Friday, July 24, 2009

We Goin' to Kinmen!

Kinmen National Park

Tomorrow morning we fly out to Kinmen, which lies just two kilometers from Fujian Province. I am so excited to be headed to a place with such unique status and historical legacy. It should be a special trip.

Kinmen (along with Matsu) was a key battleground during both Taiwan Strait Crises of the 1950s. After the shelling stopped, both sides continued to drop propaganda leaflets on one another for years.

In 1953 Eisenhower "unleashed Chiang Kai-Shek" by lifting the U.S. naval blockade, which was preventing Chiang from attacking the mainland.

Because of its military importance, it wasn't until the mid 1990s that civilian travel to Kinmen was allowed, says Wikipedia. Taiwan still doesn't allow individual mainland tourists, they must travel in groups.

Westerners say Kinmen is beautiful and interesting. I get mixed opinions from my Chinese friends: Some share my interest in the history. Others scrunch up their noses, "I hear it's really boring." I'm guessing they were influenced by the men in their lives who got stuck there:

Taiwan has mandatory military service for men. Just one year now, it used to be three years. You have no say in where you are stationed or what job you get. If I'd been sent to Kinmen for three years (like the husband of James' family friend), I'd probably vow never to return too.

We'll be gone three days. Yippee!

1 comment:

MitMoi said...

Have a great time. It looks very peaceful and relaxing. Although I bet you'll find plenty to do.