Wednesday, March 6, 2013 – Day 36
A gift from Amà.
如意 (rú yì) as one wants / according to one’s wishes
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The day before our departure, we did last shopping and dinner with family. My grandma invited me to her bedroom to show me all her arts and crafts projects and old pictures she has. I was so touched that she invited me to see her bedroom because I know it is a very private place to anybody. Then, my dad came in too and I could tell he was also very touched. These are the type of favorite moments of my trip that a photograph can’t capture. But I thought I’d compile favorites of those memories that I did get a picture of in chronological order with a link to the corresponding blog post : )
Getting lost on our first day in Taiwan with my dad and walking around for 45 minutes following people’s directions was fun.
Spending time in the mountain, hiking and eating lunch with my aunt/her husband/grandma’s friends.
Our visit to my grandfather’s resting place and then enjoying a family outing biking at Sizihwan.
Spending the day watching my dad play golf and being his paparazzi.
Visiting hot springs for the very first time! This is also the only picture I have of just my granma and me (I think).
Dad and I driving around on the moped a few times (and getting lost).
After being stood up, my dad wanted to make it up to me (even though I was stood up by someone else) so we went out the whole day to Sizihwan with my cousin as our “tour guide.”
Seeing the Salvador Dali exhibition in Kaohsiung with my cousin was a lot of fun too. I realized that I have a tendency for abstract art and Dali is now one of my favorites.
Video of orchestra: Orchestra at Lotus Pond, Kaohsiung for Chinese New Year
Going out by myself to explore Lotus Pond was unforgettable. I enjoy solo-touring. I take my sweet time taking pictures and walking around.
The biggest adventure was finding Fo Guang Shan Monastery and spending the entire day by myself. One of the most unforgettable experiences in Taiwan.
Riding the Maokong gondola and finding out that my dad is scared of heights.
Having the freshest of them seafoods I’ve ever had!
Enjoying a yummy latte at The Peak in Hong Kong and taking in the 360 degree view of Hong Kong.
I got to see a more relaxed side of my dad and even karaoke’d with him and his friends. I think he’s fun to hang out with and I can see how his friends enjoy his company because he’s always down to do anything. But with family, we see a more serious side of him so this was another priceless experience.
During this trip, I found out my dad really enjoys biking. We rode the bike three times and each time, I would see a big smile on his face and him saying how much he missed riding a bike.
Sightseeing with my dad’s friends was fun. One of them got a calf cramp from walking up the stairs so my dad told him to sit on the floor and stretch his leg. Then, my dad kicked the sole of his foot hard and the cramp was gone. My dad starts joking around saying that he came to China just so that he could kick his friend. And what an expensive kick that was LOL Everyone was cracking up hard.
Seeing my third auntie (right) at night for dinner after she got off work was nice. On our day back from China, she came over to have dinner and I finally took a picture of her, my sixth auntie, and my dad.
One my most favorite things about my trip was seeing old pictures. I love all of them but if I had to choose one, it would be seeing my three oldest siblings riding one bike while my second oldest sister is hauling them lol
Lastly, visiting Chung Tai Chan Monastery was nice. But meeting the nuns was even better. Monks and nuns are so mysterious. They have such different energy than other people like us and I loved meeting them.
I only have one last post of my trip. I can’t believe I posted about every single day I spent there. That would be 36 days!
Monday, March 4, 2013
We squeezed in our last sightseeing of Taiwan before returning home and visited Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Puli, Nantou County in Central Taiwan. My dad and I hopped on the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) from Zuoying Station to Taichung Station where we met with my dad’s friend and his family. The same fun family that took us sightseeing in Taipei – A Day in Taipei. The bullet train ride from Kaohsiung to Taichung was about one hour each way and the cost was about $50 USD per person round trip. Nantou County was about 40 minutes away from Taichung and it was a beautiful drive. There was barely any traffic, there were clean spacious highways, surrounded by mountains from both sides. Everything was very green and the sky was clear and blue. Temperature was a bit cooler than Kaohsiung but comfortable and refreshing.
Chung Tai Chan Monastery is a fairly new temple and was completed in September 2001 but construction took a decade long. It is considered the tallest Buddhist temple at almost 450 feet (or 135 meters) and second largest monastery in the world. The largest monastery is Fo Guang Shan. The construction of this monastery took so long because they were very meticulous about every material used and craftsmanship. For example, they collected marble from 15 different countries and imported pure teak for their seven story indoor pagoda. The pagoda was built in the traditional way, without metal nails and screws. We arrived too late so I didn’t get to see the famous indoor pagoda. (Remember what pagodas are? Lotus Pond Pagodas)
This temple is very different compared to Fo Guang Shan. Chun Tai Chan has a huge building with seven floors! The very entrance to the temple has these ginormous doors and inside, there are four gigantic statues at nearly 40 feet high (or 12 meters)! As tall as the doors! Everything inside is very big!
The entrance is called the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings surrounding the future Buddha.
Then, as you walk up the stairs, you enter The Great Majestic Hall, which is one of three Buddha halls. It is a red granite statue of the transformation of Buddha.
Chung Tai Chan has a modern feel and the outside design reminds of a temple from the movie, Aladdin. The gardens are breathtaking – beautifully decorated, quiet, relaxing, and solitary.
I caught a couple of pictures of a nun while she was exercising/meditating? She saw me and walked away. Sorry! I couldn’t help myself, she seemed so in the moment and she was right below the elephant statue from my view…
There is also a bell you can ring. Unlike Xiqiao Mountain in China, they don’t charge you here or at Fo Guang Shan to ring the bell. We all rang it three times. We did it totally wrong though. I remember at Fo Guang Shan, everyone would first vow, close their eyes, chant something, and ring the bell. Hello, tourists! Yes, that would be us. Even locals can be part of the tourists haha
Chung Tai Chan also has an amazing view of the mountains and there is a GIGANTIC Buddha statue that is clearly visible. The view is seriously unbelievable.
While we were there we met a couple of nuns and they were super duper friendly. They went out of their way to give us information on their California branch in Pomona: Middle Land Chan Monastery. I would love to go to their weekly classes but it’s over an hour away!
If interested or curious, this website explains Chung Tai Chan Monastery practices thoroughly: Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale.
After the monastery, we stopped by a delicious vegetarian restaurant that curves down the street. One of the people from the restaurant was passing out menu flyers at the parking lot and was very nice. The place didn’t disappoint, I fell in love with Taiwanese vegetarian food! So gooooood!
Well, I’ve been back to LA for a while now and I’m still eating meat. That’s a hard lifestyle change lol But I have the thoughts in my head… One day maybe?
Friday, February 22, 2013 – Day 24
I got the days mixed up… Yesterday, we spent the day just hanging out at home. Doing laundry and preparing for our 10 day trip to Hong Kong and China. We didn’t arrive to Hong Kong until today actually.
Anyway, as promised here are the videos I wanted to share of Fo Guang Shan Monastery from my prior post at Finding Fo Guang Shan Monastery.
Sadly, I don’t know what the ritual means. To me it would sound like first they chant/sing/pray before starting the festival. Then, we head toward the big Buddha statue in unison, celebrating and welcoming the new year. Then, another prayer until the big fireworks display. It was an interesting and fun experience even though I don’t know what it all means.
Hope you enjoy the videos : )
This is a 3-minute video of the first prayer/chanting before the parade. People lined up in rows in front the main temple while monks were on a stage.
Then, the big-guns come out. This is a 30 second video of the ringing of the gong. Monks dressed in bright red and orange clothing chanted then rang the gong. This was the sign that we may proceed following behind them as they lead us into the Buddha Memorial Center.
This is short clip 1 minute clip, which gives a view from the top of the new boulevard at Fo Guang Shan. There were a lot of different groups of people parading. There were these teenagers that were dancing to some LMFAO ahahahaha with glow sticks and some little gimmicks. It felt out of place, just a little bit. They were dancing to this loud boombox playing Party Rock Anthem.
To give you an idea, here is the song – LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
Then, another 1 minute clip back at the Buddha Memorial Center. There was another set of chanting/prayers by the higher up monks. Everyone was very quiet and still. We all lined around so that we were out of the way and view from each other. It was a very enjoyable event because everyone was so respectful. I loved it.
This is a longer video clip 4 minutes long of the fireworks! It was so beautiful… Finally get to share the fireworks that I’ve been blabbing about. My little video clip is not the greatest :/ I’m glad I have a video of it though, even though there are tons of videos on the Internet, it’s nice to have something that is more personal. My cousin said that they do the fireworks at Fo Guang Shan Monastery every night during the first couple of weeks of the Chinese New Year. That’s expensive, where does the money pour in from? Apparently, this particular monastery is one of the “wealthy” ones.
So, I’m pretty much caught up with the videos I wanted to share. YAY! Now I’m slowly catching up with the remaining days of my trip with dad to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. I still have 12 more days to share. And then, back to the DIY projects.
Wednesday, February 21, 2013 – Day 22
We just flew into Hong Kong and settled in. Hong Kong is a very beautiful city full of tall and skinny buildings ALL OVER. There are so many apartments! It’s crazy. And these little, tiny, apartments are ridiculously expensive. Anyway, dad and I were crammed sharing one tiny room at my dad’s friend’s house/apartment. These were three long nights of taking cough/cold medicine and using ear buds to sleep through the night. Dad never knew he snores. I think he’s still in denial hahaha It also didn’t help that I got sick when I got to Hong Kong with a dry cough that wouldn’t go away. I think it may have been the pollution, plus second-hand cigarette smoke?
So since I have no pictures of this day to share, I can finally share the photos and videos from my cell phone that I couldn’t upload while in Taiwan!
* Need more Salvador Dali mustache! From our trip to the Salvador Dali Expo – Salvador Dali Art Exhibition in Kaohsiung
* Another moped ride with dad when we went shopping together from the “There is Such Thing as Too Much” post
* Remember the orchestra at Lotus Pond that played for hours that I mentioned in the “Self-Guided Tour of Lotus Pond in Kaohsiung” post? I finally uploaded a short clip. I’m surprised at the quality of the video taken by my cell phone. It’s very clear 🙂
Click here for the video: Orchestra at Lotus Pond, Kaohsiung for Chinese New Year
* If you are curious of the High Speed Rail (HSR) train ride, I uploaded two videos taken from our trip up to Taipei from Kaohsiung mentioned in the “Getting from Kaohsiung to Taipei” post.
Here is the first video, taking off from the Zuoying Station:
Here is the second video, with a view of a small town in Taiwan:
I have many videos from Fo Guang Shan that I need to upload. They deserve its own post. Watching them, is as if I’m there again. I’ll post them soon 🙂