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Something in Ali Mountain but not related with landscape

Author/Amy Yang

In foreigners’ impression, Mountain Ali is always the most famous sight-seeing area in Taiwan. For sure, Taiwanese have the same idea as them. When it comes to Mt. Ali, what will appear in your mind? Romantic sunset, forest railway, Fenqihu railway bento box, or Alishan National Scenic Area? Indeed, these scenic spots are too popular to ignore, however, everyone can introduce them easily. In addition, I would like to explore more story in this area which about love, artist and the aboriginal tribe, Pnguu.

This spring, I just had a chance to visit my aboriginal friend who lives in Pnguu village. Pnguu village is one of the Branches from Taiwanese aboriginal groups, Tsou, whose residence mainly locate in the middle of Taiwan.

In the first night, I am surprised to be invited to attend a little girl’s birthday party. Unlike the traditional one, there were not colorful balloon and a pile of presents. Instead, this party was hold in the yard of her home and welcomed whole people in this tribe no matter friends or strangers. All residents prepared for that special night by driving three hours to urban district for buying ingredients and cake, her family engaged the comfortable space for dinner and barbecue. In that atmosphere, people can talk everything casually and freely with each other, they treated me like the old friend.

That night, I discovered some attractive stories in this little tribe. For example, a villager who creates their symbolization of tribe, mountain pig, to the handiwork and have become popular and famous in other countries. This villager was noticed by foreigners and known as an international artist with her talent. Besides, there was a special love story that a South African volunteer girl became Tsou bride. Hana has been an international volunteer and serviced in Pnguu village. Then she fell in love to her husband and began to operate a local restaurant there. Her story and restaurant appeal many tourists to discovery this village.

However, behind these happy stories and party time, what I found is that people are limited in the place of residence. Some of them have tried to live in the downtown but most of them could not adapt the steps and culture of urban people then came back to their hometown. Apparently, it looks free and joyful to live in the mountain with friendly people and natural environment. In fact, typhoon and over development always destroyed their family and construction and make their lives dangerous.

As a tourist, I was used to image every destination ideal and guess people who live there without any worry. Conversely, when I finally got the chance to understand their real lives, what I found is the difficulty of facing every challenge from existence and environment.

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