Sunday, September 23, 2012

呉園/Wu's Garden

The day after going to the Salt Museum etc. I decided I still hadn't had quite enough and went on a walking tour of Tainan.  I say "walking tour", but "forced march" might be more appropriate.  Among other things, I decided that I wanted to see how far it actually was from the Cheng Kung campus to the Anping Neighborhood.  Of course, I had taken the bus out there, and I know how to read a map, but it's hard to really get a feel for an area unless you hit the streets and walk it all.

It's pretty far.  Google says 6.4 km (4 miles).  Not ridiculous, but also a bit far to be walking in the heat of the day.  Now I know.

Before all that though, I went to Wu's Garden.  A rich guy named Wu built himself a fancy garden, and later the Japanese government added a public meeting hall since there was no large, public building that could serve that purpose until after the Japanese showed up.  A Japanese style restaurant was also built next to the meeting hall.
 This is the front of the meeting hall.  It's built in the western-inspired architecture style that the Japanese colonial government loved to use.
 Why did I come all the way to Tainan?  I can see buildings like this all over in NYC!


 Around the back of the meeting hall you can see some of the garden.  We're up on street level looking out over it.
The front of the Meeting Hall is preserved in its original form, but the back has this modern addition stuck on it.
This is just an apartment across the street from the Meeting Hall.
 The pond in the garden, with tea house.


 This is from the walkway in the garden.
 This whole rock cave structure was built as part of the original garden by Wu.  Unfortunately, probably for liability reasons, the city has posted signs asking you not to walk around inside the cave.

 This is the Japanese restaurant next to the Meeting Hall.  Like the Meeting Hall, it's also a period structure that has been preserved.  It's unusual to see a Japanese-style wood building like this in Taiwan anymore.
 The building is three stories high, with the bottom story being at garden level, the second story at street level, and the top story one floor up from the street.

Here you can see a well and the basement-level windows used for circulating air in the building.
 建物の中だ。The building is open and free to enter.  There actually wasn't even anyone on duty or anything; it's just open.

 Seriously, I come all this way, and it looks like someone's Manhattan, pre-war apartment.  I should have just toured the Upper West Side.

 I posted this map yesterday as well.  It shows Tainan from the pre-Japanese period when the city was surrounded by a wall and multiple gates.

 This pond was really beautiful, and the Chinese tea house (currently behind me in this shot) has tables where you can sit and look out on it.


石油じゃなくて 飲料水を買うところ。台湾人は水道の水をそのまま飲まない。時々飲んでも別に何の問題は無いと思うけど、毎日毎日飲んだら体に悪いとよく言われている。でも本当かどうか分からない。俺が住んでいる寮に飲料水を出す機会が有るから、それを使っている。それが無い人は定期的にこういうやつを使うだろう。20リットルが20元だ。(100円も行っていない。)
This probably looks like a gas pump, but it's actually a drinking water station.  People in Taiwan don't seem to trust the tap water.  I've read about it in different sources, and talked to different people, but ultimately it's still unclear to me just how safe or unsafe it actually is.  It's definitely not horribly and immediately unsafe.  You can drink the water without getting sick, and using it to brush your teeth or whatever is perfectly fine.  I think people are mostly worried about sediment in the water from old pipes, so I guess you could use a Brita filter to get the same effect as whatever they're selling here.  It's pretty cheap though at 20 dollars (less than 1 US dollar) for 20 liters (a little more than 5 gallons).  Fortunately, my dorm has drinking water machines in it, so I don't have to go anywhere or pay any money for drinking water.
The temple of the Tainan City god (I think).
God money.  You buy this money with real money, and then you burn it as an offering to the gods.  I've heard that Taiwan is actually trying to discourage this practice because of the effect on the air quality from lots of people burning money at certain times of the year, and because it's a less than efficient use of paper resources.


This river is Anping Canal, in the northern part of the Anping neighborhood.  I walked along Qingping Road on the south side of the river where there is a nice park.

It's hard to tell maybe, but there were loads of fish jumping around in the water here.  You can at least see the places where the surface is rippling if not the fish themselves.

There were a bunch of fancy-looking condos like this on the south side of the canal.  I bet they go for quite a bit.

On the way over the bridge to the north side of the Anping Canal, I encountered this dog on his way back to his high-priced condo on the south side of the canal.  He told me he made his money in computer chip manufacturing.  Taiwan is well known for its success in technology manufacturing, so I don't think this dog's story is unusual.
The old canal house.  This is where boats used to stop and unload their cargo back in the day.  It's now a small museum with a riverside cafe/bar out back.

"Owl Kingdom"  A store specializing in owls.


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