1896 Map of Taiwan
I found this old map of Taiwan from 1896. I was trying to figure out what Neili's (內壢) name used to be when it was an Aboriginal town, if it was one at all. No Neili on the map, but I did find something interesting. Taoyuan (桃園), at least from what I can figure, used to be called Tien Liek and not Toakhoham. Or, perhaps the map is mislabeled, because Toakhoham sounds a lot like Tokoham, the name I thought the Japanese gave to Taoyuan. You can find Monga (艋舺), where I live, just below Taipei. It's spelled as it is pronounced in the Aboriginal language it came from, Bangka.
I do know that Neili was called Kanzi Jiao (崁子腳), Kama Kah in Taiwanese, during the Japanese colonial era. Mr. Su has some great old maps of Taiwan's train lines, including one from 1925, see http://www.citycat.hdud.idv.tw/map1925.htm and that's what Neili is called on the maps. Plus I double checked with him on Kanzi Jiao being the old name for Neili. The Japanese train map is a bit weird in that some of the names are reading left to right, like Taipei. Others, like Kanzi Jiao, are right to left.
There's also an English map here, showing Neili as a stop on Taiwan's original train line, built during the Ching Dynasty from 1885 to 1891, http://www.citycat.hdud.idv.tw/maps/01chungli.jpg. I'm not sure if the information on the latter map is exact. The original plan was to build a railway running north to south, Keelung to Tainan. That got whittled down to Keelung to Hsinchu, which is what the map is suggesting. I think the Ching rulers might have thrown in the towel once the line got to Shijr (汐止), which is just north of Taipei. Either way, the bungling of the railway was another example of the mind-boggling incompetence of the Ching. The Japanese finished the line right down to Kaohsiung just a few years after taking over.
A Neili Recreation Center
I was supposed to serve as a judge for a school in Neili the company I work for sells magazines to just last Friday. The contest was cancelled, but I didn't find out until after I had arrived. This was only my second time to visit Neili, so I decided to walk around the downtown core. Actually, the downtown core was pretty slow. With all of the deserted parks overgrown with weeds and long grass, especially north of the train station where I took the above shot, it didn't feel like a downtown at all. Neili, in my opinion, is a bit obscure. One reason for this might be most of the trains don't stop here. Or maybe it's the other way around. Located between Taoyuan and Chungli, the town seemed to be mostly residential. The buildings were starting to look a little dated, like they were built in the seventies and eighties.
Another thing I noticed about Neili was the wires running everywhere (see above pic) and I'm talking wires on big wooden phone poles. On one street of houses (not apartments), I was thinking I'd never rent or buy there just because the telephone and electricity lines block the view. I was pondering this coming back to Taipei. One just doesn't see wooden telephone poles or even a lot of wires anymore. My in-laws, who live in Wanhua (Monga) have wires on their building, but those ones are just encrusted into the building along the sooty pollution and oil grime that has wafted from kitchen windows the past 50 years. They've become part of the building.
Rooftop of the Neili Train Station
I took this on top of the Neili Train Station. It's a platform or park if you will. One's line of sight going out is blocked in all directions by buildings. The platform does overlook the railway, so it probably provides a pleasant and even exhilarating view of the trains pulling up or speeding by at night. What I enjoy is the sign. To get a sign like that, there must've been people driving on the roof at one time. And I estimated the walking time from the nearest parked scooters to the rooftop to be no more than 30 seconds.
On another note, I've been having trouble posting Flickr shots directly to my site. Is there any way to send more than one picture to the same post?