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08(01)
10(01)

Mon, 13 Aug 2012
day 10 in taiwan (0 comments)
second day of our temple tour through tainan. first stop was the "chikhan tower"[06-35], a reconstructed fort dating back to the 17th century, built by the dutch - quite an impressive site.
next temple was the "god of war temple"[36-62]. again an impressive temple with loads of fascinating little details all over the place, and taiwan oldest temple. all the temples have a huge "oven"[49] included where people burn paper money and paper with messages for their ancestors on it. that's where we met mike, from san francisco, and mei, from tainan (we assumed they were a couple). mike was so kind to offer his help and explain us some of the things that were going on here in the temple. finally we got a better understanding what all the different things one can buy at the temple entrance are for. you buy a package, get incense sticks, paper money, and cookies (or other sweets). you place them at the entrance hall of the temple as a gift, light the incense sticks, walk through all the temples, wave the sticks over your head, get blessings from all the different gods you ask a favor from, and then return to the tables with your gifts. there you pick up your edible gifts and the paper money. then you burn the money - again a gift to the goddess, and take home the blessed sweets. each temple is usually home to various gods. the god of war temple included a side-temple for lovers and couples (how appropriate, and where else to expect that rather than in the temple of war), where nina and i went to get some blessing - hehe. mike also gave us the address of a great restaurant in tainan where they have fish noodle soup, and one where they sell dumplings.
having a little more insight, thanks to mike and mei, we went on to the tainan grand matsu temple[63-74], that used to be the palace of the last king of the ming dynasty. in a small alley i saw a cat and took a picture[67] of it. an older woman noticed that and thought i was taking pictures of some of the old buildings, so she came closer, introduced herself as lee mei, and showed us the oldest street[68] in tainan, and also some really old buildings[69-73] (though we were unsure how old they really were, but telling from the decayed bricks, they were quite old). lee also showed us a backyard of her old house. and she also gave a CD to nina with music from her daughter. "i see friendly people - they are everywhere!" it already got dark, so we went to the fish noodle shop mike recommended to us. and he was right, the soup[80-81] was awesome. right next to the restaurant was a fruit shop[82], where we bought smoothies[91] and some fruits, which we enjoyed a little later at a roundabout in front of the national museum of taiwanese literature. the fruits and smoothies were so awesome!
last temple we paid a visit to was the confucius temple. unfortunately the temple itself was already closed, but one could enter the park around the temple with old banyan trees, bonsais, loads of frogs (or toads?), huge snails, and loads of people doing sports like running or walking. since it was on our way home to the hostel, we stopped at the dumpling shop and bought some to go. nomnom... food is so awesome here! track: day 10

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