Water Running Uphill

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Photos by MJ Klein

Hui-chen and I took our good friend David on a whirlwind trip to the east side of Taiwan.  I thought I would share some photos of that trip.  East Taiwan is completely different than the west side of the island and there are many interesting things to see there.

In 2002, I visited an attraction called “Water Running Uphill.”  This is what it looks like:

Water Running Uphill?

It certainly looks as if water in this trough it running uphill, doesn’t it?

SPOILER: If you don’t want to know if the water really does run uphill or not, I suggest that you not continue reading this article because I will provide scientific proof one way or another!

Water Running Uphill?

From the lower perspective, looking up, again the water sure does look like it’s running uphill.

Water Running Uphill?

Further up the path we notice the same angle.

Water Running Uphill?

Water Running Uphill?

Backing away, it’s still difficult to tell what’s going on exactly.

Water Running Uphill?

This is Hui-chen looking at the water running uphill.  To my eye it looks as if she is tilting to one side a bit.  Could that be the answer?

I decided to dispel the myth once and for all.  It’s impossible for water to “run” uphill on it’s own by the force of gravity.  So, in reality the water must really be running downhill, but how to prove it?

Water Running Uphill?

The proof is right there in front of everyone, in the form of light poles that are installed vertically.  When one simply aligns the camera to show the pole in a vertical position, then it becomes very clear that the water is running downhill and not uphill. This is a classic example of an optical illusion, and as these things go, it’s a really good one!  When standing on the sidewalk, one assumes that the sidewalk is more or less level (due to the lack of reference) so the water trough appears to be going uphill.  Nice!

In our next article we’re going to take a look at a very famous bridge in Taiwan.  Be sure and give us your rating below, and thanks for reading!

Articles in series East Taiwan:

  1. Water Running Uphill
  2. Sansiantai
  3. Cross Island Highway 20
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22 comments

    1. Brunty » the weird part is, no matter how you look at it with your eye, you can’t see that it’s downhill. the local topography is very strange. the light poles look as if they are tilted and not the other way around!

  1. Thanks to the Bushmans keen investigative skills, one of a Taiwans most popular tourist attractions is no longer frequented by Chinese tourists. Somewhere there is a stinky tofu street vendor cursing you. lol

  2. Absolutely the most boring tourist attraction that I have ever stopped at in all my world travels. I really did not see the point or the interest but a joke comes to mind…

    How do you get a busload of Taiwanese fascinated in water supposedly going uphill?

    Then again Bushman already knows the answer to this one…

  3. How so? I just pulled this off Wikipedia on gravity: “In general relativity, the effects of gravitation are ascribed to spacetime curvature instead of a force. The starting point for general relativity is the equivalence principle, which equates free fall with inertial motion and describes free-falling inertial objects as being accelerated relative to non-inertial observers on the ground.”

    What is Sansiantai in Chinese?

    Patrick Cowsills last blog post..Sanur, Bali

    1. Patrick Cowsill » i don’t get how you can call me ?????? by anything you just stated Patrick. perhaps you didn’t get that the place is an optical illusion.

      this blog doesn’t support Chinese so it won’t display. literally its “three fairies platform” in Chinese.

  4. LOL, not calling you ??????; I just don’t get it. But I do want to check it out when I’m in the vicinity. I’ll figure it out one way or another. With the Chinese, I can google it. I think people’ll know what I am saying if I just translate three fairies on a platform.

    Patrick Cowsills last blog post..Sanur, Bali

  5. Well done Mr Bushman, you should be a presenter on Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel.

    When we were there there was at least 10 coaches of tourists looking at this attraction. Many of them were from Mainland China, one of them even floated a 1 yuan note ‘up’ the stream.

    Many of the Chinese tourists were also having their photo taken next to an aloe vera bush in the garden at the ‘top’ of the stream, apparently it doesn’t grow in the part of China they come from.

    1. hi Neil. haha! we sometimes watch that show. it was rather easy to show the optical illusion by using the upright lamp posts for reference. but you say the Chinese tourists were rather taken with the attraction? what a surprise! lol thanks and take care Neil.

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