On the last flight out of Hualien

The final HK Express service from Hualien to Hong Kong on Friday looked full. Maybe the passengers were mainly Hongkongers going home after a quick trip; any Hualien-ites on board would have had to return some other way. The little airport is now reduced to a couple of domestic arrivals and departures most days – not counting the ROC Air Force F-16s roaring in and out.

It seems the budget airline cancelled the route because February’s earthquake hit Hong Kong people’s interest in the city. Local officials are mightily miffed, having hoped to become a major international travel hub-zone. Now they are left only with domestic visitors and overseas backpackers coming to see Taroko Gorge. The pleasant and unpretentious community is spared the horrors of mass-tourism. (At the risk of encouraging the hordes, the place is still only a couple of hours from Taipei by train.)

More than ever, it is difficult to visit Taiwan from Hong Kong without wondering where the Chinese Communist Party would start if it ever gets the chance to crush the country. The too-small-to-see-much photos show: a whole day’s arrivals at HUN airport; the park authorities’ deep understanding of primate psychology; that annoying Canadian missionary Mackay who pulled aborigines’ teeth out; election posters with English slogans that, joined together, tell a story; and food…

…the biggest dried fish I’ve ever seen; multi-tusking; a funeral wreath incorporating shelves of beer; and baozi signed by Ma Ying-jeou…

…a creepy prison watchtower from the KMT White Terror era (maybe – creepy, anyway); and the last flight ex-HUN arrives at Chek Lap Kok’s cheapest and least convenient aircraft parking stand…

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2 Responses to On the last flight out of Hualien

  1. MeKnowNothing says:

    Ah, Faalin. Best rent a motor in Toibak & enjoy the colonial A-road drive there & back. Chatting up the indiginites in Tailougok beats the drive to get there. Best enjoy the renegade province of Toiwan before it’s too late!

  2. Alan Whicker says:

    An established route of expat disillusion these days is to leave Hong Kong for Tawan, spend five years there, then go to Vietnam, possibly as the money runs out.

    The really naff route is of course Lantau then Baguio then back to Chungking Mansion.

    I suggest you take the first route. But avoid the budget airlines.

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