Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dazhishan and Plums in Meiling/梅嶺の梅と大智山/梅嶺的梅花和大智山

After leaving the Minnan house I wrote about in my last post, we headed up to the mountains to see the plum blossoms.  The people I went with had been there the previous week, and they said that was actually the peak, so unfortunately, I was a bit late and many of the blossoms had fallen already.  Still, some trees looked pretty good!



These are some jujubes.  This is yet another fruit I never really ate until coming to Taiwan, but I've fallen in love with them since getting here.  I've always eaten green ones like these, but I found out recently that when they mature a bit more, they turn a darker color and look more like dates.  If you eat them when they're still green, they're a lot like apples, texture and taste-wise.  We picked some of our own at this roadside field here.


There are lots of palm trees in the mountains in Taiwan.  They're betel nut trees.  They're planted by people for the nuts which contain a mild stimulant.  They're pretty, but not so good for the mountainside soil.



We also visited a Buddhist temple in the area called "Dazhishan".  Below we can see a very content god with a lump of gold.


And a forlorn looking god with only a peach.  (Hey, I'd be disappointed too if my friend got a lump of gold and all I got was a lousy peach.)


Bats are lucky in Taiwan because the word for bat sounds like "luck".


Lanterns up for the lunar new year holiday.

Some Buddhist gods are pretty metal.  Look at this guy taming the crap out of these demons.
I thought these stone sculptures were adorable!




Buddhas in various poses is a thing I see a lot in Taiwan.  They're called "Arhats", and they are guys who achieved nirvana.  I don't know a whole lot about Buddhist theology, so I don't entirely understand what their deal is, but statues of them are popular in Taiwan from what I can tell.


God of...Popeye?
I've seen this Raise the Roof Arhat before.  I don't know what his deal is, so I've decided he's the god of parties and totally rocking out.

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