Templed-out (Tainan, Taiwan)

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September 15th 2009
Published: September 27th 2009
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(Day 529 on the road)We had wanted to see some Taiwanese temples, and we got more than we bargained for in Tainan. Tainan is famous for its abundance of beautiful temples, and people from all over flock to the city for this reason. Our guidebook recommended a walking route that takes in the main temples, and we had every intention to complete this walk.

However, we failed, not miserably, but still. We managed to explore about four temples before the heat and the long distances between the temples forced us to abandon our venture. The four we did see however were beautiful, especially the first one we went to, the Chihkan Towers, also called Fort Proventia. In most of the temples we saw the statues on the altar were all of a dark black colour. They used to be colourful (bright red in many cases), but the smoke from the incense sticks have turned them black over the years.

Towards the end of our walk we came across a restaurant that had lost and lots of people queueing to buy a very fluffy looking cake. If you have been to China or Taiwan you will surely recognise this phenomena - long queues at the most unremarkable looking restaurants or shops. Most of these specialise in only one item and have built up their reputation over years or even generations, and people come from far and away just to eat or buy at one particular place. Curious what all the fuss was about at this one we joined the line of people waiting, and about thirty minutes later we realised that the cake was indeed extremely delicious, well worth the wait!

One other thing that has been puzzling me are the rubbish collector trucks prowling the streets of Taiwan. There seem to be no no fixed trash collection times. Instead, a rubbish truck is driving around announcing his impending arrival by playing - you will never guess this one - Ludwig van Beethoven's "Für Elise". I have no idea why they picked this particular song for this purpose; as far as I know there is no connection whatsoever between this beautiful composition and rubbish. But I am pretty sure Beethoven would turn in his grave if he knew how his beautiful song is being abused in modern-day Taiwan.

Next stop: Sun Moon Lake (Taiwan).

To view my photos, have a look at pictures.beiske.com. And to read the full account of my journey, have a look at the complete book about my trip at Amazon (and most other online book shops).


27th September 2009

Remember a shop in Beijing with the longest queu ever. The reason: yohurt.

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