Lanyu is the pearl on the Pacific Ocean whose beauty has attracted numerous people to set their feet on it, and I've already started planning my second trip to the isle when my plane touches down on its land.
Located off the shore of Taitung County, Lanyu (Orchid Island) is the biggest volcanic and mountainous island of Taiwan. The Tao Tribe on the island displays its outstanding craftsmanship with the building of traditional wooden canoes. The Flying Fish Season inspired by the Black Current also adds one variety to its cultural richness. Striding on a scooter, one can easily finish the 37-kilometer island-wide route at a 20 kilometer per hour speed while taking in all the beauty on the island.
I always hate to say goodbye to Lanyu every time when my vacations ends, because I will miss lots of highlights while I am not on the island. I am very sure of this hypothesis so I leave my film camera to my friend to carry on picturing the place. When I look up to the skies, I would think of the time I stood in the Lanyu Weather Station that is almost close to the sky. When I walk across the congested intersection, I would think of the time I only heard the sound of wind in Lanyu. When I think of the ocean, I would miss the luxury of being so close to the ocean. When I am not on the island, I must have missed the beauty of sunset, the antic of goats climbing the rocks, and I would definitely regret missing the chance of seeing the launch of the canoe. So I decided to leave the camera to witness the “missing spectacles” for me.
Traditions, taboos and cultures still remain almost intact on the island, so when one steps on Lanyu, it is better to respect and the treat the innocent and rustic islanders with considerable empathy that will ensure good experiences on the island.
When one comes to Lanyu, it is not advised to brutally take out you film camera to take shots. One can only take photos of genuine and friendly tribespeople with one’s heart, actions and feelings. Try to merge with these people with your language, smiles and open-mindness to be able to be accepted by locals without any distances.
● Avoid deliberately touching, striding or sitting any wooden canoe. The women are even strictly warned to do so.
● Avoid picturing older tribepeople without obtaining prior consent (most elderlies resent being shot, never taking pictures from the front).
● Always ask for consent before taking pictures of underground house, gutting and drying flying fish in avoidance of arguments.
With these rules in mind, one can safely explore Lanyu with an exhilarated heart, big smiles and full curiosity!
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