Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Daxi also has a dog who apparently loves getting hit on the butt. Seriously, the dog went up to her owner and begged - begged - to be punched in the bum before presenting herself thusly.
Sasha, Lilian, Becca, Joseph, Brendan and me.
We then hiked up about another hour to Dragon Phoenix Falls (not worth it) and the Wind Balancing Rock (not really worth it, either). What was worth it - the views and mountain scenery as we made the stiff, steep hike up the side of the mountain.
Wind Balancing Rock. Apparently this rock is worshipped as a god by some locals and aboriginal tribes. It's OK.
As we returned to the gatehouse, just in time to see a bus that doesn't exist roll by, the light improved a lot for picture taking.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
This isn't a very good photo, but the Temple of the Five Concubines - these 5 concubines of a historic king hanged themselves when he was overthrown and executed.
The 1960s KMT-redecorated Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong) shrine that was closed the last time we came down.
The Dizang Wang (Lord of Hell) temple where locals commune with the dead, with dusty old tall god statues that, for the dim light and dark atmosphere, were utterly terrifying, and their equally creepy headgear....
This temple is famous for being the place of the god who judges your good and evil deeds, counting them up on one of the two giant abacuses (one over the door, one in the side exhibition room). The sign over the entrance says "You Have Come At Last" in Chinese.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Carolyn Hax: I don't think it's an age thing to find so much work unappealing. Maybe being new to it means you aren't in the habit the way others are, but you can be in the habit and still feel that it's wrong.
I, for one, find it appalling/discouraging/soul-sucking the amount of time people spend at work these days. It's bad for health, bad for relationships, bad for kids, bad for pets, bad for communities, bad for homes and gardens and arts and other expressions of our less linear selves. And it has only gotten worse as the people with jobs--the fortunate ones--have been asked to do the work of the people who've lost their jobs.
We're fat and sedentary, we drive angry, our kids watch too much tv, we don't read enough, or nurture our emotional connections enough? No kidding.
I'm sorry to sound so pessimistic and angry. There are plenty of people who have resisted these forces, who make conscious decisions to choose flexible careers, forgo income, live within their means, invest in their own priorities, like their kids and communities, to the benefit of all. But just anecdotally, it seems as if resisting the work-work-work trend isn't just a simple choice--it takes people who have more than the average amount of certain things: focus, options, willpower, independent wealth even.
I don't know what the answer is, except for each person to fight for quality-of-life priorities, and hope that, culturally, we come to our senses.
On another note, I wonder if my Grandma L. would pop a gasket if I didn't wear white for the wedding. I like this dress color scheme:
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
...yes, that spider is every bit as ginormous as you think it is. Roughly my handspan. I feel bad for the little red guy.
I usually don't take photos of idols, but I am consistently reassured by Taiwanese that it's actually OK - because I'm not so sure that's true. But this time I felt I may as well give it a shot.
After the abandoned village and the shrine, the trail stops being stairs and turns into a slippery, rock-strewn uphill heave-ho with lots of things in the way. As we climbed, some music all the way from Houdong town - someone playing a large bamboo flute - ricocheted off the walls of the mountain crag we were heading through and floated up to us until we crossed over to the other side of the ridge. If that had happened in China, it would have probably been due to the government placing speakers several yards from the trail and playing 'traditional music', but in Taiwan things like that are authentic - it made the whole experience that much more charming.
My friend and I were a bit behind Brendan as we clamored over the rocks and stumps. When I saw him go over a hill where the trail seemed to end, I knew that Jiufen was supposed to be on the other side but I was surprised by Brendan's whoop of excitement. Coming into view instantly, with no hint about what was ahead, just as you take your last step over the lip of the wooded ridge, was this: