Archive for the 'Park' Category


Around Cheng Da

Sorry I’ve been a hideous blog mistress when it comes to updating.  My trusty laptop Fawkes-Buckbeak fell prey to the black screen of death and since then I’ve been hopping between shared computers, which didn’t have ready access to my archives of pictures.  Of course once I fell out of the habit of posting, it required some catching up to figure out what I’ve posted and what I haven’t from what is now over a year ago’s worth of reminisces and images.

So here are some images from National Cheng Kung University (Cheng Da or Cheng Gong Da Shuei as my personal romanization goes…), taken in the summer of 2008 (eeks, time flew!) while I was trying to study Chinese.

The view from the covered space between buildings where students could be found practicing skits, dancing, or Tai Chi in the shade.  The entrance gate is at the end of that long vista.

The pond in front of the foreign languages department with its lovely red bridge.

The bridge had very shallow steps.

Sparrows were lined up on the railings.

Rock formation on the little pond island.

A palm that lost to a typhoon and gravity.

A curious mushroom.

Another rock formation on the island– some of the white ones are worn corals, I think…

An old gate to the campus.

I don’t know why the paving stones have a semi-circular placement.

A stone sculpture on campus.


Barclay Park 2

When we went to Barclay Park this spring (yes, there’s a backlog of postings, my apologies– but fortunately for ye readers who like attending my witterings and pretty pictures, since there is a backlog, the blog will likely not die even after I finally return to the US in the fall for the kiss and cry of the election…  Oh, where was I?  Right… Barclay Park, a spring morning when I actually woke up REALLY early to go take photographs), the air wasn’t oppressively hot, and there were plenty of people doing their morning exercises of Tai Chi, and stretches and strolling energetically about.  In spite of the hopping pathways which hosted adorable tots being walked by their parents, there was a certain ambiance that retained that silent watchful quality nature has, even when it’s not all that silent…


Cute lizards



A smushed flower– these are pretty common if you stroll underneath the trees with slightly fern-like leaves and red flowers which I don’t know the proper name of.  They’re beautiful though, and I’ll photoblog them at some point.  ETA: My mother informs me that they are called “flame trees” and that Tainan has also been known as the “flame tree city.”


Another flower that was growing on bushes close to the water’s edge.

I think these are vaguely orchid-like, even though they are attached to a bush.

A water hyacinth.

Sunflowers always make me think of Provence, but there was a little field of them in Barclay park too.


Barclay Park

Barclay Park is a nice little park in Tainan that I visited with my aunt this past spring.  It is named after a missionary.  I was on a mission to shoot photographs of lotus.  Unfortunately, the park didn’t have any lotus (so I am still on my quest– tips on places to shoot lotus anyone?  For some reason whenever I want to shoot lotus, I run out of battery after one shot, or it’s raining, at night, etc…)

However, there were many other things to take photographs of…

Fishing in the pond.  I always think those long black fishing poles look like antenna, flicking up and down, tasting the air above the water with a graceful arch.

A sleepy red-eyed duck.

Geese eating bark for breakfast…  Mmm…

This is a close-up of breadfruit, which I have yet to eat.

Mangoes hanging from the tree. (This reminds me of an illustration class I was in once, where an extremely talented artist in my class made a gorgeous illustration, except all the mangoes were hanging upside down on the tree.)

Shuei lien are water flowers that only open at night and close by mid-morning.

Close to the stream, the sound of the cicadas rose into a pelting loud chorus as we walked under the trees. This is my attempt to shoot the living one that my aunt pointed out to me.

Her shot was better…


At the park on the weekend

Little kids learning to rollerblade really remind me of baby ducklings waddling and vaguely silly, balancing on their feet while they uneasily teeter in a crooked line.

Is it just me, or do these helmets resemble ping-pong balls missing some holes and a half?

Mothers are marvelous for picking you up when you’re down and steadying you once you’re back up on your feet… or blades, as the case may be.

(Thanks for everything Mom!)

I love the glimmer of dusty electric blue on this butterfly’s wings.

I don’t know what flower this is– does anyone else know? It’s kind of bushy.

One of those instances where it’s hard to tell who’s walking whom…

Hand-decorated kite out for a flight…


Lucky Dog

My mom and I were having a conversation the other night when I interrupted her to say something a bit like this…

“Mom, I met someone last Friday night!”

“Ooh?!” (My mother has a very eloquent “Ooh?!”)

“Yes, he came right up to me and he was sooo cute!”

“Where were you?”

“The everything store. I just couldn’t resist him. He had these dark eyes and we just sort of connected like kindred spirits. He came right up to me and started kissing me. I almost decided to take him home with me, in spite of the fact that my room is total mess…”

“So it was a bunny?” (My mother knows me all too well.)

“No, a dog. A really really cute puppy!”

He’d just dashed into the store as if he owned it, and began lavishing tons of affection on me. The guys in the store ended up chasing him a bit when he ventured to explore the back, and told me that he wasn’t their dog, so if I wanted him, I could take him. I realized he was indeed a stray when my hand turned black from petting him. Poor doggie. They said he was a puppy, but probably wouldn’t grow too much bigger.

I had visions of being motivated to go out for walks and wake up in the mornings… Then practicalities started to intrude– I rent out a (currently extremely messy) room, and don’t really know the landlady’s policy on dogs. I’m also afraid that I might be allergic (I’ve given up on ever being able to own a cat). Also, I had a total of 70NT (around two US dollars) on me, since I was a dork and forgot to pay a visit to the magical money machine. So I didn’t really have enough to buy dinner, a leash, and dog shampoo… It was also too late to take him to a vet for a check-up and he probably had fleas (dogs who reach over and nibble their sides are probably nibbling for fleas, right?)

I was contemplating on the logistics of getting him up to my apartment with me, and not freaking him out by shutting him up in a room then leaving the poor puppy while I ran off for money and the above necessities. Then, lo and behold, the smart dog went to venture out to the sidewalk again and met another girl, who after inquiring as to whether he belonged to anyone, slung him over the scooter seat sandwiched between her and her boy and took him home.

Upon some research, I think he was a Taiwan dog mix, (this website’s description claims they have psychic powers of communication), though he was sandy-haired. Half a week later, I decided I would have named him “Lucky” (to quote the guys in the store after the girl took him home).

As my mom mentioned, our family seems to be attractive to stray dogs. On one of our walks with my grandfather to the park in Tainan, my two cousins ended up getting followed by three friendly strays. As the house already had three or four dogs (two or three of which had been rescued from the streets I think), they were forbidden to have more. So the three dogs followed us down the slides, sidewalks, and finally my cousins went to my aunt’s house leaving them around the front door while they slipped out the back and came back to my grandfather’s house. The only dog owned by that side of the family here now is the ultra-cute Shao Hei (which means “little black” when the dog is snowy white, but it’s something of a joke.)

Then there was the dog that led us through Guandu Nature park who was just a friendly tour guide for us this fall. He seemed quite at home and content there.

Though I have seen a few stray dogs in the park, there are certainly less stray animals than I remember when I was visiting Taiwan ten years ago. There seem to be more active animal protection policies in place–from what I hear there is a spaying and neutering program. When I arrived back in Taiwan this fall, I spent a while in the airport waiting for my ride and saw a little promotional video kiosk by the Taiwan government which was essentially a PR piece on the great new conditions of shelters for stray animals in Taiwan. At the time, I found it rather random, but apparently there has been cause for outcry in the abuse of strays by animal control here in the past.

According to this article, some stray dogs are being eaten. When I was in Korea, one of my fellow ex-pat colleagues was taken out for dog soup and learned that there dogs are bred specifically for food and are drugged up and killed in a way that is extremely stressful for the dog, since the hormones or chemicals released by a stressed dog were… um… supposed to be an enhancement for… uhh… “stamina.” My roommates also told me that they’ve heard about restaurants that have dog meat on the menu. I think it’s supposed to be marketed as “fragrant meat” (shiang rou) or something like that.

My mother also cautioned me that if I had taken the dog, I wouldn’t have been able to return to the US with it. However, after some research, taking a dog back to the US turns out to be a decently painless process.

Here is an article about a group doing research into where stray dogs in Taiwan can be found.

If you’d like to adopt an animal or learn how to care for your animals, AnimalsTaiwan has a lot of information.

Dogs in Taiwan seems to have information for the Taiwanese dog owner, like vet links and dog playgrounds, though I think the Bow Wow Cafeteria closed. (I used to walk by it and find it vaguely amusing to see the dogs gamboling in the windows.)

Oh, and regarding the bunny my mother mentioned? I am acquainted with a rescued rabbit that’s available to a good home. Drop me a comment or an e-mail if you’re longing for a friendly rabbit.

And Lucky– I hope you’re happy and spoiled in a real family who treats you like a prince amongst dogs, since it couldn’t work out between us… sniff. I suppose I’ll just dog-watch in the park, maybe we’ll run into each other again some day.



We went for a quick visit to Erluanbi (also known as Eluanbi) to see the lighthouse which was put up to prevent foreign ships from coming ashore.  The aborigines apparently had this habit of killing everyone aboard, so foreign governments petitioned China, who controlled Taiwan at that point, to put up a lighthouse to warn sailors off from coming ashore.

The park provided us a nice volunteer tour guide.  We were in a bit of a rush, so we were hustling down the paths and didn’t follow the whole scenic walkway along the beach.  I ended up feeling a bit fuzzy and getting heat exhaustion.



From the walk to the beach:


I love the colors of the water in the tidepool.


Was definitely heat-exhuasted by this point…






At the end of our jerky truck ride, we got to get out, stretch our legs a bit and I spotted this fellow who was selling coconuts or ye-tze. I ended up limiting my ramble-on-rocks ability by buying a few, so my cousin could try his first coconut juice-from-the-coconut, and I ended up with hand and arms full of the large bouncy things. Coconuts bounce. When I had my first coconut juice directly from a coconut, it was in Danshuei. I think it was after my uncle’s funeral in a brief visit I had. My (then-little) cousins and I got coconuts to sip from with straws next to the river, and I was amazed that inside this big green melon was that little brown furry ball I saw at the supermarket labeled as coconut.

I was never fond of coconut shavings or coconut in chocolate. However, I liked the sweet clear juice slipping down my throat, and the coconuts were fun to try to break, but bounced, not quite as well as a basketball (which didn’t prevent my attempts to dribble), but quite satisfactorily bounced on the cement sidewalks.

So, we sipped our coconuts dry through plastic white straws, and then my mother led me back to the grand coconut man, who obligingly sliced through our coconuts and carved the white meat out for us. The white meat is where the coconut shavings come from, and it’s actually pretty tasteless next to the actual coconut juice. It’s a very crisp texture.

I still prefer the juice.

The grand coconut man wielding his curved knife expertly, and precisely to get the meat out for us. When he was halving the coconut and chopping out the squared hole for our straws, it was more like hacking with that scythe, but getting the meat out he showed a deft grace.

Free Rice

June 2019
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