Before I tell about my experience, here is little bit of background. In the 19th century the town of Yanshui was suffering from a cholera outbreak. Locals called on Guan Gong, the god of war, to ward off the decease. The god agreed to help but said he had to be greeted by fireworks, so people organized large amounts of bottle rockets to be fired off. Apparently it worked (some say the sulfur in the fireworks killed the bacteria) so the town has made it a tradition to set off masses of fireworks on the 14th and 15th days of … Read the rest
It's the last big fireworks of the night and this rack is the biggest, with three tiers of firecrackers ready to be shot out over the audience. The announcer starts the count down and we in the crowd count along with her, three, two, one. The rockets start spewing out from the rack, streaks of orange passing over us, and the sound of explosions somewhere behind us like we're in the middle of an oven full of popcorn. Where I'm standing the rockets seem to be firing right at me, the orange trails just passing over my head; it feels like I'm a soldier under fire. Every once in while a firecracker will actually fall into the crowd, exploding close by, sending sparks flying. I can feel one hit my leg, another hits my left arm, and a one even pings off my visor in a disconcerting way. Despite this I'm not scared, I feel secure in my protective gear. It is a visceral experience.
Last year I went to Tainan to participate in the Yanshui fireworks festival. Unfortunately I had misunderstood the schedule and managed to miss the whole thing. This year I was determined to join so I planned it better, double checking the schedule several times.
The festival was going to start on Monday with the main celebration Tuesday night until Wednesday morning. I originally planned that I and Renegade Wife could ride my motorcycle together over the weekend ending up in Tainan, so we could see the fireworks. Sadly my wife’s aunt passed away during the Chinese New Year so we … Read the rest
Last weekend, Yini and I planned to go see the famous beehive fireworks that kick off the lantern festival each year in Yanshui. We failed to actually see the fireworks but went to Chiayi and Tainan all the same. What happened was that I checked the date for the beehive fireworks and saw that it would be this weekend so we figured we could go see the fireworks on Saturday evening. What I failed to pay attention to was the fact that the main event was on Friday evening and that the whole thing ended early Saturday morning. I only … Read the rest
Today we continued our sightseeing in Tainan county, starting with Zengwen reservoir, a large man-made lake that provides irrigation for the Chianan plain (one of Taiwan’s most productive agricultural regions). We came up the river valley and our first view of the reservoir was the big dam with floodgates open and water flowing out. Luckily there was a viewing platform nearby and we stopped to snap a few pictures.
We made a quick stop at the top of the dam before continuing on to the main tourist site, a … Read the rest
It is Moon Festival in Taiwan which means we have five days off. Except for going back to Erlin to celebrate with Yini’s family, we planned to go out to the coast for a few days. However, the weather gods didn’t seem to like our plans because they sent not one, but two typhoons our way. The first one caused floods and lots of chaos down in the south and east parts of the island but Erlin, which is in the middle, was fine and we had two nice days with the family, barbecuing and shooting fireworks in the evening. The second … Read the rest
A while back, me and Yini rode our motorbike from Tainan on the south west coast, round Taiwans south tip, then up along the east coast to Yilan in the north. I wrote about it here. We also made one trip from Taoyuan in the west, across the mountains to Yilan, then around the northern tip back to Taoyuan, see this post.
Though a bit further inland than those two trips, we have also been between Hsinchu and Taoyuan (both in the north west) several times, and a few weeks ago, we rode from Hsinchu to Erlin in … Read the rest