Last days in Taiwan were reserved for a place I could not imagine even in the most strange dream I could visit it. The island Kinmen is a symbol of war between two Chinas – People’s Republic of China (Mainland China) and Republic of China (Taiwan).
Kinmen was the site of extensive shelling during the big conflict between above mentioned ideologies, I would say. Although this group of islands is so tiny, it was extremely important for Taiwan to keep them. There is no doubt that a huge contribution to the fact that Kinmen is today controlled by Taiwan, belongs to the United States which threatened to use a nuclear weapon against the People Republic of China if it attached the island. Despite a lot of victims died during bombing, Kinmen is today controlled by Republic of China (Taiwan) although it is only 2km from PRC.
Trip to Kinmen was the first encounter with other participants in the SayTaiwan program, since we were hosted in different parts of Taiwan. Some of them I have met through our previous facebook communication, some of them from other international experiences. It was really funny and nice to see them again and to meet new people from virtually every corner of the Earth.
Let’s back to the Kinmen Island! For about 30 years the island was military reserve and in 1990 Kinmen returned again to civil governance. But, war signs are still very intense and visible everywhere. In this manner, our first destination was open-air Kinmen War Museum. Although small, museum can offer to visitors to experience the war for three minutes in its Virtual Open Room. For us who have experienced wars in our countries it was not something very strange, but in any case all those rockets’ voice reminds me on all victims fallen in all stupid ideologist wars around the globe.
Then we quickly embarked on our bus number 9 and headed to the Memorial Museum of the late President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. There the main attraction is Chian Kai-Shek’s calligraphy inscription where he strongly express his hope and desire that Mainland China will be again conquered and retaken from communists.
-In front of Memorial Museum-
But one even more interesting tourist attraction is the sea cave which saved many Taiwanese boats from bomb destruction. Today, installed internal lights contribute to the fantastic atmosphere inside of cave.
But, you have not yet heard the most amazing fact about Kinmen Island. Despite an excessive economic development due to convenient and cheap business transit between two Chinas, the island is widely recognize for its production of knives and swords. And can you guess what those Kinmen knives are made from? The steel is obtained from thousands of bomb shells that the Communist forces fired at Kinmen, in a failed attempt to take the island away from the Nationalist troops. Although even today it is not allowed to swim in the sea in Kinmen due to huge number of bombs around, innovative Chinese from Kinmen found one saving grace in it. Highly qualitative knives and swords are being produced from bombs who were thrown around the whole island and killed many people. Creativity is always above destruction!
Before we went to hotel we visited some pastry shops with traditional Chinese cookies. They were various and delicious (and we tried almost every cake for free as much we wanted – what a hospitality)!
And now, let’s see how is inside of one Chinese traditional house:
Our almost all last day in Kinmen was reserved for local shop’s tour which produce different cures, only made by local plant (my grandmother had an exclusive honor to get an original tiger fat from Kinmen).
In the end, our main goal of that day was the International Peace Conference which was held only few hours before our departure from Kinmen. Very army and civil performances, accompanied by wonderful guests’ speech on freedom, concluded those wonderful two days..and almost my Taiwanese experience.
-Youth performance for peace
TO BE CONTINUED….
P.S. Since all modern history of the Kinmen island was marked by wars, I wanted to make photo with young solders who fulfill their duty to homeland here. They just humbly asked their superior for a permit and when he accepted, we made this photo at the Kinmen Airport.
Good bye, brave people!