The kids had a blast at the Mutou Wood Tourism Factory [老樹根魔法木工坊] in Taichung City. I’m usually skeptical of any location with the words tourism factory in the title. They are usually dry, guided tours that always conclude with a gift shop. This one however gives you a bag of marbles with admission for some of the outdoor games, has some creative playground equipment for children, and a DIY area to construct and paint objects ranging from stools, pinwheels, and pencil holders. Most of the photographs here feature my son because my daughter was busy painting with her mother in the DIY area while Nathan was playing in the outdoor area.
The previous four photographs were taken during a recent school outing to the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan [921地震教育園區]. The museum was built on the site of Guangfu Junior High School [光復國中] which partially collapsed during the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that stuck central Taiwan in the early morning of September 21, 1999. The museum is fascinating, has a lot of interactive exhibitions, and in my opinion is central Taiwan’s best museum. Television personality Jill Wang [王瑋瑜] and her crew from Formosa TV [民視FTV] were filming a program during our visit and she was kind enough to pose for a photograph.
The Longteng Broken Bridge [龍騰斷橋]
The Longteng Bridge is located between Sanyi Township’s Shengsing Train Station Station [勝興車站] and Yutengping Station [魚藤坪車站] on the Old Mountain Line Railway [舊山線]. This beautiful red-brick bridge was built in 1905 during the period of Japanese colonial rule. On the morning of April 21, 1935, the massive 7.1 magnitude Hsinchu-Taichung Earthquake destroyed the Longteng Bridge.
Baozang Temple is located in Fenyuan Township against the backdrop of Bagua Mountain. I’ve passed this temple several times while cycling but never explored the area until recently. There weren’t many people there during my visit: A couple people were praying in the temple while another handful were chatting near the entranceway. Outside, a few construction workers from a nearby road project were enjoying some shade under some large trees on the temple grounds.
There are conflicting reports regarding the age of this temple:
The local legends said that Baozang Temple was a small monastery enshrining Guanyin Bodhisattva. A Quanzhou settler from Chiayi brought an emblem of Matsu to this temple, which was said to have magical powers. More and more people began to worship Matsu in this temple, so local gentry Hsu Yen-Kuang (許炎光) proposed to rebuild the front hall, which was completed in 1733. After the front hall was completed, a replica of Matsu from Lukang Tianhou Temple was enshrined in this temple. However, according to Changhua County Records, Baozang temple was built by the local villagers in 1785, or maybe this was a record of a major renovation activity [Source].
During the Double Ten holiday I met up with photographers Mark Forman, Darren Melrose, David Lin, and Joe Lin for the first ever Google+ Photowalk held in Taiwan. We met at Taichung Train Station and worked our way through Jianguo Market, Taichung Park, and Yizhong Street. Here’s a small collection of photographs taken during the walk:
My kindergarten class had the opportunity to go on a long overdue field trip to the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung. This post contains a small collection of photographs that don’t include my students [actually, the only photographs that don’t include students]:
In early October, my school embarked on a company trip to some of Chiayi County’s lesser-known attractions. It’s impossible to enjoy the scenery pass-by or engage in a pleasant conversation with the person sitting next to you on a bus ride for a company trip. Every minute on the bus has an activity planned: Ours included some goofy memory games, an informative speech about the destinations we would be visiting [followed immediately by a Q&A session to make sure we were paying attention], raffles, number guessing games, riddles, and KTV. For losing one of the games I was forced to tell a joke, I chose the Joker’s final joke from The Killing Joke. As a reward I won a pack of instant noodles – clearly the highlight of the bus ride. I was reluctant to take part in the KTV portion of the trip but sang an Wu Bai song to be a good sport. My portion of the bus was particularly rowdy – I don’t know if that had to do with KTV coupled with room temperature Heinekens or the fact that all my coworkers are overworked and don’t get out enough.
On Saturday, I met up with bloggers Mark Forman and David Reid for a photowalk in downtown Taichung. Our walk took us through areas near Taichung Train Station. Walking across from the station we began our tour through a once robust area which has decreased in importance as Taichung’s center of gravity has shifted. The photo used at the top of this post is of one of the many abandoned buildings which are prevalent on that side of town. We walked through the Jade Market and Taichung Park before heading to Yizhong Street and completing our loop back to the train station.
I met up with Mark and David for the Taichung-edition of Scott Kelby’s Third Annual Worldwide Photowalk. Mark led us around Taichung’s West District on a hot and overcast Saturday afternoon. Although I didn’t come back with any stellar shots, it was a lot of fun exploring with great company.