Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) Special - Jiji Line - Checheng Station - Jiji Station [Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 6 “Hello Jiji, Goodbye Tripod” - Nov. 7, 2015]


Kiran (Indian) and I were already inside Bus 6671 when I sensed that something was missing. I have my paper bags containing my souvenirs that I bought from Ita Thao and the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway but I could not see my tripod. “Where could I have left it?”, I asked myself. But there was no more time left to go back to Shuishe Pier and look for my precious travel weapon. It was already afternoon and our bus was heading down from Sun Moon Lake to our destination. It was a good thing that we are going to a valley where memories of the past are treasured. I might remember there where I left my tripod. And if I can still ever find it...






We arrived there after almost 40 minutes of travel. The place looks picturesque even though there are a large number of tourists on a weekend in this town called Checheng. Metal and wood joined forces to build this town. It is located on a valley below Sun Moon Lake with a train line called the Jiji Line passing through different villages surrounded with betel nut trees. Jiji Line’s set of trains transport people from Checheng Station to Ershui Station in the west coast of Taiwan. It is one of branch lines of the Taiwan Railway Administration along with the Pingxi Line and the Neiwan Line which I have already visited before.






Japan built this branch line of the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) to facilitate the transport of construction materials for a hydroelectric power being constructed in Sun Moon Lake. A light rail was already existing until it was expanded into a full-fledged train line in 1922. The Japanese were really keen in maximizing the use of the resources of its colonies.










Checheng is a very interesting place. Aside from the trains permanently displayed on the old rail tracks one can also learn how big logs are processed near the train station. Logging had been central to the development of the town. Roam around and discover an ecological lake. It was not an original pond during heydays of Checheng. It's actually a storage pool for the logs collected in the forest. Beside the lake are tall wooden structures that stand like a gateway to a another universe. They are wood cranes and they were used before to lift the logs in the storage pool and transfer it to the locomotive trains waiting in the Japanese-style Checheng Station. There is also a dam beside the town and it’s the Mingtian Power Plant. A small town with its own train station and power plant. You can never find another place like this in Taiwan.









When the logging industry died down in Checheng, the life of the town was totally forgotten until it was revived as one of Taiwan's alluring tourism towns under the supervision of the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration. Take a stroll at the Checheng Old Street and admire the beautiful roof structure of the Wood Industry Exhibition Center as seen from the street. Have a tea at the Cedar Tea House and try to get a photo of the Japanese Dormitory amidst the tall wooden fence guarding it.

















Enter the exhibition area and learn about how large logs are processed before in Checheng. The building also houses a wooden model of the town as well as the different train stations of Taiwan in the past and present time. How many can you identify? The Baroque-style structures of the Taichung Station and Hsinchu Station are noticeable. How about the old Keelung Station? The Taipei Main Station stands grand inside its glass display. If only these wooden train station models were being sold, I will buy them all and take them home.
















We also went to the town of Jiji. A 10-minute train ride from the CheCheng Station took us to a place where tourist abound like school of fishes in the sea. The Jiji Station like the Checheng Station was built during the Japanese area and this what makes it famous for tourists. Take a photo with a locomotive train model beside hundreds of photobombers in front of the train station. Even an old military tanker was not spared! Jiji Station is the worst place to take photos on a sunny weekend. haha!

My Travel Buddy and I went to Jiji to see the Wucheng Temple but time wasn't enough. We still need to find our hostel in Yuchih town. We boarded Bus 6671 to get back to Shuishe Pier and then we transferred to a Taiwan Tour Bus for a short trip to Yuchih town. My body was so tired but I slept in my bed in the hostel with a smile. My tripod was at the Giant Bike Rental Shop and it was in good hands. (To be continued...)

THE COMPLETE SUN MOON LAKE SERIES:
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 1 "Journey to the Lake"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 2 "The Invisible Line That the Dragon Wrote"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 3 "Dark Knight" 
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 4 "Rope, Rope and Away"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 5 "Food from the Thao"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 6 "Hello Jiji, Goodbye Tripod"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 7 "Ride your life"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Finale "The Master's Sun" 

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