Xiluo 西螺 (or Siluo, to use an alternate romanization) is a small historic town on the left bank of the Zhoushui River in Yunlin 雲林. It became an important center of trade in central Taiwan 台灣 during the Qing dynasty and continued to prosper under Japanese colonial rule into the early 20th century. Disaster struck in 1935 when the devastating 1935 Hsinchu-Taichung earthquake reduced much of Xiluo to rubble. Imperial Japan, acting under pretensions of bringing modernity to Asia, remade the main commercial street with an unusual blend of local and western architectural influences—mainly Art Deco with traces of modernism. Many of these buildings remain standing today—and can be seen by taking a short stroll down Yánpíng Old Street 延平老街.
Xiluo Bridge 西螺大橋 spans the mighty Zhoushui River, the unofficial boundary between north and south Taiwan 台灣, and connects the counties of Changhua 彰化 and Yunlin 雲林. Construction began in the late 1930s under Japanese colonial rule but was put on hold during the war. In 1952 the bridge was completed by the incoming Kuomintang government with help from the USA. At 1,939 meters in length it was one of the longest bridges in the world when it was finished and formerly appeared on Taiwanese bank notes.
I have been working very hard these last few weeks—a little too hard, at times. To break the monotony of laying code every day I elected to go for a proper ride yesterday. Since moving to Tainan City 台南市 I haven’t gone on any long rides whatsoever—so I geared up for a day on the road, preparing for almost any eventuality. I had several destinations in mind such as the badlands to the east of the city but struck out to the north on a whim, intending to make it to at least Chiayi City 嘉義市 by sundown.