Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Banana belt, carrot country, pineapple paradise (Travel In Taiwan)

Taiwan is a fascinating place in several respects. Political scientists are interested in the way the country has embraced democracy; economists like to analyze its rapid industrialization and the success of its high-tech companies; social scientists are intrigued by the survival of folk religion and superstitions in an otherwise ultra-modern society.

Taiwan's farms, however, don't get much attention from outsiders. This is partly because much of the island's prime farmland has disappeared under factories or housing developments. It's also because, while millions of Taiwanese have grandparents who tilled or still till the soil for a living, few of the country's youngsters hope to make a career in agriculture. Nowadays, fewer than one in 20 Taiwanese is a fulltime farmer.

It's easy for visitors to forget that, in the hinterland between the bustling cities and the sublime mountains, there's a great deal to see and do. And south Taiwan, which is less built-up than the north and center, is perhaps the best part of the island for rural lowland sightseeing...

The photo above shows longans drying outside a home in Longci, Greater Tainan.

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