On what I walk to see...

"Objects do not have any intrinsic meaning- that meaning is conferred on them by us- and that different people, and the same person at different times, may confer different meanings on the same object." (Hammersley, 1989, p. 135)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Unterwegs zur Tunneled vision

Used to be, other than taking the train--which goes through one tunnel after another, there are only two ways to travel between Taipei and Yilan. The trip could be as long as 3-4 hour if taking the 北部濱海公路 (Provincial Highway No. 2 ), which goes along the coastline... and thus mucho detours.

Or, if in a rush, the alternative would be the scary (to me) 北宜公路 (Bei-Yi Road) known for its 九彎十八拐 because it was build along the mountains.  The direct translation of 九彎十八拐 is "9 twists and 18 turns" although I am not sure whether it's a figure of speech. The reason why it was scary to me is because my dad who is chronically late would eternally try to pass cars at them twists and turns on this winding road with no-good visibility.  In reality, there were so many fetal accidents on this road that, not only ghosts stories are abundant, you actually see people throwing paper money on the road for the deceased in accidents on this road.  Also them twists and turns and ups and downs also made us car sick too many a time...  

Since the opening of Hsuehshan Tunnel (雪山隧道) and National Highway No. 5, on an average day and when the traffic isn't bad, it takes about an hour and a half to travel between Taipei and the town of Toucheng in Yilan.  This highway and the associated tunnels (5 of them) absolutely made the Eastern Taiwan more accessible.

Usually, the trip between Taipei and Yilan would involve tranveling on National Highway No. 3, National Highway No. 5 and some connection roads inside of Taipei and Yilan.

Following are some tunnels I traveled through on my way back to Taipei from Toucheng on April 5th, 2013.

National Highway No. 5

Hsuehshan Tunnel (雪山隧道)

雪山隧道 (Hsuehshan Tunnel) is the longest road tunnel in Taiwan, second longest in Asia and fifth longest in the world. (Although it was once upon a time the longest road tunnel in Asia.)  The length of the west-bound tunnel (Taipei bound) is 12,942 m with the theoretical speed limit within the tunnel between 60 and 90 km/hr.

This was an extremely memorable trip because 99% of the times, we would chose the lane that moves like a turtle, strangely, this time... our car was passing the cars on the other lane the entire trip with our limit at around 40-50 while the cars on the other lane-- above zero or so.  Also, just when I was pondering why the light above our lane was red, we heard the radio broadcasting inside of the tunnel stating that an earlier accident on has been cleared.  Guess this was the reason why we were traveling on the theoretically closed lane.

Pengshan Tunnel (彭山隧道)---National Highway 5

Pengshan Tunnel (彭山隧道) is the first tunnel you hit after the 雪山隧道 (Hsuehshan Tunnel) when driving on Highway number 5 Taipei- or West-Bound (3,806m).

Wutu Tunnel (烏塗隧道)

塗隧道 (Wutu Tunnel) is the shortest among the 5 tunnels on National Highway 5 we had to go through between Toucheng and Taipei... If life is really simply going from tunnel to tunnel, this would be my favorite kinda tunnel to go through.

Shiding Tunnel (石碇隧道) & Nangang Tunnel (南港隧道)

石碇隧道 (Shiding Tunnel) and 南港隧道 (Nangang Tunnel) are adjacent to each other when travelling north bound though connected when traveling south-bound. These are the last two tunnels I traveled through on the National Highway 5. The trip through these two tunnels gives you the real life experience of what I always wonder... "Life is going from one tunnel after another."

National Highway No. 3

Fude Tunnel (福德隧道)

After we get off the national highway 5 and got onto national highway 3 (Formosa Freeway), the first tunnel we hit was the 福德隧道 (Fude Tunnel).

Because my grandpa Canon camera refused to wake up, I was not ready to capture the process of entering the tunnel... sort of like... I was not ready to enter the tunnel... as always... though life seems to have the bad habit of making me going from one tunnel to the other... mostly unannounced.

國道三甲台北聯絡線 (Taipei expressway--my own translation)

The Taipei expressway connects the National Highway No. 3 with the Daan and Wenshang districts of Taipei and the Shenkeng District in the New Taipei City.

Within the short distance, two tunnels I passed...

Taipei Tunnel no. 1 台北一號隧道

Taipei Tunnel no. 2 台北二號隧道
Voila! C'est tout le tunnel du jour!

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