See it while you can

Today I wondered down along Bei-an Rd. It wasn’t an intentional thing for me to end up at the Martyr’s Shrine. I was just out cruising the back alleys of Da-Zhi looking at doors and old crap–half wondering how Pao-gao does it, but mostly just trying to stray somewhere.

In my wonderings, I ended up at this clutch of freestanding very western style houses, 4 or 5. I’m talking houses with chimneys. It was a kind of large area, way too big for Da-zhi and the rapidly developing changes that are taking place in that landscape. The airwaves were clustered with the sounds of jackhammers and loud workers’ radios. I could here at least three stations firing off at once – one DPP political, one with Japanese karaoke and one playing, ‘Nobody’. It was prime military land being developed into the latest tech park with modern Chinese buildings and architecture for the next century or two.

The places were large Western style mansions nestled amongst all this and each buttressed by a slum for old soldiers. Dormitory buildings – petite slums jammed packed with lost souls, their progeny, and some also-run gangster types. They were tiny alleyways with abandoned attempts at something better, but the sheer dilapidation, saddened me. I knew I was standing in a place about to be dissolved by pragmatism, expediency, and progress. What of their stories? Who was the fastest runner? Who made his way between the enemy lines, strafed a bunch of commos and made it back alive? Where are their officers now? Is anybody still loyal and to what?

Then I ventured 200 meters or so to the Martyr’s Shrine and jostled with the Mainlanders and Japanese for a picture or two of immobile soldiers, stony steadfast men, guarding all that we know to be good – sacrifice, commitment, loyalty, and faith. If you were billing it, you’d call it: “The Saddest Show on Earth’.

It’s worth the time to wonder through a bit of Taiwan’s history and see it while you can. It’s raw.

Lovely post, Fox. You really wonder how Paogao does it? Paogao uses light the way you use a pen (or keybord). That’s all. Lovely.

Very nice post, Fox. Now I’m curious about those old houses. We filmed part of our movie out there at the old abandoned Navy language training institute before (and while) they tore it down. I should make another visit. Those martyr shrine guys have a relatively cushy post, though, I have to say.

Thanks housecat. Of course I wonder how Pao-gao does it. I mean if I knew that, I’d be doing it too.

It was in that general area. The houses were on large compounds. Some of them looked to be still lived in or at least maintained, but one or two were abandoned. Their gardens had obviously been grand affairs at some stage with very mature beard trees (Luan Shu) and pencil pines. Their accompanying slums were still viable but you’d have to wonder for how long.

It certainly looks like the end of an era.

I did go into the dormitory areas but felt a bit shy about shooting any pictures. I took this rough one of one of the houses.

I went past there on a bus a couple of weeks ago and kind of glanced at it. They certainly sound interesting - anyone interested in checking them out over the weekend?

There is no access CF. The buildings are surrounded by six foot high walls. You could jump over them I suppose but some old soldier might try to jump you. I took that shot over the fence.

…Plus a big sign saying: NO PHOTOS
At least it was there some time ago, forbidden to take pics, military area I guess.

That’s a bummer.

[quote=“Icon”]…Plus a big sign saying: NO PHOTOS
At least it was there some time ago, forbidden to take pics, military area I guess.[/quote]
That’s the place that’s pixellated out on Google Earth, isn’t it?

Pixellating things out on Google Earth is a great way to tell any potential enemy: “That’s where to drop the bombs”!

I’m not sure about the no photos thing. There are places around there that you probably cannot take photos, but this area seemed like the bombs might have already hit or would be welcomed.