You might want to begin your tour today by reading this introduction.
And then to fully appreciate the present adventure, go to www.mapcrunch.com/ and at the bottom of the picture, click to find the view of the day for the following date:
December 1st, and here I am in Taiwan!
I don’t remember the flight in, or the airport or the taxi….nor the accident, nor the funeral, but I seem to be in a very fancy cemetery! Apparently I am in Sincheng Township on the east coast of Taiwan, near Hualien City. I don’t KNOW that I am in a cemetery, but if people are people wherever you go, but only modify their tendencies by degree, then this is a cemetery, albeit very ornate, and very oriental.
“Compare and Contrast”, they used to say in school, and now I can’t quit! So here goes:
Instead of seeing smallish headstones lined up in rows with close cut green lawns in between, I see little houses, as it were. I guess we would call them mausoleums or tombs, but here, almost everybody has one. They are all made of concrete or brick but with great variety, and each is adorned with patios, pillars, little walls, and very many crosses. The landscaping here is free and easy; apparently abandoned to do whatever it will. I can identify only a few small headstones, and they are practically disappearing in the tall grass.
It would seem that people in Taiwan die just as regularly as people die back home. Barring accidents and tragedies, only a few of us take our places in the local cemetery every day, but overall, and everywhere else we will go we will find that the actual death rate is the same: 100%.
This cemetery in Taiwan seems jam packed and wide ranging, but when I clicked my way down the road to the North and to the South a ways, perhaps I “went” a few miles in each direction, I did find the ends. At least to the North the property is undeveloped, as if waiting for future generations to make the long term purchase. It seems that even on this island nation, only the size of Maryland and Delaware combined, there is still room for this cemetery to grow.
Did you notice the road? Just like at home (NE Wisconsin for me, by the way), the cemetery has a narrow one lane road winding through. Visitors simply pull over near their family’s grave site, and other traffic respectfully goes around. I guess I don’t know what I expected, but I was a little surprised to see the blacktop. Asphalt is really a simple idea, but now I’m wondering about its invention and dissemination.
Another surprise I had was seeing a little blue groundskeeper truck parked along the road to the North. This landscape actually gets attention? In the back of the small truck is a generator and two 55 gallon drums. I tried to search around in the tall grass behind the truck, and across the road where the scooter is parked, but could not spot any workmen to see what they were doing.
Are you learning to maneuver through the picture? Just click on the vaguely highlighted discs in the road to transport yourself, click on the hovering rectangles to see a direct view of that zone, click on the ovals to zoom in a few times and then back out, and turn your “head” by clicking on the arrows near the upper left. You’ll figure it out soon enough, and then we will be touring together.
From certain parts of the road, however I could see the Pacific Ocean, just off to the East. Can you find one of those spots and take a look? It seems odd to use so much of the limited coastline for a burial ground, but perhaps this one was started many decades ago when extra land was abundant.
I had assumed that there were other roads parallel to this Hwy 193 because of the multitude of grave sites I see so far removed from it, but the more I’ve searched around, I think not. I did find one narrow path that someone might take to get into the far reaches of this cemetery to visit, or to effect upkeep on the buildings, but no roads.
So many lives have been lived out, and ended. So many families have worked to immortalize and remember their loved ones. People ARE, and always have been, the same everywhere.