Dour, 電通-controlled, family-centric Belgian Neocolonialism, enthusiastically jaded observations and occasional rants from the twisted mind of a privileged middle-class expatriate (from The Blogs Formerly Known As Sponge Bear and Kaminoge 物語)
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Monday, November 13, 2006
Tachia (Dajia) 大甲
We were planning on spending the day with Steve and his family in Tachia, a small town north of Fengyuan famous in Taiwan for Chenlan (Jhenlan) Temple and its Tachia Matsu (Mazu) icon. Unfortunately, Steve's children appeared to be coming down with colds, so we ended up going to Tachia by ourselves.
On the way to Tachia, we stopped in Houli (后里 こうり) to have some lunch and buy some drinks at a Sinon (Hsingnung/Singnong) Supermarket 興農スーパー. Here's a photo from the alcohol section, showing Taiwan's beer of choice, the cleverly named "Taiwan Beer". It tastes very similar to Budweiser. 'Nuff said.
Our first stop in Tachia was to Jihnan (Rihnan) Station, built in 1922.
From the train station it was on to Tiehchen (Tiejhen) Mountain. Tiehchen is a small mountain that stands alone above Tachia. On the top are several small parks and a Martyr's Shrine, among other things, plus some great views.
One park had a statue of Taiwan's dictator of choice, Chiang Kai-shek. Normally Chiang is depicted sitting in a chair, Lincoln-style. Here he's riding a noble steed.
In Taiwan, if more than five people congregate in a public place for more than five minutes, vendors show up and a market breaks out. Nothing like food stalls and carnival games to enhance that feel-good Sunday in the park experience. I shouldn't complain, however. The sausages tasted good, and there were no karaoke machines, thank god. Go Kings!
Last stop was downtown Tachia, where we visited the temple and had dinner. The Matsu statue here is the focus of one of Taiwan's largest festivals. Every spring on the occasion of the goddess Matsu's birthday, the statue is taken to visit another Matsu at Fengtien (Fongtian) Temple 奉天宮 in Hsinkang (Singang) 新港. The round-trip pilgrimage takes eight days, covers 280 kilometers and visits about 60 temples along the way. Even at 6:30 on a Sunday evening, the temple was crowded with worshipers.