Checkin' Out Changhua County

March 12, 2016

My goodness guys, I just can't seem to catch up on these darn weekend posts! Apparently I just need to hole myself up for an entire weekend so I can catch up on posts instead of living life and then having to write about it...on a second though; never mind...I love the traveling!

Back in March [ok this was barely a month ago...I don't feel SOOO bad!] Tina called me up one afternoon to tell me that her counties foreign teacher department was taking them on a field trip the following Saturday and they had extra seats available and asked if I wanted to join...umm yes! {Mind you I had no idea where they were even going yet lol} Having to meet in Miaoli train station at 8:30 in the morning meant that because the way the trains from my place lined up I had to leave my house by 7:30am...I was dragging! But a quick nap on the bus and meeting up with some of the foreigners I hadn't seen in a while was enough to regenerate me by the time we were down in Changhua County 彰化縣.

We hopped off the bus in Lugang , stretched out our legs and headed for the famous Longshan temple in town but of course, we ended up very easily sidetracked! Not far from where the bus dropped us off there was a temple celebration taking place at Tienhou Matsu Temple, and if you've been reading my blog for any period of know I'm not one to resist a good temple visit! As always, I'm not 100% sure what I saw {shoot I'm not even 15% sure of what I saw!} but they are always so different than anything I've seen before that you can't stop watching! They had music, they had giant dancing gods, they had small dragons and dancing old men. We saw fire crackers and fire pits, spinning tapestries and rolling altars, and of course everything smelled of incense...but alas...I still have no idea why any of it was going on! We watched for a long while and then ventured into the temple to check out the inside before our ever loudly grumbling stomachs finally won...time for lunch!

Hot pot (today's lunch) has slowly been growing on me since I've moved to Taiwan. If you've never heard of it before (I hadn't when I got here!) think of restaurants in western countries where you order a steak or other type of meat and they bring it raw and allow you to cook it for yourself at the table. That's essentially hot pot, but with an oriental twist! You order your broth flavor which they bring and put on a burner at your table and bring you a plate of raw meats and veggies to cook in the broth to your liking before dipping in an array of sauces and enjoying over rice. So yummy! After lunch we continued on our quest to locate Longshan temple but of course...we are easily sidetracked!

First up we run into a Chinese lantern shop with an elderly man inside hand panting some of the most beautiful lanterns I have ever seen in person! I watched him for a while before purchasing several of my own blank lanterns {I've got big plans for you little guys!} Afterwards we located a teeny alley called "the breast touching lane" stating that it was so narrow if two people walked through at the same time their chests would touch...of course we couldn't resist taking a stroll down the miniature alley! It reminded me so much of "The Kissing Street" {El Callejon del Beso} in Mexico.

After our little detour we FINALLY made it to Longshan temple. This 230 year old temple was beautiful and really goes to prove how timeless beautiful architecture can truly be. After enjoying the surrounding temple walls we explored the several buildings within the temple grounds, the intricate carvings and delicate window as well as the detailed beams that ran across many of the ceilings within the temple. Regardless of your religion and beliefs, it still  baffles me how people can walk in these buildings and not be in awe at their beauty. 

Finishing up at the temple it was time to head back to the bus {ok to be fair to everyone else on the was past our time to head back to the bus and we took a quick jog as to not be too late!} Was my weekend expected or planned? No. Did I have any idea what I was getting into or where I wanted to go? No. Did I have a blast and learn a little more about this culture I currently call home? Most definitely!