Taiwan Trip Update 4 Dec. 22, 2004
We go to Lotus Lake and Mr. Huang invites us to a banquet.
Let me say right off, I managed to pack an entire year’s National Geographic’s photos into a two and half hour trip to Lotus Lake. There are only ten photos on this page.
I shall have to post several pages for just one day---The visit to Lotus Lake, visits to several temples, a page of pictures of street scenes, and Mr. Huang's banquet.(Click here for the links to the next pages page 2--More Lotus Lake Temples; page 3 street scenes; page 4, more temples) I have tried to write about the temples in context of what seems to happen in them--not just breathless "look at that!!! over and over again)
One of our interpreters, Liya, wrote out the name of Lotus Lake for us to show a cab driver, the hotel summoned a cab, we showed the driver the paper, and were off. I do not understand why anybody would need an amusement park or a roller coaster if you have Taiwanese cab driver to thrill you. Strictly speaking, it’s not just the cab driver scaring the bejesus out of you—it’s the other people on the road as well—the little old ladies on scooters with large propane tanks lashed across the back, lithe shops girls in high heels and miniskirts with their jackets turned backwards to keep the wind from blowing their dresses open. Everybody on a scooter wears a mask and helmet, but, given the way they weave and bob through traffic among the trucks and cabs, dying of lung cancer or banging their heads is the least of their worries.
Anyway, 20 minutes later, in exchange for NT$205 (about US$6.50), the cab dumped me, Joy, and David Lee Thompson, an American sculptor living and working in Berlin, Germany, out at the first of many temples and pagodas along the mile and half length of Lotus Lake.
We stood before the Bridge of Nine Corners, leading to the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. To enter one of the pagodas, you walk across the Bridge of Nine Corners and through a giant dragon’s mouth, or through a giant tiger’s mouth. But first you have to run a gantlet of minor demons—the little ladies waving a string of postcards in one hand and vibrators in the other, yelling “Massage machine very good! One Hundred Dahluh!!!!(about US$3.20). Postcard very good! One Hundred Dahluh!!!!!” They followed us through at least two of the nine corners running the vibrators over us and waving the postcards. Shaking our heads no only seemed to make it worse—it must be the way Chinese signal yes. Nothing like an old Chinese lady offering your wife a vibrator right after breakfast to make a guy feel inadequate! We finally waved our hands enough they got the message and returned to the street to lie in wait upon the next group.
The insides of the dragon and tiger are covered with paintings from the life of Buddha(??) or mythology (?)
At the end of the dragon, a little lady stands before a huge red wood box and we each a gave a donation of NT$10 (US$ 33 cents) and were given an elaborate ticket, good for visiting both pagodas. There were six floors or landings in the spiral staircases of the pagodas, and I climbed up them all in search of good pictures. This was not hard since the Chinese architecture is so different from ours, so strange to our eyes and beautiful at the same time. I was taking pictures of the smallest details and panoramas of the lake at the same time.
NINE CORNERS BRIDGE (note little old ladies at street entrance)
DAVID LEE THOMPSON in Dragon's Mouth
inside the dragon
Below, approaching the Dragon pagoda
The Dragon Pagoda seen from the next temple--Wu Li Temple.
Wu Li Temple seen from Dragon Pagoda--in back ground is yet another temple--a six story tall statue and temple.
Below, detail of the Tiger Pagoda
One of many dragons carved in wood and painted gold along the sides of the Dragon Pagoda--
about 4 to 5 ft long
A painting on the inside of the giant tiger entrance to the Tiger Pagoda
Wu Li Temple from Dragon Pagoda---Huge Buddha Temple across the lake--we couldn't get to it this trip.
Note, this is NOT morning mist--this is smog.