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Sunday, October 2, 2011

There's Amber in them thar hills

Like many localities in Taiwan, Fengyuan (Fēng​yuán) 豐原 has a Chungcheng Park (Zhōng​zhèng gōng​yuán) 中正公園, complete with a smiling statue of that cuddly dictator, Chiang Kai-shek 蔣介石. The version here sits at the foot of some hills, and a network of short hiking trails have been established, which are very popular with weekend walkers. None of the paths can be considered difficult or strenuous, but for a five-and-a-half year-old child, they do make for a pretty good walkabout. Which I why I like to take Amber there, to give her a chance to get away from the traffic and ugly concrete tenements, and to take in the trees and the bugs. Where once I had to carry her around on my back when her little legs gave out, now she takes the lead, as she did this afternoon:

There was plenty of bamboo to swing from:

A proud little hiker beams upon reaching the top. Far off in the distance stand the highrises of central T'aichung (Tái​zhōng) 台中:

The sky was overcast, but the air was clear when looking down on Fengyuan, and into the neighboring town district of Houli (Hòu​lǐ) 后里, all a part of that big, happy family known as Greater T'aichung 大台中:

You know this is Taiwan when a Taoist temple is considered an appropriate place to play:

When I was a kid growing up in Corona, CA, my friends and I used to get chased off the grounds of a local Episcopalian church by the resident priest. Speaking of which, my family used to attend Sunday services (and I Sunday school) at that particular house of worship up until I was around the age of seven or so, at which point we suddenly, and mysteriously, stopped going. I didn't learn the reason until many years later - the priest there ran off with one of the (married) members of the congregation, and my mother was so disgusted by the moral failings of the church that she decided against attending services there (or at any other church) from that point on.

I can't thank my mom enough about that! :-)

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