Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 4: Morning in TaiNan

A recurring theme of my trip seemed to be: leave late, ride in the dark, arrive late. Not a very good way to see a country. I guess I am a procrastinator at heart, even with my vacation time.
I awake clear headed, the sun casting a warm glow from the balcony window. I hobble downstairs to see everyone having already eaten, going about the day in the relax mode that a vacation engenders. Fruit and coffee are had; I have a sandwich and milk tea. Throughout the morning I am in back and forth conversations with my friends who are supposed to come down from Taipei and meet me in GaoXiung. I can hear their hesitancy on the phone, as I try to convince them that the previous day's record breaking traffic jams won't continue today. I give them the guilt trip. Eventually, they give me the no trip. They say that they don't want to spend the day sitting in their car, and I agree with them, sorta.
Sandra must have mentioned my interest in her father's sculpting, so he offered to take us to the previously mentioned temple to show us his art. I accept gratefully. The temple, as with many Taiwanese temples, are a colorful explosion of reds, yellows, blues, greens and gold, intricate dragons gnarling their way through weaves of smoke, reverent statues guarded by depictions of gods, stories molded into the reliefs, shaped by the hands of masters as if they were the gods themselves. He explained to Sandra the history of the temple and she diligently translated it to me. The temple was a national treasure, due the fact that it housed to works of a world renown Taiwanese artist, his works also found at the Louvre in Paris. A tourist, I took the opportunity to snap some shots of the works that never seemed so important until now, taking in the great history that places like these emit. Her father being a master also, the curator (?) let us into a section that is usually gated off. We were allowed to see up close the statues of gods, one said to be about 800 years old. To point at one of them was considered rude and bad luck, so I quickly learned as I pointed out the 800 yr. old artifact.

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