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Weaving Dreams at Banana and Phonograph Records Sanhe Yuan Private Lodge

 

Weaving Dreams at Banana and Phonograph Records Sanhe Yuan Private Lodge

◎Written by Cindy

◎Photos by Li Siao-ping

◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting

 

 

 Mr. Jhong Shih-wei, a native of Kaohsiung's Meinong District, was lured back to his hometown by a desire to return to his roots. He now manages a homestay business in his family's sanhe yuan (a traditional Chinese three-section compound house). Mr. Jhong inherited the single-story building from his grandfather in 2013. Three years later, he moved back to Meinong to run what is now called Banana and Phonograph Records Sanhe Yuan Private Lodge. The name salutes his grandfather, a banana farmer, and his mother, who adored music.

 Mr. Jhong says that when he took over the sanhe yuan, it was more than 70 years old and in poor condition. His renovation efforts included replacing many of the roof tiles and preserving original furniture such as his grandmother's canopy bed, a dressing table, and a machine for drying tobacco leaves.

 Mr. Jhong recalls that one day, when he saw sunlight come in from the courtyard and light up his grandfather's reading table through a green lattice window, he realized how little the scenery had changed since he was a little boy. This inspires him year after year, and gives him a sense of serenity which convinces him that he was right to return to his hometown.

 Meinong's culture and diverse scenery attract both domestic and foreign tourists. An elderly Japanese lady, a regular guest at Mr. Jhong's lodge, said she has visited Taiwan five times, and her favorite place to stay is Banana and Phonograph Records Sanhe Yuan Private Lodge. Explaining her fondness for the homestay, she mentions that it is located near Mt. Yueguang, and whenever Mt. Yueguang is showered by a downpour, the surrounding area seems to be coated with a rich greeness. The lodge has red roof tiles and white walls, and is surrounded by green farmland. There are several small mountains in the background, prompting many to compare the landscape to a traditional ink-and-wash painting.

 Mr. Jhong's lodge boasts some captivating decorations. Old furniture and household gadgets have been given new functions. A set of “red turtle” rice-cake molds are displayed on a wall; a plow now holds dried flowers; a tobacco-curing chamber has become a room in which Mr. Jhong displays more than 4,500 phonograph records that were collected by his mother. Mr. Jhong likes to play these vinyl records for his guests. When the stylus meets a disk, vintage songs animate the lodge.

 Mr. Jhong says that the greatest reward he has enjoyed since intricately renovating the building is a deeper appreciation of his Hakka identity. He has scrutinized every detail within the house. When he looks at the engraved couplets and paintings around the ancestral shrine, he realizes that his ancestors were bestowing their expectations and wishes on their offspring. This helps him grasp what it means to be Hakka.  Banana and Phonograph Records Sanhe Yuan Private Lodge is a place where visitors can experience authentic Hakka culture in Meinong, and partake of the town's unique beauty.

     Banana and Phonograph Records Sanhe Yuan Private Lodge Information:
No. 34, Lane 112, Singlong 1st St., Meinong Dist., Kaohsiung City
0912-823-556
Facebook: https://reurl.cc/1Q1yyW
    Transportation Information:
Take Cishan-Meinong Freeway Express Bus Route B from Zuoying High-Speed Railway Station and get off at Meinong Bus Station. Tourists will then need to take an eight-minute taxi ride, costing approximately NT$150, to reach Banana and Phonograph Records Sanhe Yuan Private Lodge.
     Please see illustrated Meinong map.