In Tainan: Taijiang National Park - A Month in Taiwan - CycleBlaze

January 8, 2019

In Tainan: Taijiang National Park

The day begins with a worry.  We prepare to leave for a day ride when I realize I can’t find my glasses.  We thoroughly canvas the room, and then I go down to the hotel’s reception desk to check there.  No luck.  Nothing makes sense, but maybe I left them at dinner last night and walked the mile back to the hotel without realizing I didn’t have them.  Unlikely, but of course we’ll check it out.  Surprisingly, they’re open already - they must also serve breakfast - so we begin our ride by a detour to the restaurant.  I enter the restaurant, and hopefully show her my backup pair.  She smiles and pulls them from the drawer in front of her.

I’ve really done quite badly on this front in Taiwan.  I’ve left them behind in three different restaurants now: in Xindian, in Yilan City, and now here.  I’m  pushing my luck.

With just a few days left on tour, the tension mounts. Will I manage to return home without losing my glasses this time? Odds are improving, but it’s no sure thing.
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Bill ShaneyfeltI hang mine on my neck. Only take them off to shower or something similar. Have not lost any for years, since first doing that in the early 90s.
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1 week ago

Our bike ride today is a ramble through Taijiang National Park.  It begins right on the city boundary and spreads north along the coast, covering a large expanse of tidal flatlands and a variety of ecosystems.  Small roads, lanes and cyclepaths cut through it, nearly all of which are along the sea or one of myriad of narrow canals.  If all you want to do is cycle around, look at the birds and get some fresh air, it’s a great place for a day ride.

We flowed a canalside bike path from our hotel to the sea and the edge of the National Park.
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On top of the sea wall, just a mile or two out of Tainan. To the left, Taiwan Strait; to the right, a mangrove swamp.
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It increases your odds if you run multiple lines.
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Oystercatchers
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Caught oysters
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Oyster shuckers
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Looks like a cozy, secure spot to sit out on the open water. What are the large white (styrofoam?) blocks for?
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Jacquie GaudetPositive flotation? If those pipes and barrels are not filled with something and spring a leak...
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4 days ago
More of the same. You could almost hop across the bay on these.
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Now here’s something completely different. I don’t know what it’s for, but I don’t think it’s for catching, shucking or drying oysters.
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Bruce LellmanSo many mysteries.
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1 week ago
We made a friend at lunch today. We unfortunately didn’t have any oysters for him, probably his favorite, but he seemed grateful enough for scraps of bagel.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesEeerrm, I don't have to be Bill Shaneyfeld to suggest that he is a she!

Steve
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1 week ago
Bruce LellmanThis is a native dog - a Formosa Mountain Dog. I know this because our good friends Kat and Willie Weir adopted one from Taiwan. They all look remarkably similar.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanOh, of course. Didn’t we see their dog at the first HAC gathering? And you’re right, they do all look surprisingly similar.
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1 week ago
The park appears to promote visits by bicycle. There are many marked bike routes, and new development is ongoing. This bridge across a narrow channel wasn’t even on our GPS map - it looks like it was just opened this year - and cut off a lengthy detour to the nearest highway.
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Yesterday, biking into Tainan, we saw a single female shoveler. Today we saw many shovelers, probably more than I’ve ever seen.
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Rachael sniped impatiently at me for stopping to take a photo of ‘just a crow’. That’s no crow, I said enthusiastically. That’s a black bulbul, a new species to add to the life list. I was wrong though. Black bulbuls have a red bill, so it’s not that. This looks like a fork tailed drongo, which is also a new species and sounds even cooler.
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Bruce LellmanI like your use of "sniped" here. Quite appropriate in a discussion about birds.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanNice job, Bruce! I almost put a gag hint in the caption as a clue for less insightful readers.
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1 week ago
Jen GrumbyLooks pretty drongo-like to me .. very cool!
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1 week ago
For about a half mile we biked through a cloud of white butterflies. Many thousands of them, I’m sure.
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For the same half mile, a cloud of swallows swooped and dove from the skies. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
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We were puzzled by this long array of huge, attractive stones, out in the middle of nowhere next to a corn field. They were arrayed in three or four rows, perhaps a hundred yards long. What could the significance be?
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Some of them had plaques and descriptions (unhelpfully in Chinese) as well as physical dimensions. Also a QR code, so Rachael scanned one. They’re for sale, or possibly rent, for your decorative feng shui garden. Just a big stone parking lot.
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Luerhmen Mazu Temple is huge, and this isn’t the half of it. There’s a second huge statue and an equally large extent of the temple off the frame to the left.
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There’s more to this temple than just a few pretty faces. The canal and graceful arched bridges are attractive as well.
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The red turtle dove, another new species to add to the list.
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Our planned route back to town was cut short by a twenty foot wide canyon through the middle of our road. This biker pointed to the correct route and then provided a demonstration. He didn’t make it look that easy so we just backtracked and took a different route.
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You’re probably getting tired of seeing egrets by now. And frankly, so are we. We see them everywhere, and often in huge numbers. Fortunately we’re getting on toward the end of the tour so this might be the last time they crowd in here.
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Jen GrumbyI was going to say ... "Egrets, Schmegrets!"
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1 week ago

We had intended to spend the morning in the park and the afternoon walking through the city.  With our late start though, it didn’t work out that way.  We didn’t make it back to our hotel until late in the afternoon.  Just enough time to shower, change, and head out for a meal.  We found a place with some good Italian offereings, enjoying lasagna and enough pizza to have leftovers for tomorrow.

On the way back to our room, for the second night in a row we listened to the roar of low flying fighter jets passing over the city, presumably returning to base.  There must have been at least seven sets of them that flew over in the space of a half hour’s time.  A reminder that just across the water is their big brother on the mainland.

The day ends up with yet another new species to add to the list: the prestigious Tripel Karmeleit, designated the Best Pale Ale in the World abeer Arards, 2008.
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Ride stats today: 45 miles, 600’

Today's ride: 45 miles (72 km)
Total: 611 miles (983 km)

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