Illegal tourism at the Da-An river

the da-an river in taichung, taiwan
We spent the weekend in Taichung with my grandparents, aunt (mom's side, younger), and her family. This is the side of the family I grew up with, and it is always nice to get to see them again. One afternoon, my uncle took us to see the Da-An river, which has an interesting story.

The big earthquake in 1999 literally moved the earth on both sides of the fault line. A couple of years ago, my uncle took us to see river / dam system where one side of the river had risen 10 meters as a result of the quake (!). Impossibly, the dam did not break, and now there is a set of stairs that winds down in the middle of it, allowing you to walk down and across to see the damage.

In Taichung, the quake moved so much earth that the Da-An river changed course, pushing water towards the developed side.

rocks pushed up by the 1999 earthquake

In order to stop the water from reaching that side, my uncle and his people dug a small gorge to channel the water into the middle, where the river originally ran. The stone in this area is all very soft, and in the 5-7 years since the project, the river has dug an impressively deep gorge into the middle of the river bed.

water-carved gorge, da-an river

Here's the funny part. The Taiwanese public found out about the gorge two weeks ago and have been flocking to the area to see it. There is a prominent sign that says not to trespass, but people walk right past it, and teenagers play at the cliff edge, showing off in front of the camera.

my family at the new tourist spot

At the "parking area," enterprising folks have even set up food stands to support the unlawful tourism.

wanna buy some food while you trespass?

I took a picture of my uncle by the sign. We all thought it was really funny because he runs the department responsible for it (the gorge, and the sign).

har har har

[see all photos @ flickr]