Hello world, It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm finally reached a place here of familiarity. Where things have become routine and the newness has worn down. I'm comfortable with the eateries I find most fulfilling, the daily Chinese lessons and the teaching. The newness will never be gone completely because I'm still discovering it every day, whether it be the whistling of an unidentified bird or the hidden alleyways which maze the streets. I guess it's just becoming more routine...which all and all is a pretty cool thing in a place once considered so far away.
I travelled to the township of Ershui (二水鄉, meaning two waters) to hike among the monkeys. They came right up to me while gorging in the food among the treetops. A sign clearly labels that food should not be thrown to the animals, although some Taiwanese did it anyways.
I was left with an amazing view, as I often find myself in while wandering Taiwan. The trees outgrow each other here. I climb higher and higher just to see the tops of them all.
A few teachers and I found ourselves among a festival. There were god-uniformed puppets and sound-making pulling carts. A local told me that it was a festival for a particular god of that mountain. The sights and sounds of the festival were an unexpected surprise.
Smaller puppets were also there to greet us at the festival. All of them resembling a god of Chinese ancestry.
The black smoke bellows out of the furnace. The paper money and goods are combusted by fire and rise to the heavens. I was talking to my friend Thomas about this practice and was told that the government is asking for fewer people to burn such things in hopes of preserving the air quality, yet, with the traditional symbolism behind it there seems to be many oppose to the new suggestions. It's an interesting balance act between new and old thought.
The Formosan Rock Macaque Monkeys pry attention away from everything else on the hiking trail. They are most definitely an attraction of the area.
This little restaurant in Taichung, Taiwan called Modern Toilet brings a whole new meaning to the term "potty humor". Everything in the place is inspired by nothing less than the bathroom. I ate a delicious curry via toilet bowl while my friend Ray ate out of a miniature tub. The chairs are actual toilet bowls as well. It's an interesting novelty idea and actually not as gross as it seems. The Taiwanese are a lot more open about their bowel movements.
These are two of my friends in which spend a day with me every week (Mondays) to practice my Chinese language. On this day we ventured to a temple in the downtown area of Fengyuan to "bie bie" or pray to the gods. We also had some lunch and window shopped.
No week is complete without a bike ride with Thomas. On this week it was up an old village trail to these awesome tunnels that were carved a half century ago by the Japanese in hopes of hiding from the American bombings.