used long ago to send signals to people who lived in remote mountainous villages to warn them of an impending invasion from bandits and marauders.

BUT! This is the reason why we visited Shifen. First, we walked across a bridge:

Then we followed a cobblestone path along the Keelung River to another (smaller bridge):

And we walked alongside the railroad tracks...until we reached this!

Here is a 3 second video for your viewing pleasure! (I made a longer one, but I have to figure out how to edit it).

Video Hosting - Upload Video - Photo Sharing

It's like a mini Niagra Falls...just gorgeous. I promised Anjoli that she could post some pictures from Shifen on her blog, so be sure to check those out too! They'll be up soon (really!). Here are a few shots of the surrounding area:


BallerinaGurl said...

Oh WOW that waterfall is stunning! I also just LOVE the photo of everyone with the statues that country is stunning. I am so happy to find you are not the kick-back-in-front-of-the-tv kind of Mom. I love the adventures you take your readers on.

I also am such a fan of the education you offer when I read up on your adventures! Wish I was there!

Have a fab week!

Suesjoy said...

Aw thank you Molls! You're so sweet. I'm so glad you are enjoying our adventure here!
It's turned out to be much better than I had anticipated...

Debby C said...

Nice pictures!!! Thanks for the well wishes...yeah I dont if Pete will be on the same page as far as having a WHO WEDDING...but it's always nice to dream!

Kid Ric said...

Hi Sue,

Simply beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing them.

Yea long time no see. Been having a dreadful time with my PC. Sheesh!

Peace, love and light to you and yours,

lryicsgrl said...

YEAH, I finally got on here.
I love, love this blog.
I can't wait for the next installment!
"Travels with Suesjoy"
My best to you and yours, as always.

btw, I didn't realize Pete didn't care for poor ol Janis. I love her. Summertime and Bobby Mcgee(SP) and Mercedes Benz.....ah, it's unamerican not to adore those tunes!!! I still like ya anyway. As for Pete, well.....hmmm? Ah, he still looks good in those jeans, I'll give him a pass this time.. ha ha


Marietta said...

Sue these pictures are so beautiful!
I so want to visit Taiwan now! The waterfall video has beautiful colours...

Thank you for linking me!

Have lots more beautiful aventures like this


E.L. Wisty said...

Again, stunning sights. Taiwan is truly a place for all the senses. One question: what are those little statues behind you in one of the photos? From the face they look like Buddha but I had the impression that Buddha is always depicted sitting.

Delbut said...

Wow, that is beautiful. It looks like the bridge on the river kwai.

I have ordered some new "aftershave" for you!!!

Yeaah the t.v. bit was a load of bo@"+cks. The only time i'll get on t.v. is an, "Oprah" type show, probably entitled... " Men and animals...let us help you."

Suesjoy said...

Molly: As Anjoli says,"no you're not a kick-back-in-front-of-the-tv mom, you're a never-get-off-the-computer-mom!"
Guilty as charged.
Did you know it's "National T.V./Computer Free Week" in the States? YIKES! Oh I couldn't do that...
Thank you for your sweet comment.
Debby: Oh I think Pete has a special place in his heart for you...ya nevah know...
Kid ric: Thanks! I hope your PC is behaving. Nice to see you back.
Sue! Mikey gave us both shout outs! Oh how cool is that? I left a detailed comment on your blog...
Marietta - well, you are the observant one - the pond is called "Rainbow Pond" it's more rainbow-like on sunny days though. It was raining the day we were there.
Maria - I did a bit of research - I am almost positive the statues are of Kuan Yin. She is the female manifestation of the Boddhitsava (a Buddha in the making). It's funny -on the way to the waterfall, the road was lined with these statues for about a mile (it seemed). I thought to myself, well, water is
"yin" or feminine in nature (it is the basis of all life) so maybe she represents water or life.
The child like figures that sometimes accompany her are her two acolytes, who appeared to her when meditating at Mount Putuo, Long NĂ¼ and Shan Tsai.
I have been drawn to her for awhile...I'd like to get a nice statue of her to bring home.
Thanks for asking - I've been meaning to find out more about her. (I found the info on Wikipedia).
You're right about the Buddha - I've also seen reclining Buddhas though.
Delbut - It does look like the Bridge over River Kwai. It was such a beautiful place. I have to go back...I will in June, when my in-laws visit.
Aftershave, perfume...bring it on!
"Can't pretend that getting older never hurts."
So sad about me...

Delbut said...

Cross your legs, ay? Bend over?

Dont trust those Manchester blokes. Real cagey fellas.

Any photos of that training session?

lryicsgrl said...

oh yeah,
I came here to tell you that we got our shouts together!!!! I liked that!

Gotta run........take care Sue D


Marietta said...

Sue why can't you see the video on my blog?
Try again, maybe you'll be luckier this time. Otherwise go to YouTube and search for The Who videos. That's how I found it, among other gems...


High Number said...

It's really funny but I don't understand Mandarin. But I do understand Cantonese...well, a little.
I did follow Mandarin lessons, I didn't like it. Ha!

greekzoe said...

Hi Sue!

I love these pictures. The video was cool. I feel like I've been to Taiwan. Virtually anyway.It would have been interesting to see the "burning kites".

Thanks for the always beautiful photos!


Tausha71979 said...


You have outdone yourself!! I can't stop looking at all of the beautiful photos!!! I really want to visit now, seems that there is so much more to see then I had thought=)

Oh I went for a little ass kicking today, and my body is killing me! Though I have to say that I feel really great=) Us gym girls rule!!!

I hope that you had/having a good day, wow I have to look at the photos again:)


Suesjoy said...

Hi Marietta-
I got to see the video after all. I was just too impatient to wait for it to load, I think. Thanks for sharing that! I'm going to have to check out more Who stuff on YouTube.
Hey Zoe- glad you like the virtual tour! I know, I think I need to get a "real" camera one of these days! I have a 35 mm but it needs repair...and I have a telephoto lens too (that I found in a refuge in Rhode Island). I have the luck of the Irish!
Hi High - (I love saying that). Oh man, I need to try harder with Mandarin. I'm not in study mode here at all. I just like going to the classes. I really just wanted to meet people (ok expats!).
Tausha - oh I hope I didn't outdo myself. I have much more from ANOTHER (longer) road trip...stay tuned!

E.L. Wisty said...

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the info on the statues. I actually didn't know there are female manifestations of Boddhisattva - but then again my knowledge of Buddhism is limited to the basics taught at school a long time ago. Very interesting...

Monsoon said...


Thank you so much for the words of encouragment on my blog. I know that exercise is vital, and I have been doing it for quite some time. I have lost approsx. 55 pounds. It's just that I've struggled so much lately that I haven't been very good with myself. So now taht I am finished tomorrow with my math exam, i will try to focus on my inner self for a while. I will be needing it.

Judging by the pictures you are having a great time over there. wow! Looks stunning and breath-taking for sure! How exciting it must be to live in a country so different form what you're used to!


I will link to you, so that I can keep checking up on you. Hope tht is ok.

Hugs from Monsoon (Eilen is my real name)

lryicsgrl said...

Hi Sue,
Thanks so much for your birthday greetings, btw, they weren't really that late, actually, you were spot on the day...
I would love to send you pics of Taylor, as soon as I download them, and if you don't mind, I am more comfortable with emailing you the pics, so if you get a email from yahoo, that's me!
Doing that report with Taylor was fun and EASY, as all our information came from interviews, so Taylor speaking in first person as Rachel was a natch. I put in the part about Pete Townshend and The Who. Taylor said, "Mom, how will my friends know who Pete is?" I said "oh their parents know who he is". And she used that in her report. She is so clever!

Lipstick Addiction said...

Very beautiful pics you have here! What a fanastic blog for sure! You are so blessed to be so well traveled and have such an adventure!