Thursday, February 9, 2012

Biking Around Chia-yi


The sun came out yesterday for the first time's peeked out every so often in the 10 days we've been here, but never for the whole day like yesterday.  I rode my bike around the neighborhood because it was so beautiful out.  I took my Kindle to the park and read.  I finished "The Phantom of the Opera."  It was a little strange but, at the very least, I can say that I've read the classic that inspired the musical hit. 

Trees hung with lanterns in the park where I read "The Phantom of the Opera."

As I biked back home when the afternoon wind picked up, I stopped at the neighborhood Taoist temple to take pictures. I appreciate the temples for their architecture and brilliant colors. They are pagan, no doubt, but they are exotic and ornate and beautiful in their own way. My ABC Taiwan book explained a lot about what goes on inside these temples. One practice they do is to toss divining blocks on the cement floor. The purpose of these blocks is to receive "guidance from the temple god(s)." This occurs by asking a yes/no question..."should I marry so and so," "should I take such and such a job." Then you toss the blocks on the floor and, depending on the position of these specially shaped red rocks, you receive an answer. While I was outside the temple taking pictures, I could hear clattering on the floor inside, and I thought of what I had read. I could picture people tossing those divining rocks and hoping for an answer to their question. (I had to laugh when reading the book, though, because the author wrote, "Many people phrase and rephrase the questions, tossing and re-tossing the blocks until they get the answer they want to hear." I guess people are people. Christians pray and pray again hoping to get an answer they like. Taoists toss and re-toss the divining blocks. "Self," by nature, is very strong.) 

Because the sky was so clear yesterday, I got some very nice pictures of the temple:


I took advantage of another sunny day to ride my bike through the sugar cane fields across the street from our house. From our second-story "shower room," we can look across the cane field and see a new building that houses a physical education branch of the National Taiwanese University. I decided to go take a closer look.

There are small paved roads that wind all through the sugar cane fields. They double very nicely as "bike trails." After biking to the university building, I turned around and saw a panoramic view of our neighborhood. Buildings stretched for about a mile on the edge of this field starting with the Motor Vehicle building. I could see our row of "brownstones" and the shops down the street with the hospital rising behind them. It was a good perspective of the neighborhood. I took pictures:

1 comment:

  1. These pictures look like a travel magazine! Amazing! Great post!