Archive for May, 2008


A few representative shots from Tainan

Hopefully I’ll get around to really blogging these properly sooner rather than later, but for my colleague who is thinking about showing his buddy around Tainan… Here are some more attractions:

An-Ping otherwise known as Fort Zeelandia (which my cousin, when she took me there, was shocked that I hadn’t seen it before… “What do you DO when you’re here?”

“Uh, family stuff… You know, eat!”

“Oh, right.” Our standing joke is that coming back to Tainan involves significant weight gain in a short period of time because the food is just THAT yummy!)

The fort has a nice twisty staircase and a building with relics inside like ancient swords with those curvy handles whose names are totally escaping me at the moment, but I’m sleep-deprived as usual, so forgive me…

The tree house that has banyan trees growing out of and through it. As well as the merchant house which has exhibits featuring wax figures doing things like gathering salt, signing treaties, and crushing sugar cane.


Tainan Temples

This is a public building where my cousin told me as a child their school used to come here for exercises and special events . You can definitely see the Japanese architecture here.

These shots are from our visit to the 5 Concubines temple which is devoted to the memory of the five concubines that hung themselves out of devotion to their prince when he committed suicide at the fall of the dynasty.  Um… Okay, so they probably wouldn’t have lasted in the new regime either, but eeks!

A clock with its own weathervane outside the Museum of Literature‘s coffee shop.  We did stop in at the Museum of Literature, but were all a bit dazed by that point.  I remember walking past photographs of authors and wishing that I was actually a good Chinese student who was literate.  There were a couple of neat quotes in English though.

Notice the wedding couple getting their photos taken in the hollow of the modern statue’s embrace?

Another wedding couple at the Confucius Temple.

This link has more info on temples in Tainan.


Cloud Gate

As I may have mentioned before, my cousin works for Cloud Gate, so perhaps I’m not entirely unbiased.

That said, their work is vibrant and moving, the stagings are always magnificent, and I encourage you to go see them if you ever have the chance.


More Random Shots from HsingKang…

While I was in Hsingkang, I stayed with my dad’s cousin and wow, they are morning people!  They were all up around 4 AM, and I tried to be vaguely awake at 4:30 or 5, but after nearly falling asleep on the table, decided to go back to bed.  It was charming to see my Aunt in the morning, trimming her hedge, while my cousin (or is it second-cousin-once-removed??)  chatted with her while flapping a towel to keep the mosquitos away.  Oh, and they introduced me to the magical blue men’s shampoo that made my head all pleasantly cool and tingly.  Seriously awesome stuff!

Anyway, we got up early (for me anyway) to take the bus to Chiayi and then a train to Tainan.  Walking through the streets, the lovely thing about Hsingkang is that it’s really quiet, without that buzz that is so common here in Taipei.  The night I spent in Hsingkang, I could hear the cicadas (or was it crickets?) chirping in the yard.  They were truly kind and marvelous hosts and I wouldn’t have been able to get such a good look at Hsingkang without them.

Here are some early morning shots taken while we rushed to the bus stop:

At first sight of this balloon floating high above the village, I thought it was a lingering moon.

This cat is inspecting the durability of this old clay tile roof.

Hollyhocks in the morning sunlight.

Someone else’s old house.

This is a poster at the bus stop for the Chaiyi Performing Arts Centre, which my uncle kindly took me to a while ago, when Cloud Gate 2 was performing.  It’s a really lovely space that I wish I could have seen in the daylight.  All the same, the lotus were still beautifully glimmering with rain the night we went.  The dance Cloud Gate 2 performed, Oculus was indeed free-spirited and wildly beautiful.

And one more random shot from the temple– apparently all these guardian (I think this is a lion, but I’ m not sure…) lions have a ball in their mouths.  I have no idea why.  Oh, and does anyone know of a resource that tells the stories behind the gods here?  I’m thinking there should be something somewhere I could read to find out those stories…

More flowers– aren’t they pretty!  These were actually at the bus stop when we arrived in Chiayi from Taipei.


My Father’s Old House…

There is a certain wistful nostalgia that we have when we think of our childhood homes. My father is certainly not immune to this. He was downright grumpy with me upon my first visit to his house because my appreciation was considerably dampened by the mosquitos feasting on me and the lack of a flushing toilet… However, upon a quick visit, I realized what my father loved about his home. He told stories about the Japanese coming to my grandmother during the war and asking for the steel embedded in the window frames. On the last trip we went on when she was still alive, she was quite happily content, sitting on the front porch.

Here are some photos of the front yard with the flora and fauna.

Interesting long-rooted vine.

This is a water plant of some kind.

Within each of these buds, a red tongued blossom is waiting…

Doesn’t this look soft?!

Down in the depths of the old well, the ferns grow. No worries, I didn’t lose my balance to get this shot!


HsingKang Candy

Is my favorite part of visiting Hsingkang– it’s sticky, chewy, and yummy.  I recommend the kind with the peanut bits inside.  They’re wrapped in rice paper film inside of the plastic wrapper, because they are THAT sticky.


Visiting the temple

Proxy pilgrims are the dummies inside the cart– they are sent by people who can’t come themselves to tour the country and visit gods in different temples. They are wearing the shadows of the lanterns leading to the temple.

The market outside the temple.

Chatting in front of the temple by the fireworks cage.

Once we got inside, and asked if it was okay for me to be a shutterbug inside the temple, I kind of went a little nuts…

Continue reading ‘Visiting the temple’

Free Rice

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