Wednesday, 25 January 2012 20:26

THAT'S the Steam Engine?!

Written by  Ken Ku
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Mini Steam Locomotive Mini Steam Locomotive

Today I decided to be a farmer for a day.  Ok.  For a few minutes.  I'm sure I could have done more work pulling radishes out of the ground but my Uncle said that some of them might need two more weeks to grow larger.  A lot of the white Daikon radishes we pulled out were a few inches long and looked more like ginseng.  There were probably a dozen or so when we finished and moved on to the cabbages.  Now I just have to figure out what to do with so many radishes to eat.  Perhaps make some kind of soup?

The main reason I went over to my Uncle's farm is to check out his traditional style house and the land that it sits on.  One of my dreams is to build a small Chinese style house..complete with the round main entrance door.  With covered outdoor halls, sitting pavilions, sitting rooms, a garden (or an orchard), and a pond.  Yeah, so that sounds like a mansion.  Maybe I'll just go with the round main door and the house for now.  My Uncle explained to me how they built the house back in the day while we cleaned the radishes and then had some tea.  We didn't stay too long as we all then headed out towards the hills to see more traditional houses and other Hakka heritage.

One in particular is a train station built in 1916 built all out of wood joinery!  This train station is still in use today though only for tourism.  In the past, because of the size of the village, only the slow trains would stop at this station, which also happens to be the highest point on this particular rail system.  Apparently after climbing the hill and coming out of the tunnel to the train stop, many times people's faces would be covered in soot back when they used steam engines.  When we visited the station today, there was an extremely small version of that train.

They were feeding it coal and as it was steaming up, I could see that on a larger scale why people's faces would be black with soot.  The locomotive on this 'ride' couldn't have been more than a few feet in length and could only carry 20 or so passengers but the amount of steam it gave off was tremendous!  As it came back to pick up more passengers so they could relive the past, I felt like my lungs were going along for the ride as well just standing on the platform!  Imagine what it must have been like to sit in the car for hours breathing in those fumes.  Good thing we have electric cars now.

All aboard!  Time to go on to our next destination!

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 February 2012 15:21
Ken Ku

Ken Ku

A photographer/printmaker/perpetual wanderer going on a backpacking adventure around the world.  Follow my journey as I discover new places and meet new people!



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