Change is the only constant in life. — Heraclitus
Things do not change; we change. — HENRY DAVID THOREAU
Change is inevitable in a progressive society. Change is constant. — BENJAMIN DISRAELI
Change is inevitable. Thus I expected changes when we visited 九族文化村 (Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village). Last time I was there, it was in 1988 when it was relatively a new attraction. I remember that they had a lot of workers dressed up in native outfits and some native shows. It wasn’t crowded perhaps during a weekday but it was educational to see their housing and see some of their rituals. Now, almost 30 years later, I thought the place can be a great culture introduction for my kids to learn about the native Taiwanese.
Change #1: Easier to get there from日月潭
After arrived at 日月潭, I tried to figure out what bus we needed to take to go the village but discovered and was pleasantly surprised that there are gondolas that can go there directly from the lake now. I didn’t remember they were that close as last time I took a bus to 九族文化村 and it seemed to be perhaps a half hour to an hour away.
Early in the morning, we took a water shuttle from the main town of the lake where we were staying to the opposite side of the lake where we can walk to the gondolas along a path with many stores to shop and eat. The ride did not open until 10:30 am, a little late from my perspective so we shopped for about an hour before boarding the gondolas.
The view from the gondolas was superb, reminded me the view from the top of Lake Anncey in France and the gondola ride reminded me of Peak-2-Peak ride in Whistler at Canada. The ticket we got through our lodging was a boat ride plus the gondola ride plus the admission ticket to the village. It was essentially a 3 for 1 deal as the cost was just slightly higher than buying the admission tickets for the village alone. This seemed to be a theme in Taiwan that many people seem to be able to sell a great discount for some reasons. I was glad for the convenience now. I like this change as we can get there quicker and with a view.
Change #2: It is an amusement park now
The Village is no longer just a Formosa Culture center; it is a full blown amusement park now with rides and water playground. This was a Monday and surprisingly there were very few people there. We were able to ride on a water roller coaster ride many times without needing to get off. Unfortunately, Bryden didn’t want to ride for some reasons so Logan and I rode it 4 times in a row until we felt guilty and got off the ride. Bryden and Logan enjoyed the water slide immensely and danced in the hot air full-body dryer.
I felt ambivalent about this change. I know that they needed it to survive but it was like selling out your soul for money or bribing the kids to do homework with something. It just didn’t feel right. However, if they hadn’t made this change, the place may be closed down by now so perhaps it was a necessary evil, like a dessert to entice kids to eat vegetable.
Change #3: the quiet and desolate tribe village
The original Village part for the 9 tribes was quiet and almost had a desolate air to it except a couple of place where they had shows going on. The show on the left was in front of a wide open area with amphitheater type seating around the open area with a total capacity of perhaps a couple of thousands, seating and standing, but we were the only people there. The dancers still faithfully went through their routine with just us watching.
I felt a little sad for them and for this place. Later on we saw a show with perhaps 40 people and finally as we got closer to the entry, there was a show with perhaps 80 people. The show was wonderful with beautiful rhythmic songs and choreographic dances. The outfits were colorful as well. We liked the music and bought a CD. The girl in the picture with my kids were a high school student from Ai-mei tribe.
I felt bad that there weren’t many people there. I thought this was the interesting part of the park. I know many folks of the tribes has been modernized–they had to, in order to survive. I thought that perhaps they could do a better job of intermix the tribes with the amusement part of the park so each tribe becomes an area between different ride attraction where people can eat and watch shows while learning some culture stuff. That would be a more unique experience and keep more people happy I hope. I am hoping for this type of change the next time I visit.