Temple Running

We’ve done it!

We woke up so late we missed the last bus to our next destination – Alishan (阿里山). Yeah, we couldn’t wake up in time to catch the last bus of the day.

Instead of whiling away the night in Jiayi, we decided to just move on to Tainan (台南) instead.

Tainan is one of the oldest cities in Taiwan and one of the city’s claim to fame is its high concentration of unique temples. Figuring now is as good a time as any to seek divine intervention for our sleeping problems, we decided to do a race through the major temples of Tainan in one day… on foot.

We visited 12 temples in a day.

Yeah, I know, we were probably overcompensating.

But it was still a good day out looking at the weird and sometimes wacky temples in Tainan.

The City God Temple with a Giant Abacus for calculating karma

Temples featuring some of the most intricate (intimidating) doorways that we’ve ever seen

Temples with some of the most intricate swords we’ve ever seen

We even saw some pretty non-intricate pole dancers at a (I cannot make this shit up) temple procession

Sunset gives the majestic temples an added air of mystique

But it’s not all seriousness and religion in Tainan. For a really religious town…. that’s a really unfortunate typo…

It definitely helped that we got to pepper our walk with periodic breaks for bubble tea and awesome street food.

Keeping to our quota of 1.5 Bubble Teas each per day

Deliciously humongous mochis/daifukus from Fulewu (福乐屋), second only to those that my sister makes

We must have done something right because oddly, our luck actually seemed to improve for a day after our temple running.

We bumped into Peter from Topology Travel at our hostel.

Peter’s mission is to bring people (especially non-Mandarin-speaking ones) the experience of travelling in the “real” Taiwan. It just so happened that Peter was showing two guests from the Czech Republic around Tainan.

It was really a case of what the Chinese would call “有缘千里来相识,无缘对面不相逢” (loosely translated: fate). True Story… We would not have started chatting with them if we hadn’t had to turn back after checking out because Jo forgot to return the hostel’s bathroom slippers in exchange for her own walking shoes – ghetto Cinderella style.

They kindly invited us along for a deliciously local breakfast, where we found out that the two Czech guests were in Taiwan to shoot a commercial.

They were really passionate about what they do, and why wouldn’t they be? They’re on the crew credits for Hollywood blockbusters such as Mission Impossible, Van Helsing and Saving Private Ryan. And when they are not working to pay the bills, they get to work on saving the world with films such as “The Cove” and “The Island President”.

Along with Peter’s enthusiasm and sincerity as he showed us around Tainan, it was an inspiration meeting people who genuinely have so much faith in the good their work can do.

I take it that in spite of the (sometimes inappropriate) fun we had at the temples the day before, the Universe was trying to give me a sign that “work satisfaction” is not an oxymoron.

It gives me hope that there is a life I can still aspire to after all the travelling is done.

Beer and Sushi with friends

2 thoughts on “Temple Running

  1. Pingback: To do nothing at all | TW and Jo's Excellent Adventure

  2. Pingback: Riding and Diving in Taiwan | TW and Jo's Excellent Adventure

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