Saturday, September 20, 2014
Taipei Day Six
The day started out by 38 of us heading to the Zushi Taoist Temple in Sanxia. It was a beautiful bus ride outside of Taipei. As we left the bus, we were lead to an old street with brick buildings and amazingly beautiful grates in the ground. Shop after shop was filled with either trinkets or treats to eat. Everything was extremely clean -- it was only later, when Steve asked, that he found out that the streets weren't always that clean in Taiwan. The government passed a law that took away all the garbage cans on the streets (where people would throw trash) -- they now have to take their trash home. It was only after we learned this that we noticed there were absolutely no trash cans anywhere we looked -- anywhere!
As we walked down the street, early this morning, it was already VERY hot. I think it hit about 95 here with high humidity. I believe part of the problem is a typhoon that is heading towards Taiwan -- typhoon FUNG WONG. Well, I can't believe I've come this far to be wiped out by a typhoon. Nonetheless, I'm glad I packed my Keens and am in a place that, when I inquired, has a generator and is, as an historic building, prepared for any emergency. There's a part of me that thinks that I would love to be able to say to my grandchildren, "yes, Grandma was in a typhoon." It's not unlike my being able to say, "I was in San Francisco during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989." Maybe I shouldn't aspire to want to say such things -- I'll have to think about that more.
At any rate, by the time we got to the Temple we were all hot, and Bishop John Smylie realized that 3 of our group hadn't made it from the bus to the Temple. Two bishops headed out to locate the lost sheep. They doubled back, and having not found them on the first sweep, they made a second sweep. Whew! High anxiety on THAT one! What was lost was now found.
We had a tour of the temple, and there will be a number of pictures posted after this email. Needless to say, it was BEAUTIFUL! It has a rich history, including a story of, as WWII was starting, there were men from this city who were recruited (because at the time it was a Japanese Territory) to go to war for the Japanese. They all came to the temple in the morning. When the war was over, they returned -- everyone returned -- some had major injuries, but everyone from that city returned -- and they said it was because they went to pray at that temple before they left.
Not far from the entrance to the temple, my husband Steve called me over to a side chapel. He said, "Diane, I've found the House of Bishops". I thought to my self, what could he mean? He meant this -- a series of small statues in robes on either side of a deity. Okay, wow!
As we walked back from the temple to the bus, we had a "pit stop" for croissants. Not any croissants -- but croissants where the "horns" were amazing, as was the rest of the bread. We saw many "bulls" outside of shops to indicate they offered that kind of croissant. It was buttery and rich, and as one Bishop said, "better than I've had in my many trips to France." Well, I think that is high praise!
We also saw a man cutting ice with a saw. By the time I was able to take the picture, he was done sawing and was putting the ice in a bag. He was happy to pose for me, though!
We then went to the Yingge Ceramic Museum and had a docent lead tour of the museum. What an amazing gift to the people of Taiwan! The museum is a treasure chest of very ancient relics as well as modern multi-country ceramics. As someone who has done a bit of work in ceramics (not very good, but it was a wonderful diversion as a cleric), I was so impressed by what I saw. Some things that were for sale in the gift shop I had done in class, but of course these were, well, much nicer than what I had done. Nevertheless, it was so good to be in a city where ceramics was, and is, so important. I thought of my teacher Julie Klemek and said a prayer for her there. What a gift she was, God rest her soul.
After the museum (with a time to shop in the museum gift shop and have a coffee downstairs) we returned to the bus to go to lunch. Now, I will say, lunch was a SURPRISE! What a beautiful, delicious restaurant! Fu-Guei (www.fugui-yingge.com.tw) was amazing. The food was delicious -- everyone had soup and salad with an entree and coffee or tea. I chose the onion soup (best I've ever had). The salad was fresh and light, with a sesame dressing. I chose the lamb shank -- PERFECT in every way, served with rice and pickled ginger. Yum! What I noticed was the flower coming out of our table out of a ceramic square with a flower frog. Beautiful!
After lunch we walked around the shops in that beautiful adjoining area. When we got back to the hotel (at 4), I was hot, tired, I was in desperate need of a shower, and well, I decided not to go to the night market tonight. Instead I stayed in, decided to order room service, watched Chinese TV, and will be drifting off to sleep soon.
God bless for reading this, and please pray for the people in the path of typhoon Fung Wong.
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