Monday, April 9, 2007
Outside in the cold, with a cold スティーブとはハイキングをしていた
Despite coming down with a bad cold, despite the thunder and lightning at 3am this morning, despite the inclement weather, despite everything, I still got up at 7 and rode my scooter to T'aichung (Taijhong) 台中（たいちゅう）to meet up with my good friend Steve. It isn't easy for Steve to find the time away from his family for outdoor pursuits, so I wasn't about to pass up a rare chance to do some hiking with him.
Together we went in Steve's car to the Tak'eng (Dakeng) 大坑 area to do some hiking. The plan was to go up the No. 2 Trail, and then, time permitting, cross over the ridge to the No. 1 Trail, then down and back to the parking lot of the No. 2. Despite the threatening skies, the trail was packed with people. The mountain was covered in mist, the air was fresher than usual, and despite all the hikers, the walk was going well. Suddenly, about 3/4 of the way up, there was a bright flash, followed by a loud rumble, and then the rain started coming down. Having been caught at the top of Takeng in a lightning storm on a couple of previous occasions, it was decided the best course would be to turn around and head back down before things started to get nasty. Despite not reaching the top, neither of us felt disappointed.
On the way back to Taichung, we stopped for a quick look at a Taoist temple 道観 called Yuhuach'ang (Yuhuachang) 育化常. Afterwards, we searched in vain for a pizza place where we had eaten in the past. Good restaurants don't seem to last very long, and so I had to content myself with a second breakfast at a small stand.
Being a dedicated family man, Steve went back home after lunch. I was starting to feel worse from the cold I had recently caught, so of course I decided to ride around and take some pictures before going home. After riding through an upscale neighborhood and taking a picture of this Frank Lloyd Wright フランク・ロイド・ライト-inspired house...
...I parked my scooter at the 823 Park 八二三公園 and had a look around. "823" refers to the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, when the Chinese started shelling the ROC-held islands of Kinmen (Chinmen/Jinmen) 金門島（きんもんとう）and Matsu (Mazu) 馬祖 on August 23, 1958. The park has a couple of reliefs showing heroic ROC soldiers in action, plus a statue of Chiang Kai-shek 蔣介石 and some displays of military hardware.
Next, I passed by a Japanese restaurant called Yamatoya 大和屋, which bills itself as a "Japanese-style seafood restaurant", though the kanji 海鮮料理 in Japan means "Chinese cuisine with fresh seafoods". The sign out front welcomes diners with いらっしゃいませ, which makes sense being a Japanese restaurant and all, but then goes on to say in English "The fine delicacies are you invite the honored guest, displayed theunique (sic) status with the best selection which savors".
Down the street from Yamatoya I was surprised to find a small attractive Taoist temple that I had never noticed before. Called Wench'ang Miao (Wunchang Miao) 文昌廟, it dates from 1863.
The last thing I did before going home was to walk around the new Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium 臺中市洲際棒球場, on the corner of Ch'ungte (Chongde) 崇德 and Huanchung (Huanjhong) 環中 Roads. Having already hosted the 2006 Intercontinental Cup (an event you've never heard of, but which was big news in Taiwan, which is starved of international goings on), the still-unfinished stadium is to be the new home of the Sinon (Hsingnung/Singnong) Bulls 興農牛 of the Chinese Professional Baseball League 中華職業棒球聯盟.