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Kenting National Park

 

The penultimate morning was spent in ‘Taiwan’s top tourist attraction’.

We spent some hours negotiating winding roads, that required buses to pass in single file while others waited on wider sections and gave our driver a chance to display his skills, with jagged rocks and other vehicles passing just centimetres from our sides.

 

There is a spectacular gorge in which the water can rise quite high.

 

 

During Typhoons can water volumes can grow sufficiently to sweep away bridges.

 

This bridge has been replaced several times

 

 

These narrow older roads were built by the army in Chiang Kai-Shek’s time. He needed to keep his huge army occupied and his son Chiang Ching-kuo understood that an army with time on its hands is a dangerous thing and proposed the Cross - Island Highway that gives access to this park.  In 1956 serious work began with as many as 10,000 workers using hand tools and explosives.  Many of the soldiers were veterans of the failed military campaign against the PLA on the mainland.

 

 

The soldiers and other workers had their pay withheld and were unable to leave.  Thus they were effectively slaves.  In excess of 450 were killed in the initial construction period, during which a single lane was built with passing sidings to allow traffic in both directions.  The road has since been widened using modern machinery and methods but is still frequently closed by floods and earthquakes and there have been additional deaths.  There is a shrine to the memory of the dead workers that is now a tourist focus.

 

Shrine to the dead workers

 

For lunch we went to a chicken place that roasts chickens en-mass in large spherical wood fired ovens and then presents them at your table to be ripped apart and the meat torn into chopstick manageable pieces by hand. 

 

 

Heat resisting gloves and plastic over gloves are provided.  Lots of fun.

 

 

 

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