Archive for the 'Taiwan past' Category



Historic theological seminary in Tainan– empty on a Sunday.


Fort Zeelandia

Dutch is such a happy boingy language, and “Zeelandia” is such a marvelous word. Linguistic compliments aside, An-Ping Fort, a.k.a. Fort Zeelandia is fun to visit too. It is a bit of a workout with lots of tall stairs to climb… These greeted us once we were in the park:

A couple of more stairs and a stroll around led us to the guard tower.

Inside the tower, more steep stairs awaited us…

No wonder fairy tales have princesses stuck in towers, princes have to prove themselves fit to get up all the stairs (assuming one isn’t Rapunzel’s prince, who got stuck with hair… )

And while they’re in towers, at least princesses have a view (assuming one isn’t Sleeping Beauty and stuck in one’s own dreams, where there is hopefully some adventuring and good dancing…)

Unfortunately when I was there, the tower was plagued with vaguely dirty windows, so my apologies for the following…

The fort has old cannons standing at the ready for tourist photo-ops. The water that used to come up to the fort walls has disappeared and been pushed further away.

The Matzu temple with its rings of stands which included the little ice cream stand where you had to hit a button to stop a spinning arrow on a wheel activated by one’s 20NT to see if you got 1-5 scoops of plum ice cream which isn’t really creamy… but sweet.

I thought it was rather neat that the angles of the rooftop extended outwards, whilst the walls folded in. I always thought it would be lovely to have a turret to myself and see the sun rise and set from windows of the same room. Etown college, when I was a dorky music camper with my cousin had a lovely bit of a tower in the library which was long enough ago that now it seems slightly like a dream to have been in a different redbrick building that had views of trees and campus instead of the motley rooftops of the outskirts of Tainan where the sea has receded. (end random aside)

It must have been beautiful to look out on the sea. Now the water is distant, hovering perhaps at the edge of things except for the canal which is a bit twisty.

So are the stairs going down…

Marvelous umbrella-like trimmed trees with a statue of I’m guessing Koxinga.

Umbrella trees closer up… Don’t they look like something that would belong in Alice in Wonderland?

The outer wall is the oldest part of the fort sans major restorative work, I think, and the trees infiltrating it are some of the original old trees.

Remains of the city wall: …The height is about 10 meters and the wall was made by red bricks mixed with sticky rice, syrup and oyster shell ash.” —Anping Harbor Scenic Site: Anping Fort

There’s a remnant of the old well in this semicircle of wall, though the cover isn’t particularly photogenic…

There are fun trees in the park, and some excavation sites that are essentially large holes of dirt with placards around them.

ETA: An interesting link by the Taiwan Review that discusses the Fort as a center for administration by the Dutch, and the significance of Dutch rule on Taiwanese history and development.

Old and newer maps of Taiwan and the Fort


A Couple More Merchant House pictures…

It has a weather vane!  (I can identify with weather vanes….)

The merchant house overlooks an elementary school park and has these perfectly trimmed trees out on the lawn in contrast to the wild and wily ones at the tree house.


The Tree House

“I like the idea of trees as these delicately balanced monstrosities perched over everything.” –Tim (who is found here).

Here are my so-so shots of the Anping Tree House. On the day we went, the three degrees cooler in the shade could be felt beneath the roof which essentially is made up of extended branches and the leaves of the banyan trees.
shadows of trees

Shadows on the outside wall.

I suspect once upon a time there was a door here one could actually enter.

The roots dangle down through the empty rooms, forming curtains that caught the waning afternoon light and swayed gently in the breeze.

The steel beams support the tree roof.

The trees trace the angle of the rooftops.

Close-up of a tree trunk with berries.


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.


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!

Free Rice

September 2019
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