Articles tagged with "penghu"

Wai’an war relics

Wai'an war relics

I got a bus from Magong, randomly picking the town of Wai’an as my destination. I love getting buses in places like this – nothing but Chinese characters anywhere in the bus station so it made working out the timetable a bit of a challenge. Then finding the right platform was the next challenge, and finally getting on the right bus at that platform. It all makes the simple act of getting on a bus into some kind of minor triumph, and I was in a great mood as we headed out.

It took about an hour to get to Wai’an. There was supposed to be a lighthouse nearby, which sounded like it might have good ocean views, so I went looking for it. And pretty soon I could see it, but it turned out that there was an inconvenient military base in the way. The gate was open, and possibly you can just walk through if you want to go to the lighthouse, but I didn’t think just strolling into a military base in the middle of the Taiwan Strait was very wise.

So I went to see what else was in the area. I found a sign saying “Fake gun” on the way back into town, and I thought I had to follow it. Wondering what kind of Chinglish mistranslation this was, and what I might find down the path, I was surprised when I arrived at a fake gun. It was a decoy, built by the Japanese towards the end of World War II, to try to dupe US forces into bombing this corner of occupied Penghu instead of their actual anti-aircraft guns.



I spent a week in Taiwan after the conference. I went to the Penghu archipelago, out in the straits between Taiwan and China. It sounded like it was quite off the beaten track and so I decided to go and have a look.

And off the beaten track it was. At least on the first day that I was there, I’m pretty sure I was the only foreigner on the islands. Later a German and an Indian turned up in Magong, the main city, and I felt like my territory was being invaded and my status as the outsider undermined. But at first I had the sights to myself. I wandered around Magong and ended up by a bay where waves were crashing against the shore as the sun set.