In Kaohsiung county due to recent typhoons and landslides, traveling is quite limited, many roads are still destroyed, and many people in Taiwan avoid those areas now. However, for me, in love with southern Taiwan, it's hard to resist not to go over those mountain roads again. This time I want to show a bit of small mountain city called Liugui Township (六龜鄉) - it's no information in internet at all about it, and I want to fill this gap. Living here is really dangerous, as the risk of landslides are high, and the discussion whether people should go away from here still remains harsh in Taiwan. Now, in winter, when typhoon season is over, all here looks calm and silent, however, reminders of harsh summer typhoons and landslides are seen everywhere:
You can just imagine the power of raging river and what was happening here just a few month ago.
Mountains all around here looks somewhat like this:
All of them now have such a yellow sand sides, can see where the landslides were, and many of them lost their beautiful green trees cover, and now look like old, bald men standing lonely there.
Such a houses like the one above are at the highest risk to be washed away at next flood and typhoon. And there any many of them, and people prefer stay - would you like to move away from your own home?
Road goes up and up bringing us more to the middle of Kaohsiung county.
If you do not concentrate on the typhoon and landslides, views in Southern Taiwan is as breathtaking as usually.
It's fresh, just rebuilt road - and I hope this time it won't be damaged again so soon.
Luigui (Six Turtles) township itself if calm, rural southern Taiwan township with it's own 7ELEVEN, school, police and all other facilities you will find in any place in Taiwan.
Shops try survive here mostly hoping on passing traffic up to the mountains - to Baolai hotspring area.
One of the most amazing things in Taiwan is the people - they live everywhere - you could drive the smallest road in most remote are - and still, you will find people sitting like this, and socializing.
Luigui School - another thing I like in Taiwan - no matter how small is the township - school will be big enough and good building. Education is important.
If you really happen one day to be in Luigui - stop by to eat in this restaurant - it's common in Taiwan that not bright at all walls does not means that food is terrific and tasty. Local drink stand suggested us to try this, and it was really a good place.
Feeling of real Taiwan - it's how most of small family owned restaurants in rural areas look like.
Green vegetable is always present dish
炒麵 - fried noodles
蛤仔湯 - Clam soup
Nuts, pork and garlic offers really special flavor - very delicious
烤鮭魚 - Grilled salmon
In case you need directions:
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While in Lugang (鹿港），in northwestern Changhua county, it would be a mistake not to visit a vibrant and old spirited place near Tianhou temple, on ZhongShan (中山）street. It's worth to come at evening (not night though) time, then for those, who are more interested in "everything around", rather than temple itself, an interest choice for a food will be offered.
Tienhou temple itself of course it the one of the most bright spots in the area at the evening:
In the Qing Dynasty, general Shi Lang built the first temple of Goddess of Sea in Taiwan. However, as sooner or later you will discover in Taiwan - 7Eleven or Family mart presence in any historical towns and just immediately after such temples are very normal:
Anyway, Taiwan is really so convenient place to live - I had recently saw some polls from foreign expats showing that everyone says same, such things is easy to forgive. You should give up something to get something.
You won't miss also entrance to the area, it's crowded with a people and at evening looks like this:
Just after the entrance night market starts:
This place is almost 100 % associated to dishes related to ousters and special kind of shrimps called, monkey shrimps. Below woman is selling this kind of food, you see 螳螂蝦 一口蟹 溪蝦 蚵嗲 蚵仔酥 - so, different kind of shrimps, ousters and crabs. Tienhou nightmarket is sea and river food paradise, eo expect all food to be prepared of this.
Another popular show around there is like this below, selling religion items, immediately to be used for praying in a temple:
If you have motorbike, parking is not an issue, but for a car - you will need park somewhere outside more far away.
Most interesting in my opinion is the food offerings just left to the temple. I took the video, while wandering near those restaurants:
Ousters cooked with egg, one of popular dish here.
Everyone is concentrated and working hard.
Omelet - in menu look for 蚵仔煎 - ouster omelet.
This offering is similar to the one above - again shrimps and ousters.
蚵嗲 - Ouster cocktail
Ousters served with noodles.
And this is how the it looks like. That's the hero of Tianhou nightmarket. Here all is about and around ouster....
.... in soup finally, if eggs and noodles are not what you want.
They look more terrible than taste - river shrimps.
蝦猴 - Monkey Shrimps!
Religion is same business as everything else, right?
Moving apart the temple streets become more dark, and there are less shops.
Souvenirs for you， dear 外國人.
What's particulary interesting - historical japanese era buildings, seen everywhere in a district.
And we are saying buy to Tianhou temple leaving it behind.
For Taichungers, good place for a fast escape from a noisy city is Chi-Tou scenic area, near Lugu (鹿谷鄉), which belongs to Nantou county. It is one of seven National Taiwan University's experimental forests, and are built mostly by students hands. It's all about walking over mountain trails like this:
If you like the feeling, then it's your's. Of course, as it is with all such locations in Taiwan, it is better to come weekdays, otherwise, those trails will be overcrowded same as in city, and place will lose it's beauty. So, as official government website for area says:
The air is fresh, and there are no undesired noises. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely and carefree walk in the quiet, secluded forest, experiencing the tranquil, dark green, natural environment.
...it will be truth weekdays only, IMHO. Anyway, we were visiting the place Monday, mostly 老人家 (as I call them), from Mainland China were sneaking over the trails. As you might imagine, travelers from Mainland China differs from local 老人 mostly by noise created - they are much louder.
Taiwan fir, China fir, red cypress - those are everywhere, but for me personally, I like this feeling of bamboo jungle:
Different areas of the forest are connected by wooden or concrete footpaths and bridges:
During the winter, water in those small rivers almost disappears.
Time after time you can take a rest at such shelters. You will want, especially, if your interests in your facebook profile does not mentions "hiking".
Those trees were planted here in 1950's, and according to the signs, they were testing a distances - will it be OK, if distance between trees are that short? Well, for me they look pretty well, so experiment should be successful.
Once you spend some time in Taiwan, you'll quickly become familiar with a local phenomena I call "blue small trucks". Their exceptionally outrageous driving and almost 100 % presence over the island are proven also here in Chi-Tou.
Another "important" point for the area is university bridge and pond.
The bamboo-arched bridge crosses over the blue waters of the pond.
There is a restaurant as well, however, I suggest a more special one, just down the road in Lugu - will
be introduced below.
You can't lost here, as signs are everywhere, you can grab a map at the entrance of the area. Eating is important. Right? So, I suggest this restaurant down the road - you will see the signs everywhere on a road:
As you can see they say 30年老店 - 30 nian lao dian, it's 30 years old.
This corner seat offers best view, but it's quite hot there, especially at summer.
You can choose to sit inside...
Or outside. Note the table on the right - that's a coffee - restaurant owner growths his own coffee. Below are some of the dishes you can get here:
Fish soup and bamboo...
Another fish dish
MuEr (木耳） - this restaurant kindly offered it as bonus. Taste is really like a sashimi!
The Gur-e Amir is the mausoleum of the Asian conqueror Tamerlane (also known as Timur) in Samarkand (now in Uzbekistan). It occupies an important place in the history of Islamic Architecture as the precursor and model for later great Mughal architecture tombs, including Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by Timur's descendants, the ruling Mughal dynasty of North India. It has been heavily restored. When we just approached it at this early June morning, all the surroundings was quite empty, and it appeared to us as follows:
Gur-e Amir is Persian for "Tomb of the King". This architectural complex with its azure dome contains the tombs of Tamerlane, his sons Shah Rukh and Miran Shah and grandson Ulugh Beg and Muhammad Sultan.
You can watch this video below and also listen our guide comments on Amir Timur itself.
Dome itself at the time we came has been under process of renovation.
The monument is divided into three equal parts: a bulbous double dome of 35 meters high with 64 ribs, flanked by minarets 26 meters high.
The earliest part of the complex was built at the end of the 14th century by the orders of Muhammad Sultan. Now only the foundations of the madrasah and khanaka, the entrance portal and a part of one of four minarets remains.
entrance portal to the Muhammad Sultan ensemble is richly decorated with carved bricks and various mosaics. The decoration of the portal was accomplished by the skilled craftsman (ustad) Muhammad bin Mahmud Isfahani.
The exterior decoration of the walls consists of the blue, light-blue and white tiles organized into geometrical and epigraphic ornaments against a background of terracotta bricks.
Blue sign says - Fast Photo.
Inwardly the mausoleum appears as a large, high chamber with deep niches at the sides and diverse decoration. The lower part of the walls covered are by onyx slabs composed as one panel. Each of these slabs is decorated with refined paintings. Above the panel there is a marble stalactite cornice. Large expanses of the walls are decorated with painted plaster; the arches and the internal dome are ornamented by high-relief papier-mache cartouches, gilded and painted
The ornate carved headstones in the inner room of the mausoleum merely indicate the location of the actual tombs in a crypt directly underneath the main chamber. Under Ulugh Beg's government a solid block of dark green jade was placed over the grave of Tamerlane.
Formerly this stone had been used at a place of worship in the Chinese emperor's palace, then as the throne of Kabek Khan (a descendant of Genghis Khan) in Karshi. Next to Tamerlane's grave lie the marble tombstones of his sons Miran Shah and Shah Rukh and also of grandsons - Muhammad Sultan and Ulugh Beg. Tamerlane's spiritual teacher Mir Said Baraka, also rests here.
This place was used to be a water reservoir for camels. Now, it's souvenir shop. We can go in:
More pictures from back side of the mausoleum follows below:
Also a shot from a nearby street. Again note, all the cars except old Soviet Lada are Daewoo.
And we are saying bye to Amir Timur Mausoleum!
Read more about Uzbekistan:
Since today I am starting to share our trip impressions to Uzbekistan, where we was in July 2009. As a first introduction port - a bit about one of the central highways in Uzbekistan, heading from Tashkent to Samarkand.