The day started with my last lesson with my Taipei Teacher, MH. She’s really good, and it was fun meeting with her everyday. She’s on her way now to live in Missouri for a year.
I met the Adventure Club at 捷運古亭站 Guting Station, and took them to have lunch at Mix Coffee, another one of those 200塊 trays. I’ll miss that lunch!
So the Confucius Temple… I had seen my fair share of temples on my trip to Beijing in 2000, and I was kind of over them… I only went to this one because it was an Adventure Club adventure, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. EV was pretty excited; it was an easy subway ride, a free movie, and hey, a fancy temple. So I went along.
First of all, the subway’s Red Line goes elevated north of Taipei Main station, and the elevated lines are always the best. It was a spectacular day to ride in an elevated train, and the Zhongshan station has pretty cool views.
I’m so glad I went along! It turns out it wasn’t really a working temple; the temple’s owners had turned it over to the Taiwanese government a few years ago; they run it now as a cultural park. So there is no incense, no praying… and it’s free to enter.
We watched the 3D movie first; and I don’t think we were prepared for the fog machines and air jets; it was kind of a Captain Eo experience… without the long lines, remember that isht? Anyway, there were two shows, one where a monk floating in space tells the history of the temple by conjuring up a bunch of digital windows… very futuristic. The second show was the story of the life of Confucius told with puppets.
The temple was spectacularly colorful, and the six rooms surrounding the courtyard were developed to Confucius’ six areas of mastery: math, knots, music, calligraphy, and two other things, I don’t remember. Go look it up. Anyway, they were good exhibits. It was great to explore the temple grounds, so peaceful. There’s a park across the alley with fountains, pools, benches, gardens, sculptures, and old folks hanging out.
We went in search of some a/c, and found some at 7-11, where we ate some nuts at drank bottled water, and gave M a Chinese name: 馬麗安. Then EV got the idea to get us name stamps, so I got my name in traditional characters… it looks like this: 萬吉平 instead of the simplified 万吉平. Pretty cool!
From there, M and I went to Frankie’s Pie Bar, and I found myself surrounded by South Africans! Lovely people of course, all eager to help M find a teaching job. Frankie told her, “You must give me your number,” and when she did, he disappeared and made some phone calls, and introduced her. They were all Afrikaans speakers, but I think they were all speaking English for my benefit.
Anyway, the goal of this post was to tell you that Confucius Temple was a great time; I’m so glad we went. There’s a small night market across the street from the temple.