National Geographic : 1956 Feb
Paisha Islanders Offer Food to the Gods in a Temple's Tree-roofed Courtyard After a priest dedicates the rice, pork, and fish to the use of the gods, thrifty housewives take the food home again. Musician wearing golden paper crown (center) plays at the ceremony. A trellised banyan tree, largest in the Pescadores, shades nearly 800 square yards, yet stands only 16 feet. the time these trees have to be protected by heavy straw matting." At the moment we paid little attention to the trees. Later, touring the island, we began to appreciate his comment. Trees grow only in the protection of buildings or natural bar riers. Gales trim exposed tops as smoothly as if the trees had been clipped by shears. Since the weather was perfect for color photography, I was eager to get started. "First we must clear with the Army Com mand, then the Political Office," Major Hsu insisted. "And the general will expect you to lunch with him." I visualized our sun vanishing while we sat drinking tea in the general's office. "Mr. Kallsen is a writer and radio com mentator," I suggested in what seemed ex cellent compromise. "You and he can lunch with the general and make the proper apolo gies for us. Bingham and I can go directly to the Political Office and secure an interpreter censor to take us around." The political officer assigned us a plump, pleasant lieutenant colonel. And again we heard the now-familiar comment. "I don't see why you have come to Penghu to take photographs," the colonel said. "There is absolutely nothing here." Nothing in such a strategic outpost! We tried to convey to the colonel that, bleak and wind-bitten though the islands are, people live here. There are, in fact, some 83,000 dwell ing on the 21 inhabited islands, a concentra tion far greater proportionally than on For mosa. These people fish the sea and patiently grow sweet potatoes, cabbages, and peanuts in the lee of high coral walls.