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Friday, February 29, 2008

Enjoying the holiday

As everyone in Taiwan knows, today was a national holiday, Peace Memorial Day 和平紀念日. It's a day meant to recall the 228 Incident 二・二八事件, but seeing as how it appears Ma Ying-jeou (Ba Eikyū) 馬英九 is headed to victory in next month's presidential election, I have a feeling this holiday won't be around on the calendar for much longer.

But in the meantime, a holiday is a day off, and seeing as the weather today wasn't as cold as I thought it was going to be, I decided to take my daughter out this afternoon to get some fresh air and sunshine. We drove out to the Shihchung (Shihjhong) Temple 石忠宮 in nearby Shihkang (Shihgang) 石岡, where there is a walking trail leading up to "The divine tree of 'five blessings'" 五福臨門神木 (see here and here). Being only 2 years old, Amber set the pace, so naturally we didn't get anywhere near the tree, but she enjoyed making frequent stops on the way up in order to play with rocks and sticks, pick up leaves and listen to the birds in the trees above. She also gave her old man a good workout, as her highness figured it was much easier to be carried up the steps by her father, as opposed to climbing them one by one with her short legs. We got as far as the first branch in the trail, which led off a little bit downhill to what appeared to be a private home that had been converted into a Taiwanese version of a cheap 旅館, complete with futon 布団 laid out on wooden floors. Amber was more interested in the small zoo there, which had some hogs ブタ, rabbits ウサギ and emus エミュー on display. The highlight for her was the Formosan Rock-Monkey being walked about on a leash by a young boy. One day, when Amber is old enough, we'll have a talk about the morality of keeping animals penned up in small enclosures for the pleasure of gawking day-trippers, but for now it's enough to see her taking in some of the wonders of this world.

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