As promised (threatened) a follow-up on my first visit at my parents-in-law the summer 2007.
First time I saw Yilan City, where C’s family lives, was a bit of a surprise. I’m not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t what I found.
We had been in a bus for 4 hours straight from Harbin. The terrain hadn’t changed much, except for the few bumps that C called mountains. All way there the bus used the highway (fortunately), but the landscape looked the same. To the left and right there were field with straight lines of crops. Mostly corn and rice, but also some greens that I’ve never seen before. Looked like they belonged to the lettuce family, but not sure.
Once and a while a tiny village popped up. Very old small huts that looked like the farmers built them with their own hands. Then a few times you would see a bigger city in the distance. When we finally neared Yilan the highway started coming across some hills. Suddenly a valley looking spot opened up and to the left Yilan City was seen. There was a river running under a bridge that needed crossing to get there. The City itself looked strange to me. From the highway I could spot plenty of hut-like houses and further downtown there were bigger blocks that looked like something the Russians would have made.
Without a warning the bus stopped and the two of us were dropped off on the highway with our entire luggage. The city itself was at least 500m away and there were no obvious way off the highway. We were dropped off directly under a bridge with a road heading towards Yilan. I looked around but found no way to get up there except scaling the 45 degree slope of stones that was part of the bridge.
Fortunately a 3-wheeled taxi was waiting on top of the bridge, so we caught a ride the last 2 km to C’s parent’s home.
From the other side of the highway. Same slant ramp, but actually easier to scale as it has some hard soil you could put depend your foot to stay firm on during the life threatening deed. The other side only had slippery flat stones.
Considering how many people who daily have to do this crazy stunt, I am amazed that the city didn’t use a few bucks to create some real stairs. Even some lousy ones would be way better than this death trap.