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An etude to the island coast
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Day 2

The Tropic of Cancer Marker in Hualien

At Rueisuei in Hualien County, Dong encountered a young cyclist driving to meet his mother at Hualien. When Dong stopped to rest by the Tropic of Cancer Marker, he spent the night in the house of the cyclist’s mother. Dong was touched by the sadness of the single mother

The Tropic of Cancer, the circle marking the latitude at about 24 degrees north, is the Northern Hemisphere’s furthest location from the Equator that can experience the sun being directly overhead. Every June 22, the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer.The Tropic of Cancer crosses through Shueishang, Chaiyi County, Rueisuei, Hualien County, and Fongbin.

Rueisuei’s Tropic of Cancer Marker was placed in 1933. At that time, it was placed west of Rueisuei Railway Station. In1981, due to widening work done by the Eastern Line Railway, the marker was moved to the Wuhe Terrace, and placed on Provincial Road No 9.

Day 3

At Hanben Station, between Hualien and Yilan, Dong met Sonja, a young Lithuanian woman traveling Taiwan. In a touching, almost romantic scene, she explains that she came to his homeland because Lithuania has no mountains; its highest point is 282 meters above sea level whereas Taiwan has Jade Mountain, East Asia’s highst mountain, at 3,952 meters. Dong reached Wuta Village, the origin of the Atayal tribe.

The name Hanben came from the Japanese “Hanbun,” which means a half, because Hanben station is between Hualien and YilanThe Atayal tribe is one of Taiwan’s nine aboriginal tribes. The first record of Atayal inhabitance is found near the upper reaches of the Chosui River. Some time during the late 17th century they crossed the Central Mountan Ranges into the wilderness of the east, and then settled in the Liwu River valley. Seventy-nine Atayal villages can be found here.

They practiced many forms of food production including slash and burn agriculture, hunting, fishing and gathering.

Day 4

Keelung’s Ho Ping Island

At Badouzih outside Keelung, Dong stopped for noodles in a street-side restaurant where local people animatedly argued whether plans to build the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology would be a good thing or turn the local harbor into a Disneyland.

Keelung’s bay cuts deep into its downtown. There are many more slopes than plains within the city, and moreover, the protective Keelung Island and Ho Ping Island scree on both sides of the water. 

Ho Ping Island was called Liao Island in the past. In 1626, the Spanish army built castles, churches and fortresses in preparation to do business with China and Japan. The castle on the southwest is called San Salvador. During the Spanish occupation, Ho Ping Island had busy trading activities with Southeast Asia. After World War II, the island was renamed Ho Ping Island. Today, it is famous for diving and sea fishing.

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