And the crazy signs continue…

Everywhere you look in Taiwan, there are signs. Some of them in Chinese only, some of them accurately (more or less) translated, and my favorite: those with a few language gaffes.

A new lounge, off of Dunhua S. Rd.

A new lounge, off of Dunhua S. Rd.

I wonder what a mam moth is? A new winged night creature? Or did they mean mammoth? As in big and extinct? If I owned a lounge, I’m not sure I’d want to advertise “dead” whiskey. Does it kill you? Does it contain inert matter?

At the unloading zone of the National Palace Museum

At the unloading zone of the National Palace Museum

Uh, so is this the bus for overweight foreigners?

At a food stand on Fuxing, near Xinyi

At a food stand on Fuxing, near Xinyi

Wow, this must be really old rice! Are the leaves from the paleolithic age as well?

It always amazes me that folks don’t verify their translated messages with a native English speaker…

“Uncle” Stone

outside Eslite (the 24-hour one, on Dunhua) there are always vendors (unofficial and ones that are licensed), their wares spread out on blankets. usually it’s just umbrellas and sunglasses (probably from China) and clothing only a tiny person could fit into. this one time though, i saw something that made me stop and look. rocks. painted rocks to be more precise, a wizened old man selling them. several people stood around looking at them (and i was tired and wanted to buy book 2 in the Hunger Games series) so i hurried on past, thinking he’d still be there when i came out. (he wasn’t.) darn!

then, to my great surprise and joy – he was there again this week (when a co-worker and i came out of Eslite after getting some vegetarian dinner at the downstairs buffet).

after a brief conversation we learned that the artist had once been a social worker and teacher and, while looking for something to paint that couldn’t be crushed by little hands, came up with the idea of painting rocks with icons and patterns that have special meanings. I chose white dandelions on a white background signifying hope (and who can’t use that these days?). So enchanted with my little purchase, I went back a few days later and found “Uncle” Stone again and this time selected a classic design of rice, which is intended to mean “having plenty”. (well we’ve sure had plenty of earthquakes this week!)

Plenty of Hope

Hungry Ghost Month

August is the time of year when the “ghosts” (of dead ancestors? any generic passing spirits?) must be appeased – with food! This makes no sense logically (ghosts don’t have a physical body so how can they eat anything?) but then, this is more about tradition than logic.  One day, the street outside the Temple (five floors below my apartment, literally) looked the same as always. By evening, a 8-foot high framework (bamboo poles, corrugated tin roof) had been set up all along the lane, obscuring the lanterns from the street level but protecting anyone under it from the frequent downpours. I noticed that the foot traffic outside the Temple dramatically increased  (as did the noise). For a week people brought flowers, paper “money”, and all sorts of fruits as offerings (to what, I’m not quite sure – maybe the hungry ghosts?) and stacked it up on the giant marble “alter”.  One morning, van after van showed up (blocking the alley) to deliver their cargo: enormous bags of rice were the only item I recognized. Wow, those ghosts must really be famished! Where will they store all those food stuffs? And then, the mystery of all that food was revealed! Lines of people (the faithful Temple goers?) stream into the Temple to collect (pink plastic) bags filled with (I’m guessing here) the rice and whatever else was previously delivered. At some point I will have to attempt communication with the Temple folk and ask them about this time-honored tradition.

Guarding the gates of the Temple

Blog Stats

  • 10,685 hits

As for me, I will take the road less travelled…