Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Sunday Drive

Long time, no see! I wish I could say we’ve been too busy to blog, but the sad truth is that we just haven’t been up to anything blog-worthy lately... until this past weekend! We both woke up on Sunday feeling invigorated and neither of us had a heap of homework to grade, so we bought a bag of dried mango slices (my new favourite snack) and drove east.  

We headed out of Taichung on LeYe Rd. B selected our route because it went out towards a temple he’d noticed on Google Earth and we had no idea what we were doing or where we were going, we just knew we wanted to get out of our neighbourhood. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you how long we drove for. We just kept going out until the sun started to set, and then we turned around and went back into the city for dinner. It was a very leisurely drive - we stopped in a few places to take photos, have some bites of mango, and just enjoy the beautiful, mild weather.

There was some sort of small, orange-coloured seasonal fruit being sold in boxes along the side of the road, and as we passed through a few small townships (though I wouldn’t be able to tell you where we were - the English signage really peters out as you get away from the center of Taichung) the smell of fruit and flowers took over where the smell of smog and sewage left off. We saw vendors selling tidy pyramids of wax apples, old men washing their dogs in the warm afternoon air, and ladies older than my grandmothers walking along the side of the highway completely loaded down with heavy grocery bags.

The most impressive part of our day was when we saw the temple we’d been searching for, or rather the cluster of buildings housing several temples inside. We were drawn in immediately by the front structure which featured some wicked dragon sculptures. It looked a little weathered, but the interior courtyards were very well-maintained. There were lots of stray dogs loitering around the nearby stinky tofu vendor hoping for a handout, which makes me wonder if we’re going to start seeing more of them again as the weather warms up. It’s also apparently the season for lots of tiny white and pale-yellow butterflies! They were in abundance wherever we saw flowers, which was pretty much everywhere as soon as we got out of the city! 

The last thing we did before heading back into town was to drive up towards a waterfall hiking trail to check the area out, and I think we’ll go back another time for a hike when we get an earlier start! It was just a perfect, warm day. I’m so ready for summer to be here! 

This is a random temple we came across.
Amanda and the random temple
The main purpose of our drive was to visit 護國清涼寺 (I think this is "Temple of the Protector, Qingliansi").
Brett outside 護國清涼寺
The temple was pretty quiet. It was great getting to explore without having any crowds to contend with.
There were a number of swastikas decorating the temple. The left facing swastika (卍) in Chinese culture represents eternity and Buddhism.
We came across a bridge that was decorated with a number of religious flags and lanterns.

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