Monday, 10 November 2014

Taoyuan City - part 2 - At the foot of Hutoushan

In the first part of the series we learned basics of Hutoushan or Tiger Head mountain 虎頭山. In this article we see what does it look like before climbing up. There are two main entrances to the Hutoushan Park (虎頭山公園), one for pedestrians only along the Nankan river, close to the Taoyuan High School, and another one for vehicles further up on Chenggong Road to the right just before the Veterans Hospital (台北榮民總醫院桃園分院)


When you approach Hutoushan from the County Stadium, you need to pass through this small street along the river. You will see majestic trees on both sides of the road, they are called Chinese Banyan. The scientific name is Ficus microcarpa. It was first described scientifically by Carl Linnaeus the Younger in 1782. In Europe they are growing mostly indoor in flower pots, very often as bonsai trees. But in Taiwan Ficus microcarpa is a huge tree. Distinctive to it are the aerial roots hanging down rom high. With the aerial roots the tree take water from the humid air. If the roots are let to grow and they reach the ground, they will become pillar roots and finally develop into secondary trunks. In this way a banyan style tree with pillar roots and secondary trunks is developed.

Aeral roots of ficus microcarpa, Chinese Banyan
Just before arriving to the stairs that lead us up to the Tiger Head Mountain, we cross rusty railway track. It used to be Linkou Line (林口線) linking Taoyuan City to Linkou. It was suspended just recently, December 28, 2012. It think it is a pity, since I really liked the multicoloured train. I hope this line will be taken into other use shortly, maybe it could be part of the Metro system (MRT). In fact, wikipedia tells me that there is a plan for that. See the map here TAOYUAN METRO

Linkou line at Gueishan
In the shadow ot the Banyan trees it is fun to watch people.
If you move here in the weekend, you will notice the busy market on the bridge crossing Nankan creek and under the main road (Western Highway number 1) on the other side of the river. It is called Taoyuan Weekend Flower Market. You will certainly see some very friendly faces here that will not shy away from your camera.
On a hot day the best snack is tofu pudding or (豆花, dòuhuā). Douhua is served with sweet toppings like cooked peanuts, red beans, cooked oatmeal, tapioca balls, mung beans, and a syrup flavored with ginger, and crushed ice.
This is hei douhua, or black tofu pudding. The colour of the pudding is slightly darker than the normal bai douhua, or white tofu pudding. It is velvety smooth and refreshing. Highly recommended.
More to flowers you can buy all kinds of vegetables and fruit. Here are some melons and cucumbers and luffas.

A small river, Nankan Creek is just close by the entrance to the Hutoushan Park. More about it later.


In the next article we go up to the mountain!

No comments :

Post a Comment