July 27, 2009

Chashan- Pavilion Village

You can tell by the name: Many natural pavilions are in this small village forming the culture of Tsou tribe. Chashan is located south of the Alishan National Scenic Area in Chiayi and about 28 Km from Longmei. To get to Chashan, you would take the bus from Chiayi train station or drive on the No. 18 Road Taiwan Provincial Highway to Longmei. Currently, there are no buses to the three villages (Shanmei, Sinmei, and Chashan) from Longmei, so you may ask the innkeeper to pick you up and bring back to Longmei bus stop.

We rode the motorcycle from Chiayi train station to Chashan. It was a 2 hour ride. The road condition was good until right before we entered Chashan village. There was a mud slide area where was never been fixed after last year’s storm. Only the large rocks were placed at the edge of the hills as the side fence of the road, which looked pretty scary. I hope that the road could be fixed by now since it is the typhoon season.

“A Veo Veo Yu” (my heart is happy) is what to say when exchanging greetings. Inside the pavilion, people sit and chat with a cup of tea. They share ideas with each other. Pavilion culture represents sharing, relaxing, and hospitality life style of Tsou tribe. It is also a place where tribesmen share their game after returning home from hunting expeditions. Chashan is a small village, but it has 60 pavilions which make it distinguishable from other Tsou tribes.

We stayed at “Ye Mo Chu”, where is owned by the former leader of the village, Ms. Li, Yu-Yan. To keep the natural environment and avoid commercializing the small village is Ms. Li’s main goal. Because of her attitude towards life, we enjoyed a very natural and wonderful farm life at her place. More stories will be shared later.

We strolled through the village and nearby mountain area in the afternoon. “Chiayama” (the plain on the hills) was formerly called before Chashan. This area also serves as a combination of farms and ranches.

Chashan’s population consists of 60 % Tsou tribe, 30 % Bunong tribe, and 10% Han people. A ground cement display at the intersection of the main road (the only road) in Chashan represents the local tirbes’ distribution.

The other side of the road, Abai and Baijhih wooden sculptures are located on each side of the street and face each other. The legend of a couple, who loved each other but could never get married, was told by Mrs. Li. She then sang a love song with her faraway tone about the legend “Baijhih, I miss you so much!” A heart touching feeling was shown with her beautiful voice.

Every wooden carving on the streets has an appealing story behind. You can listen to the stories from the local people who are sitting inside the pavilion with a cup of tea...

Please see the below photo slideshow and listen to a tribal song-Chiayama(珈雅瑪) (recorded by Ms. Li's group)

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