The hills of Taichung, part 1

I took a taxi to Taipei Main Station, loaded with the honey liqueur I’d purchased for my hosts. Inside the station, I followed the TRA signs thinking I’d find a manned ticket booth; the last time I was here there was a manned ticket booth. This time, I must have entered on a different floor (there are at least 3). The only ticket booths I saw were for the HSR. Maybe they would have sold me a train ticket but I didn’t want to wait in line and ask. Finally I did ask – an entrance attendant. I said the word “Yingge” and she pointed towards a set of escalators and, after swiping my Easy Card, down I went. I know Yingge is south of Taipei so, just to be sure, I asked a lady standing on the platform. She asked someone else, who asked someone else, who….you get the picture. Soon, there was a crowd gathered around trying to *help*! Luckily, this time, I did select the right escalators (out of hundreds) and got on the train. 30 minutes later my friends picked me up in Yingge and we headed, by van, to Taichung.

Songshan Temple

Yesterday, a friend and I made our way (bus 235 on Anhe > Technology building MRT on Fuxing > Zhongxiao Fusing (Blue Bannan line) > Taipei Main Station > TRA to Songshan) to Songshan train station. After shopping at the Melaleuca store, walked down Bade road to the Raohe night market and since it wasn’t open yet, stopped in at the nearby Temple.

Songshan Temple

Songshan Temple is on a main street yet once inside, the everyday worlds seems quite removed.  The noise level is significantly reduced as people, mainly groups, carry burning incense sticks and, holding them to their foreheads, bow and pray to various deities, stunningly set into alcoves on all four floors of the Temple.

Yearly hero Gods

I try to be a casual observer but taking in all the gorgeous colors and sights makes that impossible. Every surface is either carved, inscribed, painted, and/or gilded. One can’t help but feel awe and reverence for the 260-year old building and its inhabitants even if the meaning behind it all is somewhat obscured.

good vs. evil?

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