Kaohsiung—A City of Love
I never know that people in Kaohsiung are so friendly until one day in August 2003, with the humid weather and the unbearable sun (as always). My friend and I came here from Taichung for the interview to apply for a college. We were supposed to get off the bus at the train station but we went off earlier and we didn’t have much time left. My heart was bouncing hard. Luckily enough, the owner of the teashop told us the right bus to catch on!
We got on the bus after waiting for around a quarter. I wondered where to get off while inserting the coins, with a surprise that the fee is only 12 dollars where you pay 20 dollars in Taichung.
“Where are you heading to?” said the driver in Taiwanese.
“We’re going to Wenzao.” I said.
“Alright. I reckon you’re not locals here huh? I’ll remind you before the stop.” Replied with a warm voice.
Kindness. This is the first impression I had while first arriving here. You wouldn’t find a bus driver yelling at you (you found tons in Taichung two years ago); people are kind and willing to help you, and you may find someone who doesn’t mind for a chat! I, growing up in Taichung, felt quite surprised and warm inside.
There are several areas in the Kenting National Park area where you will see the ground on fire. This is caused by fissures in the ground where natural gas is escaping and igniting. I believe there is now a wall built around one of these more popular areas for protection and safety of visitors.
Fo Gwang Shan Temple (chinese: ¦ò¥ú¤s)
Fogwangshan Temple, is a famous scenic spot of Buddhism all over the world. Fogwangshan is devoted to publicize and exalt Buddhism, and to further education and charity work. It becomes a scenic spot combining the religion and touring; which achieves the effectiveness of purifying human heart by the leisure. The buildings of Fogwangshan with vast territory are imposing; the most magnificent one is Dasyung Baudyan (precious palace). Tourists often make pilgrimage to this place and for a sightseeing on holidays.
Oh, thank you for the warm welcome! However I wonder why this huge streamer is at the departure area of the airport instead of at the arrivals. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my stay in Taiwan. Even if I’ve been to Taipei and Kaohsiung, I think I’d like to come back for more!
I’ve been to a number of Buddhist temples in different countries but never have I seen as many life-size Buddha statues as in Fo Guang Shan monastery. Too bad you can't take one home as a souvenir!
And as if the statues weren’t enough, right below the colossal Buddha is a circular room with various Buddha figurines plastered on the walls! If this place doesn't put you in nirvana, I don’t know what will!
At the southernmost point of Taiwan is this lighthouse. Too bad they do not allow people to climb it, I’ll bet I would have been able to see my country down south.
The Wuli Arbor pavilion sits at the middle of Lotus Pond and provides a stark contrast to the Tiger and Dragon pagoda nearby. While the bridge to the pavilion is straight, that of the pagoda (next photo) is zigzagged ostensibly to confuse away any evil spirits from the direct route. If that is so, then does that make the pavilion full of bad vibes???
The Ciji temple opposite the bridge to the Tiger and Dragon pagoda is dedicated to the Great Emperor Bao Sheng, who also happened to be a doctor and herbalist. It is said that he was able to treat a lot of people back to health by teaching to grow and use a vegetable locally called ‘yongcai” (I believe the English equivalent is water spinach).
If you wish to climb these pagodas, one has to enter through the mouth of either the tiger or dragon. To choose wrongly would mean bad luck, though the conspicuous sign at the end of the bridge indicating where to enter does not give one any challenge to decide.
But hold on…if you enter the jaws of the tiger, won’t you become dinner? And if you enter the fire-breathing dragon, won’t you become toast? Decisions, decisions...
This is perhaps the biggest temple dedicated to Confucius that I have seen. It looks very similar to an imperial palace in mainland China with its courtyard and multiple rooms at the periphery. Just substitute the altar inside the temple with a throne, bring in a guy garbed in silky yellow surrounded by eunuchs and courtiers and you’d have created a Forbidden City!