Monday, November 7, 2016

Cingjing Farm (清境農場) [Travel in Taiwan 161106: Wonderland Part 4 “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!”]



Let me tell you a story. A boy was asked to tend a flock of sheep. He did his job everyday until he got bored that he thought of telling a lie. He cried that there was a wolf. The villagers hurriedly came but did not saw any ferocious beast. The boy was scolded by his mom because of the incident. However, he did it again. He shouted to the villagers that he saw a wolf. His neighbors came but did not saw any wild animal. His mom got angry and spanked him so hard that he promised not to tell a lie again. The boy continued his life as a young shepherd until one day a real wolf came. He called the villagers for help but they just ignored him because they were thinking that he was just telling a lie again. With nobody wanting to help, the boy watched the wolf as it eats his sheep one by one. When the last one died, the wolf decided to eat the boy. The animal slowly approached the helpless kid. It showed its fang and made one final leap to kill the boy. The kid already his accepted his fate but a flying arrow delayed his death.



This is not Aesop's famous story of the boy who cried wolf but my own version that I wrote for my beloved Taiwan. If Jiufen is the real life “Spirited Away” then Cingjing Farm can be said to be the inspiration of Aesops's fable. At least, for the Taiwanese version. With many bloggers who had visited Cingjing Farm before, it's about time to read a different kind of travelogue about Nantou's recreational farm in the heart of Taiwan.

I told the KKday driver that I would alight at the North gate entrance of Cingjing Farm.  I don't speak Chinese but a fellow passenger translated the message in Chinese to the driver.  For those taking the Hehuanshan tour in the morning, prepare the Chinese name of the destination that you want to alight for easier communication.

The ticket prices in Cingjing Farm as of Nov. 6, 2016.  I only paid NTD 120 since I am a student in Taiwan.

Notes about the ticket prices.

My ticket

At the ticket booth

So what happened to the boy? Did it survive the wolf's attack? And who came to save the kid? Before I tell you what happened, you should know how I reached Cingjing Farm. Our Hehuanshan tour bus (https://www.kkday.com/en/product/1643?cid=3255) courtesy of KKday dropped us at the North entrance of the farm where we bought our tickets. Regular adult tickets cost NTD 200 but students in Taiwan only have to pay NTD 120. Travel Buddy Teklu and I felt really blessed for studying in Taiwan. 


at the Green Green Grassland

The weather was sunny but the cold wind made our visit a perfect timing to enjoy Cingjing. The farm was located in the mountains in Renai District of Nantou province and the temperature here is definitely cooler than in Taipei. If you think that it will be too hot in summer then autumn is a nice time to visit Cingjing. During this season, the grass will still be green. Cingjing's elevation of 1,748 meters is not a hindrance to visit this place since many buses climb the mountain every hour. If you are coming from Taichung then you can board the bus at either the Taiwan High Speed Rail Station or Gancheng bus stop. Most people usually buy a Cingjing Pass from the Nantou Bus Company. If you are coming with friends from Taichung Station and a taxi driver suddenly offers you a ride for a price of NTD 300 per person then take it. The taxi fare will be the same as taking the public bus. 


A minsu near Cingjing Guest House

Having been to Hehuanshan that day, I was able to see the “village” near Cingjing Farm. The houses were mostly minsus and overlooking the mountains of Central Taiwan. If a wolf will appear in Cingjing Farm, then the villagers will have a hard time to respond since they live far away from the pasture. The rakes, spades and the other farm tools that can be use to drive away a wolf will have to be transported first using a car. 




Travel Buddy Teklu wanted to have a photo with the sheep.

If my estimate is correct, about twenty to thirty sheep wander freely in “Green Green Grassland” in the northern section of Cingjing Farm. It is a rolling hill and teeming with life as the green color of the grass covered its surface. Visitors wasted no time in taking their selfies with the sheep. They even bought food at the souvenir stores just to lure the kind animal and made them pose in photos. If ever someone shouted “wolf”, then nobody will care since most of the visitors speak Chinese. The correct word to shout is “láng” which is the Chinese equivalent of the word “wolf”. So shout “láng” and everybody will scream and run. Haha!

Sheep Castle


There were lots of Cingjing Farm products to choose from.

But the one that I bought was this popsicle. 
Searching for a wolf while enjoying my popsicle

It was very difficult to look for one. lol

the view from Cingjing Farm's windmill

Before the start of the 2:30 pm sheep show, visitors have a chance to ride one of these horses in the Performance Stage area.

I don't have any experience in riding a horse and I got excited to have it in Cingjing Farm.

Ticket prices: One person is NTD 100

My ticket

I wanted to ride this white horse. 

Yehey!


As 2:30 pm was coming near, the number of people had suddenly increased!

Another look at the audience

Before the start of the Sheep Show 

The guide dog of the sheep

The sheep were roaming freely in the Performance Stage area. 

But they were organized by the "cowboy" and the guide dog to formally start the show.

The show started with a group run of the flock of sheep.


It was actually fun to watch a flock of sheep run.


There was a  dog and a cowboy (the man with the hat on the left side) that guided the flock of sheep.

A member of the audience participated in the show.


I sat in the second row and I the poor sheep got a free haircut.


A sheep's fur

The sheep is first put inside this wooden cage before the start of the show.

The whip stunt.


This brave guy was asked to hold a balloon until it bursted with one hit of a whip.


The show ended with the passing of the sheep in front of the audience.

But the possibility of having a wolf inside the premises of Cingjing Farm will never happen. It was just my fantasy to have that wild animal inside the tourist spot and watch it eat some sheep. Talking about being helpless, the sheep were like that during the 2:30pm Sheep Show. A sheep with its overgrown fur became bald in front of the hundreds of visitors sitting at the Green Green Grassland Performance Stage. After the live shaving of the sheep's fur was a whip stunt. A man from the audience became also helpless as he volunteered to become a part of the show. He was asked to create a sound using the whip and without any experience using that tool he was able to make the audience clapped. 

The Equestrian Stage.  

The show started with introducing the performers one by one.




So there was no wolf in Cingjing and the place was all about seeing some sheep and laying down on the grass. But was it really the case? At 3:45 pm, Teklu and I sat at one of the benches in the Equestrian Stage. A family of horsemen was about to show their horseback riding skills. I looked closely at them and they seemed not to look like Taiwanese. They were wearing costumes and it gave me the hint that they came from Mongolia. 

The performers have a large group photo at the left side of the stage.  

Introduction of performers

Let the show begins...

first routine

a stunt while riding a running horse


The performers shouted "Hey" as their horses run around the stage.

the rest of the Equestrian Show

The performers were composed of an old man, young men, a woman and a cute kid who knew that she was a star of the show. They went around the stage while riding their horses and doing various stunts at the same time. Some of the female audience giggled upon seeing the amazing moves of a long-haired horseman. The guy did a headstand and also stood while riding his horse. His stunts were very difficult making him a crowd favorite. The kid also impressed the audience with her pony riding skills. Haha! At a very young age, she was already an expert in riding a little horse!

photo-taking opportunity




The long-haired horseman

Unfortunately, the kid performer was not in good mood. 


At the end of the show was a photo-taking opportunity. The gates of the Equestrian stage was opened and the audience entered inside. A lot got excited to have their photos taken with their favorite horseman. But the one that really caught my attention was the old Mongolian man. He was showing his clothes to some visitors and I got amazed when I saw it. His coat was made up of whole wolf skin!


So there is a wolf! There is a wolf in Cingjing Farm! Seeing the skin of the wild animal gave me the idea on how to end my version of the “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. So here it is: The arrow struck the wild animal and it fell on the ground as it howl in an excruciating pain. The boy grabbed the chance to run and hide on a tree. He looked back at the wolf and he saw more arrows struck the wild animal. A group of huntsmen were the ones who targeted the wolf. When the animal died, they carried its body and brought it together with them. The sound created by their galloping horses awakened the villagers which hurriedly went to the grassland. They saw the boy near a tree looking shocked at his dead sheep. The kid told the villagers what happened but nobody believed him even though he cried “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!”

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