Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chiayi. It's pronounced "Jyah-ee", thank you, Mr. Wade and Mr. Giles

I had an opportunity to visit Chiayi with someone from the area last Sunday.  Chiayi is a city just about an hour north of Tainan by train.  I probably wouldn't have thought to go there since I just got here and have barely even seen Tainan, but, hey, having a local guide is always a good deal, right?  Most of the visit was taken up with a trip to the "Chiayi Hundred-Year-Old Park".  (Do they rename it every year?)  It's a pretty impressive park.  It's big.  And it's got a lot of different areas with different things to do, including a path through a sort of wooded area that gives you about as good an idea of what the forests are like around here without actually going out into one of them.


 There is a Confucius Temple in the park.  Confucius is the Chinese Aristotle.  He's the Babe Ruth of philosophy.  He's the soy sauce in your eggs that represent a smoothly functioning society that you eat every morning.  Consequently, there are a lot of Confucius Temples all over.  Personally, I think Chuang Tzu is way more interesting.  He had a sense of humor.

 This is the ceiling inside the temple.

 A scout troop!  They were doing something out in front of the temple.

 This wall's pretty cool.
 Look at it go!
 The "Sun Shooting Tower".  It's named after an aboriginal tale of a group of men who went hunting the suns (there were two back in the day) because it was too hot.  They got one of them and it became the moon.  (So I guess the moon is a dead, sun carcass?)
 No, it's not a slide.  It's a bathroom.  They designed the roof like that not realizing that if you leave something like this near a playground, kids will slide down it even though they are not supposed to.  I know I would.  My guide said that she used to slide down it all the time as a kid.

 The building above was originally built as a Shinto Shrine during the early 20th century, when Taiwan was a Japanese colony.  It's been preserved (and restored too, it was used as a military hospital for a bit just after WWII) with its original look intact it appears, because it looks very Japanese.
 Yeah, really Japanese.  This could be a photo from, I dunno, Kyoto or somewhere.

 The building is now a museum about Chiayi history.

 This sign is explaining the above building.  The part that impressed me most was how much they got the concrete to look like a wood building.
 At this point, we have entered the Sun Shooting Tower and gone to the top floor.  Here you can see me (delicately) stepping onto the glass panel that let's you see down 500 feet to where you will splat and die if the glass gives out.  They have a sign warning you not to jump or run on the glass.  Ya think?
 The view of Chiayi from the tower.


 These snails were everywhere on the nature trail.  To the point where I wondered if maybe they were some invasive species.  I mean, they were everywhere.
 The nature trail is pretty big.  I saw some sort of crazy bird too, but I only got blurry pictures of it, so you'll just have to imagine what it looked like.  It was really cool.

 This old train was used for hauling lumber down from the mountains.  The Japanese government bought it in 1912 from the American Lima Company.  It was used until 1976 apparently!

Chiayi Station.

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