Tuesday, November 8, 2011

meinong district

I really wanted to visit Meinong district because of its oil paper umbrellas. It took us two hours to get here by bus from Kaohsiung. If I had planned this better we would have gone to Meinong first before Cijin because at night Meinong is pretty dead. I was hoping to see some artisans making umbrellas but when we got there which was around 5pm the sun had already started to set and most everything was closed or closing. We got off at the Meinong bus station and didn't really see much around there. We walked down the one main road there was and didn't see any of the famous oil paper umbrellas. Then we went to 7-11 and asked where we could see umbrellas and one of the workers helped us to get a taxi. The taxi driver really know how to rip us off, ~$300 NT for a couple of miles down the road to Meinung Folk Village which is quite touristy.

Meinung Folk Village
This place was closed by the time we got here and we only saw his empty work-shed. Interesting to note that oil umbrellas came from Guangdong!

One of the only shops that were still opened had a lot of tourists in there. At this point it was mostly just a store but from the looks of it, during peak hours, there are people making umbrellas and visitors can even make one themselves! Really wished I was here earlier...

oil umbrellas on display
someone's work area
instructions on how to make an umbrella
I really wouldn't recommend going to Meinong if you can't ride a bicycle since nothing tourisy is close by to the bus station. This place is super rural and out of the way. I also wouldn't recommend going here when it's dark since most everything is closed. This trip was super disappointing and we spent so much time to get here. It cost ~$130 NT to ride the bus one way! At the bus station when trying to get tickets we had a hard time figuring out what the last bus would get back to Kaohsiung. We definitely did not want to be stuck out there overnight. We didn't even spend more than an hour in Meinong and most of the time was spent waiting for the bus back.

So why all the hub bub over some umbrellas? Umbrellas that were super expensive and I would probably never use even if I did buy one? Well these umbrellas are seen as a famous part of Taiwan culture. If you mention Meinong, even though it's so small people will know about their umbrellas. For the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the Taiwan booth featured a song that specifically mentioned the umbrellas including a whole host of other famous Taiwanese things like Yonghe soymilk, Taipei 101, etc etc. Not sure if I will ever go back to Meinong, most definitely not if I can't find a map or anything to guide me. I did see some English attraction signs but whatever they were pointing to was too far for us to walk it in our tired condition, ie we couldn't spot it looking down the road. If I do go here again I wouldn't go to Meinung Folk Village, instead I would walk a couple blocks down the big main road that bus was on before turning to Meinong Bus Station because from the back of the taxi we saw two huge brightly lit stores filled with umbrellas. I'm sure we would have been able to gain much more going there then to the tourist oriented village.

No comments:

Post a Comment